Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays rookie Odorizzi struggles again

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays say they remain confident rookie RHP Jake Odorizzi has a great future.

But after Odorizzi struggled through his second start in place of injured LHP David Price, the Rays may have to decide what's in his immediate future.

Given a 6-0 lead in the second inning Monday, Odorizzi failed to put the game away against a Marlins lineup dotted with rookies and 4-A type players and got pulled three batters into the fifth.

His next start would be Saturday in Cleveland against an Indians offense that has been the majors' most prolific over the past six weeks. With Price likely out until mid to late June, the Rays could replace Odorizzi with another of their prospects at Triple A, though RHP Chris Archer, who pitched Sunday, and LHP Alex Torres, who worked Monday, are coming off rough outings.

Odorizzi, 23, knew that what happened Monday, as he allowed three runs in the fourth then loaded the bases in the fifth, wasn't good enough.

"It's very frustrating not being able to get through the fifth inning and when your team gives you six runs,'' he said. "It's just frustrating to know that I wasn't anywhere near my best stuff and just a bad day for it."

Manager Joe Maddon said Odorizzi should have been able to get deeper into the game and "got lost in the moment.''

Which means?

"He's normally a strike-thrower, so maybe trying to do much or not understanding what was going on right there — keep pounding the zone, keep doing what you had been doing. Maybe it sped up on him a little bit.''

Odorizzi said he has some ideas of how to get quicker outs, "stuff that I'm going to personally tell (pitching coach Jim) Hickey that I want to work on.''

PRICE CHECK: Price (left triceps strain) was encouraged and relieved Monday after his first throwing session since going on the disabled list May 16.

"It felt real good," Price said. "It felt normal. It was a very positive day."

Price made about 35 throws while playing catch with head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield. "Ronnie was pretty impressed," Maddon said. "Ronnie thought he threw really well, actually better than he thought he'd be able to throw."

NO JAKIN': After a rough couple of weeks, LHP Jake McGee seems to have rediscovered his form, Monday's season-high two-inning outing his eighth straight without allowing a run. "I felt really good about (Monday's) game, and the past month or so everything's been kind of getting on track for me,'' McGee said. "I threw some more sliders and they felt good. So everything's kind of coming together.''

LINING UP: Maddon moved struggling leadoff man CF Desmond Jennings down to seventh, hoping it'd help him relax and organize his strike zone. Jennings, who is hitting .235, said it's "fine with me." "Right now, it's better for the team," he said. "I'm not helping the team right now at the top of the order."

FAMILIAR FACE: Marlins 2B Derek Dietrich, a Rays second-round pick in 2010, said the unexpected offseason trade to Miami was a "blessing," as he has gotten the early opportunity to play every day in the big leagues thanks to injuries. Dietrich has reached base in 15 of his first 16 games. "He's done everything we could have asked for," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said.

MISCELLANY: Touted OF prospect Wil Myers had five RBIs in the first inning for Triple-A Durham Monday against Buffalo, with a two-run homer and three-run double. … Struggling RH closer Fernando Rodney struck out two in a scoreless ninth, with Maddon saying it was "good for Fernando to get out in that moment and work on a couple things. Overall, he pitched pretty well right there.'' … The Rays wives beat the Marlins wives 13-12 in their annual charity softball game, with Sarah Fuld scoring the winner on a walkoff hit by Aly Shelton.

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