Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays remain secretive on pitching plans

OAKLAND, Calif. — The Rays are keeping their pitching plans a secret.

The only things set: RHP Alex Cobb is starting tonight against the A's, and RHP Chris Archer is going Monday against the Angels.

Otherwise, manager Joe Maddon said there wasn't much he would say about the options for Sunday and how the rest of the week will play out, including the return of LHP Matt Moore from the disabled list.

"Once we reveal it, you'll understand it, I promise," he said.

RHP Roberto Hernandez is lined up to start Sunday, but the team is discussing other possibilities, including making it a "bullpen day," when several relievers are used. The starter is "possibly" with the team and a trade is not pending, Maddon said. But otherwise, "mum's the word on Sunday," he said. "We're considering different options."

Another factor is deciding between Tuesday and Wednesday for Moore, along with setting up the rotation going forward. The Rays have only one off-day the rest of the season.

"We're just bandying things about with that," Maddon said.

MOORE BETTER: Moore said he felt good during and after his four-inning rehabilitation start for Triple-A Durham on Thursday, had no issues with his previously sore left elbow and is definitely ready to go.

"I was happy the way my arm felt," he said. "My thought process was more on making adjustments, whereas before when this kind of first popped up, I was more so thinking about how to throw a pitch without feeling something."

Moore said he made it a point to work on throwing specific pitches in certain counts, including the previously troublesome changeup, and was pleased overall with how he responded to being in a competitive situation for the first time since July 28.

Moore also said he will make a change in his pregame routine to prevent future issues, such as "being more cautious with my game of catch, warming up a little bit slower with my changeup."

HELP ON THE WAY: RHP Brandon Gomes was called up from Triple A, replacing Thursday starter RHP Jake Odorizzi, and at least three more players are set to be added Sunday, when rosters can be expanded.

DH Delmon Young, C Chris Gimenez and RHP Josh Lueke are being called up and will join the team in Oakland on Saturday in prepartion for the move. DH Luke Scott, who has been on the DL with back spasms, will also come to Oakland to be evaluated and possibly activated.

The Rays have big plans for Young, who has been playing his way back into form at Double-A Montgomery since being signed last week following his release by the Phillies, slating him for DH duties vs. all lefties and some right-handers, Maddon said Young hit .236 (6-for-26) in his first six games for Double-A Montgomery, with no extra-base hits and one RBI.

Odorizzi, who gave the Rays a solid five innings against the Angels in Thursday's 2-0 loss, should be back soon. He, like LHP Jeff Believeau, was optioned in a procedural move to Double-A Montgomery. That allows him to be called back up Tuesday, the day after the Biscuits' season ends, rather than having to wait the standard 10 days or until Triple-A Durham is done with the playoffs.

Tuesday is also when RHP Jeremy Hellickson, who was sent to the minors last week, could return and when Moore is likely to be activated off the DL.

Gomes missed three months with a lat strain, rehabbing at Durham, joining the Rays for one appearance (Aug. 17), then going back to the Bulls. In nine games at Durham, he had a 2.61 ERA.

MISCELLANY: Struggling OF Wil Myers did not start Friday against A's RHP Jarrod Parker. … RHP Jesse Crain (shoulder strain) played catch at a distance of 90 feet. … Three of the Rays' four full-season minor-league teams are headed to the playoffs: Durham, advanced Class A Charlotte and Class A Bowling Green. … LHP Enny Romero, 11-7 with a 2.76 ERA at Double A and a two-time All-Star Futures Game selection, was promoted to Triple A.

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