Sunday, November 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays shut down Drew Smyly for season

NEW YORK — LHP Drew Smyly's season is over.

As expected, the Rays decided Tuesday that 153 innings were enough for the 25-year-old acquired from Detroit in the David Price trade.

RHP Nathan Karns will be promoted from Triple-A Durham to start in Smyly's place on Friday in Toronto.

Smyly has pitched very well since the July 31 trade, going 3-1 with a 1.70 ERA that is the best through that stretch for any Ray and a .155 opponents' average that leads the AL over that span, showing no signs of fatigue. (Price, in seven starts for the Tigers, is 2-3, 4.10.)

The Rays' decision is more precautionary, part of their successful injury prevention protocol in which they seek to limit pitchers to no more than a 20 percent increase in innings per year. The math is trickier with Smyly, because he worked only 76 innings last year as a reliever for the Tigers. He logged 117 mostly in the majors in 2012 and a previous career-high 126, all in the minors, in 2011.

Manager Joe Maddon said that after extensive conversations, they came to the conclusion that the only reason to let Smyly make another start was to accommodate his desire to keep pitching.

"That's the only good reason,'' he said. "All the other reasons for me trump that particular reason in the sense that nothing good could happen other than we're satisfying his urge to pitch.''

Smyly sounded disappointed but said he was not surprised.

"No reaction,'' he said. "You knew it was coming, it was just a matter of time so they thought it was now. … Not much you can do about it. Call it a good year and look forward to competing next year.''

STRIKING OUT: RHP Jake Odorizzi, who leads the team with 10 wins, takes the mound tonight nine strikeouts from tying a team record he seemed unlikely to challenge: Matt Moore's 175 strikeouts for a rookie in 2012.

Especially for a guy who still doesn't consider himself a strikeout pitcher.

"If I don't get it, I won't be too worried," Odorizzi said. "If I do, it's something that will be a good way to sum up the season that a lot of people didn't think I'd be doing what I'm doing right now."

Maddon said the addition of the split-changeup Odorizzi learned from RHP Alex Cobb made the difference, as that pitch combined with a fastball that is often at the top of the strike zone presents differently to hitters.

"I think the fact that one ball dives and the other ball kind of rides, I think there's the difference," Maddon said.

MOORE BETTER: LHP Matt Moore's first throwing session since April 22 Tommy John elbow surgery went well Monday, 25 throws at a distance of 45 feet with a big smile afterward. Moore is aiming for a late May/June return.

MINOR MATTERS: Triple-A Durham fell 3-2 to Pawtucket (Red Sox) in the opening game of the International League best-of-five championship. Game 2 is scheduled for 7:05 tonight in Pawtucket. … The instructional league started Tuesday in Port Charlotte, with 57 players in camp, including SS Willy Adames, the top prospect acquired in the Price trade, and 2014 No. 1 draft pick Casey Gillaspie.

MISCELLANY: The crowd of 31,188 was the smallest for the Yankees in nearly 10 years, since a Sept. 23, 2004, game against the Devil Rays, according to STATS. … INF Sean Rodriguez and his family visited Tuesday morning with officials at the national office of Autism Speaks, trying to help raise awareness. Their 4-year-old son has autism. … The Rays next year will move Sunday home games up from 1:40 p.m. to 1:10. … INF/OF Ben Zobrist went 2-for-5 and is one hit shy of 1,000 for his career.

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