Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rays' Ramirez dazzles coming out of bullpen

Erasmo Ramirez dazzles over six innings against the Twins, allowing an unearned run on three hits and striking out eight.


Erasmo Ramirez dazzles over six innings against the Twins, allowing an unearned run on three hits and striking out eight.

The Rays had RHP Erasmo Ramirez work in relief Wednesday, supposedly more to let two other relievers face the top Twins hitters than to audition Ramirez for a bullpen role.

Either way, Ramirez said his task is the same — mix his pitches and throw strikes.

And he did both quite well in the 5-2 win, working six strong innings, allowing only three hits and no walks and striking out eight in Fort Myers.

"In my mind, it's the same game," Ramirez said afterward. "It's just going to be (later) in the game. I just have to go and do the same. Just go execute every pitch, don't try to overdo, overthrow. Whatever you have (that day), use it. Location is going to be more important than velocity. It worked. I mixed my pitches, and all four pitches I could throw for a strike. … I could pound the strike zone. That was a big deal."

Ramirez is slated to be the Rays' No. 5 starter, which manager Kevin Cash reiterated Wednesday. But with seven open dates in the first 40 days of the season, and with a bullpen short a man as it is realigned to cover the injury absence of closer Brad Boxberger for the first two months, moving Ramirez to the pen — a role he had previously with Seattle — is worthy of at least consideration.

Ramirez said the biggest adjustment is how much time it takes him to get ready, noting that as a reliever your warmup time is determined by how long the prior inning takes.

Ramirez did not accompany the team to Cuba since he was slated to start Wednesday and said it was "a surprise" to find out he was working in relief, though he got in the same amount of work.

Cash said that was specifically because the Rays wanted to see two candidates for bullpen jobs, nonroster major-league veteran LHP Dana Eveland and RHP David Carpenter, face the Twins starters.

Eveland, who could work long or short relief, started and allowed a leadoff single to Byron Buxton, who was erased on a double play, and nothing else over his two innings. Carpenter, signed in mid March after being released by the Braves, allowed a leadoff single that led to a third-inning run due to a throwing error by 3B Patrick Leonard but nothing else.

FAME GAME: Cash's jersey — which he didn't wear in favor of his usual pullover — the Rays' lineup card and the first-pitch ball (which Cuban-born OF Dayron Varona flied out on) are among the items from Tuesday's game headed to the Hall of Fame.

PRESIDENTIAL WORDS: Varona was one of the Rays players who went over to meet U.S. President Barack Obama before the game, and it was clear Obama was familiar with the Cuban-born outfielder's background.

Obama, per Rays interpreter George Pappas, said to Varona, "Mucho gusto (pleased to meet you) — welcome home."

Varona was touched by the gesture, telling reporters later, "That was something that left a big impression on me today because I've never had the opportunity to be that close to a president. That brought me a lot of satisfaction. And I hope somebody took a photo … so I can have it."

GAME DETAILS: Using a lineup of nonroster veterans and prospects, the Rays (9-9-1) beat the Twins 5-2. … C Mayo Acosta knocked in three runs with a pair of doubles as the Rays rallied from a 2-0 seventh-inning deficit against closer Glen Perkins. … Jake Hager, who missed all of last season due to right knee surgery, started at second base.

Information from Josh Vitale of the Charlotte Sun was used in this report.

Rays' Ramirez dazzles coming out of bullpen 03/23/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 23, 2016 11:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, New York

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Yankees

    7:05, Yankee Stadium, New York

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays' Blake Snell poses for a picture during the team's photo day at baseball spring training in Port Charlotte, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  2. Luke Del Rio regains UF starting job, for now


    GAINESVILLE — Luke Del Rio is once again the starting quarterback for No. 21 Florida.

    Luke Del Rio provided a needed spark when he replaced starter Feleipe Franks and rallied Florida past Kentucky.
  3. Four questions the Lightning still has to answer

    Lightning Strikes

    FORT LAUDERDALE — The Lightning made its biggest round of cuts Monday, with some of the big-name prospects heading out.

    Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos (91) looks on from the bench during a shift change at Lightning hockey training camp in Brandon on Monday (09/18/17). In background on right is Nikita Kucherov (86). DIRK SHADD   |   Times  

  4. Nine Florida football players, 62 felony complaints in fraud scandal


    GAINESVILLE — The fraud scandal that has engulfed the University of Florida's nationally ranked football team for weeks exploded Monday with the first detailed accounts of criminal accusations that threaten to derail the Gators' season.

    Florida Gators wide receiver Antonio Callaway (81) runs the ball during the Outback Bowl in January at Raymond James Stadium. [CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times]
  5. Where Rays shortstop Matt Duffy's lost season leads

    The Heater

    BRADENTON — In a perfect world, Matt Duffy would have been in New York on Monday with his Rays teammates enjoying the final off day of the year. Instead, he was on Field 4 at Pirate City on a sweltering afternoon, trying to restart his season.

    Rays shortstop Matt Duffy plays in his first game (since rehab was aborted) with the club's instructional league on Monday at the Pirate City baseball field and spring training complex in Bradenton [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]