ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Rays are hoping they're making the right move by starting Matt Andriese on Sunday.
Needing to add a fifth starter by Tuesday, the Rays have opted to call up Andriese, who is 1-2, 3.41 at Triple-A Durham and coming off a 14-strikeout performance.
Manager Kevin Cash said the decision was two-tiered:
First, it seems better to start a right-hander rather than LHP Matt Moore against the Angels, given how they have done much better against lefties (.262 average, .737 on-base plus slugging; .239 and .665 vs. righties).
"We like the right-handed pitcher with this lineup," Cash said. "Now you can plan for that and it doesn't always work out. But looking at the numbers as much as we do and valuing that, it probably makes the most sense to have a righty."
Second, they were better off summoning Andriese than using RHP Erasmo Ramirez, who was to be the fifth starter (and did make a spot start) until being asked to bolster the shorthanded bullpen.
Cash said Ramirez has been too valuable in high-leverage relief situations to pitch only once in a five-day span, since he would need Friday and tonight for prep, then Monday and Tuesday to recover.
"From my perspective, look at how much he's doing to help us win games right now," Cash said. "I don't know if it's worth it take him out of that role because ultimately I know we'd get a good performance out of him on Sunday, but you're talking about five days that it interferes with what he's doing."
Andriese made eight starts, and 25 appearances overall, for the Rays last year, going 3-5, 4.11 with two saves. Cash said the staff was impressed with how sharp Andriese was this spring, and reports from Durham show he has continued to be so there.
"Everything was more crisp, more consistent," Cash said. "You could tell there was a lot more conviction in what he was doing than last year."
Moore will start Monday's series opener in Seattle. Another option for the Rays would have been to use Moore on Sunday and call up prospect LHP Blake Snell in Seattle, but he will have to wait.
The Rays will have to drop a reliever after tonight's game to make room for Andriese. RHP Steve Geltz has an option and could be sent to Durham; RHPs Jhan Marinez and Ryan Webb do not and would l have to be exposed to waivers.
Because of another off-day, the Rays could go until May 17 before needing a fifth starter again. Cash said they weren't ready to say whether they would keep Andriese or send him down after Sunday's game and bring up another reliever.
ODO NO-NO: RHP Jake Odorizzi, who starts tonight, is getting used to going home empty-handed, having pitched well again Sunday, holding the potent Blue Jays to one run over seven innings but getting only his major-league leading fifth no-decision. Despite a solid 3.12 ERA, Odorizzi is 0-1 through six starts.
"It's better than a loss I guess," he said. "Hopefully there will be one that comes in May, but as long as we win on the day I pitch, that's the most important thing."
REHAB REPORT: RHP Brad Boxberger did well in the next step of his recovery from March 17 core muscle repair surgery, throwing 30 pitches to hitters in a live batting practice session in Port Charlotte. Boxberger used all three pitches and also did some fielding and running drills. He will go through a similar workout on Monday and if all goes well start a rehab assignment on Thursday, slated for about a half-dozen appearances.
LINING UP: Cash on Friday went with two of his hot right-handed hitters in the lineup, Brandon Guyer in left ahead of Desmond Jennings (1-for-his-last-27) and Steve Pearce at first ahead of Logan Morrison (6-for-64 with no RBIs).
HIT MAN: Guyer was hit twice by pitches, extending his major-league leading total to nine. That after being hit an AL-most 24 times last season.
MISCELLANY: First pitch was delayed six minutes as scheduled home plate umpire Tom Hallion had a personal issue and had to leave, so three umps worked the game. …The Rays improved to 8-1 when scoring more than three runs. The Rays have scored an MLB-most 56.8 percent of their run — 54 of 95 — with two outs. ... First pitch temperature was 62.