Rays starter Odorizzi expects longer leash from Kevin Cash (w/video)

Published July 28 2015
Updated July 28 2015

ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Jake Odorizzi said a long talk with manager Kevin Cash left him feeling better about getting to stay in games longer.

Odorizzi was unhappy about being lifted from his last start on Wednesday in Philadelphia for a pinch-hitter after five innings (83 pitches) with a 3-2 lead, and he said so afterward.

The Rays have employed that plan a number of times, though usually with the lesser established starters than Odorizzi and ace RHP Chris Archer. The premise is to keep the starters from facing hitters for a third time, though the explanation is usually that the relievers provide better matchups.

Odorizzi met Friday with Cash, who told him the National League rules factored into the decision.

"We just kind of cleared everything up," Odorizzi said. "It was a good talk. We kind of discussed it openly. He said what he thought and I said what I thought and I think we kind of got to a good ground. …

"I think it was productive. So I think it's going to be back to normal."

Meaning that if Odorizzi has a lead and a reasonable pitch count tonight after five innings, he won't be going anywhere.

"I would safely assume so," he said. "It was just a one-time thing hopefully."

CABBY BACK, ELMORE OUT: SS Asdrubal Cabrera was rained out of a planned rehab game in Port Charlotte, but he showed the Rays enough in an afternoon workout that he was over his right hamstring strain, and he will be reinstated from the DL today. To make room, INF Jake Elmore was optioned to Triple-A Durham. Foreshadowing that move, INF Tim Beckham did pregame work at first base, giving the Rays another right-handed hitting option.

NOT-SO-DREAMY: OF Kevin Kiermier left after six innings due to what the team said was a minor abrasion on his left eye, sustained when he was switching feet with an exercise band during pregame workouts and it snapped up and hit his eye. He had some blurred vision during the game and is considered day to day.

SMYLY SMILING: LHP Drew Smyly said he was "very encouraged" after throwing 51 pitches Sunday in his first rehab start, with no issues from the sore shoulder that has sidelined him much of the season.

"It went as good as I could have hoped for," he said. "I responded well. I feel good today. (Sunday) night my arm felt great. I was letting it go pretty good. Now you've just got to keep believing that you're going to recover fine and build my strength up and get back to a starter's workload."

Though Smyly allowed four runs on three hits and two walks and lasted only 21/3 innings for Triple-A Durham, Cash said the reports were "much better," and more important, than the results. Smyly said his fastball was clocked in the 90s, which would be a good sign.

He is set to make another rehab start Friday — with advanced Class A Charlotte in Lakeland if the weather is good — and said he didn't know how many more would be needed.

TRADEWINDS: With pitching — both relievers and starters — to trade, the Rays should have plenty to talk about leading up to Friday's deadline for non-waiver deals. They have been scouting the Cubs farm system heavily, and the Cubs were among nearly a dozen teams with scouts at the Trop on Monday. Perhaps worth noting, the Braves had several.

REHAB REPORT: Cash said OF Desmond Jennings, out since late April with left knee issues, is on track to start a rehab assignment this weekend with Durham.

DIALED IN: The team agreed to a multiyear extension to keep its games on WDAE 620-AM/95.3-FM and plans to also start airing Friday-Sunday games on its Thunder FM stations. The Rays also said Nielsen Audio ratings show a 27 percent increase among adult listeners and 51 percent among women over last year.

MISCELLANY: LHP Matt Moore will stay in the rotation and is slated to next start Saturday in Boston. … Kiermaier will promote the Rays' and YMCA's "Be Water Smart from the Start" program today in a visit to the St. Petersburg Northeast High pool. … Archer visited Monday with players and coaches from the Burg Baseball program in south St. Petersburg.

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