Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Top pitching prospects among Rays' early cuts

PORT CHARLOTTE — Top starting pitching prospects LH Blake Snell and RHs Jake Faria, Taylor Guerrieri and Jaime Schultz made good impressions on the Rays' major-league staff in their limited opportunities this spring.

But now they need time to get ready for their minor-league seasons, which is the primary reason why they and 10 others were cut from the big-league camp roster Tuesday. Minor-league exhibitions start today.

"They need to play," manager Kevin Cash said. "Their priorities are getting at-bats and innings, just like our priorities are for some of our guys that we know will be with us."

Others to be sent down were INFs Ryan Brett, Patrick Leonard and Daniel Robertson; OFs Johnny Field and Dayron Varona; C Jake DePew; and Ps Eddie Gamboa (the knuckleballer), Justin Marks, Adam Reifer and Adam Wilk.

Cash had nice things to say about most of them, especially the four pitching prospects.

"There's a lot to be excited about," Cash said. "We've talked about it all camp. We expressed it to them individually. They all do something a little different. The most impressive thing that stood out is the way they carried themselves and the poise they showed."

Snell was the only one who came to camp with even a slight shot to make the team, having risen to the Triple-A level last season, though he showed some inconsistencies in allowing seven hits and four walks in his 42/3 innings.

"Obviously an extremely talented pitcher," Cash said. "We'll let him get going and see where it goes from there."

FORSYTHE OKAY: 2B Logan Forsythe was sore and swollen after being hit on the left elbow by an Aaron Nola pitch in the first inning of Tuesday's 5-2 loss to the Phillies, but he is not expected to miss significant time.

Forsythe was removed immediately from the game and checked by a doctor, but he said he was told X-rays were not necessary, and he hopes to play Thursday.

"I think it feels all right, just got me in a good spot," Forsythe said. "They just wanted to be extra cautious, (have me) come in and get a look from the doc. It checked out. Everything is cool right now."

SMYLY SHARP AGAIN: LHP Drew Smyly, the No. 2 starter, had another impressive outing, allowing three hits (albeit one a solo homer) over 42/3 innings with one walk and four strikeouts, throwing 45 of 66 pitches for strikes while showing off an improved changeup.

In three spring outings, Smyly, who came back to finish last season strong after being sidelined with shoulder problems, has allowed only five hits and one walk while facing 36 batters.

"I'm feeling great right now," Smyly said. "Confident. Very comfortable. I'm just trying to get my work in, go out and have fun."

GAME DETAILS: The Rays (6-9) took a lead on a Logan Morrison RBI double in the first then again on a fifth-inning homer by CF Kevin Kiermaier, who clearly enjoyed the moment, before LHP Xavier Cedeno gave up four runs in a rough eighth. … RHP David Carpenter, signed last week after being released by the Braves, showed some rust in his Rays debut but allowed only a walk. … Cash praised C Rene Rivera for "a great two-strike approach" in hitting a double. … RHP Ryan Webb handled a four-out appearance, which he may be asked to do during the season.

MEDICAL MATTERS: INF/OF Steve Pearce, sidelined a week with a tight right calf, is set to return to the lineup Thursday as the DH. … RHP Matt Andriese, scratched from a Sunday start due to abdominal tightness, felt good throwing off the mound Tuesday. … Video coordinator Chris "Chico" Fernandez rejoined the team after being hospitalized Sunday but will undergo further testing.

MISCELLANY: The Rays are off today, though RHP Jake Odorizzi will pitch and Rivera catch in a minor-league game in Port Charlotte. … Cash said they liked what they have seen of Forsythe in the leadoff spot but are still considering other options. … The Rays are not expected to have interest in INF Ruben Tejada, who was waived by the Mets, as they remain committed to Brad Miller as their shortstop.

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