BALTIMORE – Tyler Glasnow has obviously pitched incredibly well thus far for the Rays, posting an MLB-best 6-0 record and AL-leading 1.47 ERA.
Which makes it even tougher for the Rays to make sure he doesn’t pitch too much.
Noting Glasnow threw only 111 1/3 innings last season between the Pirates and Rays, manager Kevin Cash said they have to find ways to limit his workload, especially early in the season.
Sometimes that will mean taking Glasnow out of a game sooner than seems logical, or popular, which Cash did after 5 1/3 innings and 76 pitches on April 21.
Other times it will mean giving Glasnow an extra day, or more, of rest, which will cut down on his total number of starts.
That’s what they’ll do this week, also as the result of wanting to give veteran Charlie Morton an extra day, delaying Glasnow’s next start until the weekend series against the Yankees. That means will pitch on six days’ rest if he starts the Friday opener, or more.
“He threw 112 innings last year and we have to monitor that,’’ Cash said. “Believe me, it’s tough for (pitching coach Kyle Snyder) and I to take him out of the game when he’s pitching like that.
“But those innings add up after a while. If we can get him extra days, we’re going to do that. If we’ve got to shave an inning off of him per start, like (Friday) night we could have taken him out after the sixth. Those are things we have to monitor and consider here early in the season.’’
Morton is getting the extra day after throwing 100-plus pitches in his last two starts with only four days in between.
So the way the Rays are set up, they will face Arizona starting Monday using Blake Snell, an opener/bulk guy and Morton, with Thursday off. They will then have Glasnow and Snell start against the Yankees, along with an opener/bulk guy, with the order TBA.
Behind the curve
Infielder Yandy Diaz was out of the lineup Saturday, a break as he works through his first slump of the season, hitless in his last 16 at-bats and 6-for-his-last 33, dropping his average to .257. Part of the issue is a noticeable change in how Diaz is being pitched since his hot start, including a team co-high seven homers and 18 RBIs. “They’re throwing me a lot more breaking balls than they are fastballs,’’ he said through team translator Manny Navarro. “In the past I feel like I’ve been a pretty good breaking ball hitter. I think now I’m thinking a little too much about trying to square up on the fastballs and the breaking balls are beating me.’’ Diaz, getting his first chance to play regularly with the Rays after being acquired from Cleveland, is confident he can work through it. “It’s kind of frustrating,’’ he said. “That’s kind of the way it goes. Just got to keep on working.’’
Ji-Man Choi’s fan club
Ji-Man Choi had his own personal cheering section at Saturday’s game, three fans who came down from New York wearing Rays shirts with his name and No. 26. The three men, Korean like Choi, are part of a group called Yatto, which they said means “baseball freak.’’ Jinman Choi, Paul Kang and Jilsu Ahn took a liking to Choi last year, noting he is one of the few Korean players in the majors and could probably use the support as he was establishing himself, which Choi appreciated, getting them field passes for batting practice and coming over to greet them. They plan to catch more games, including the May 17-19 series in New York.
De Leon pitches, Meadows swings, Duffy good
Jose De Leon was excited to take the mound Saturday for his first real game action since August 2017, with some rustiness expected for the time off for Tommy John surgery and recovery. De Leon worked 1 2/3 innings for the Class A Stone Crabs, allowing three runs (two earned) on two hits and two walks, throwing 14 of his 33 pitches for strikes. … Outfielder Austin Meadows (right thumb sprain) had what Cash called “a really good day” taking batting practice at the Trop off the high-velocity machine and is slated to work out with the team Monday and Tuesday then begin a short rehab assignment. … Third baseman Matt Duffy “felt very good” the day after his first rehab game with the Stone Crabs, Cash said, with no issues from the hamstring or back injuries that sidelined him since spring training. He will play next on Sunday.
* Ryan Yarbrough was brought back from Triple-A and added to the taxi squad with the expectation he will be activated Sunday and pitch multiple innings with Ryne Stanek opening, though the forecast of rain throughout the day could change that.
* Glasnow on Friday became the second AL pitcher since 1913 (when ERA became a stat) to open a season 6-0 or better with a sub-1.50 ERA and at least 45 strikeouts in seven starts, per Stats LLC, since Roger Clemens in his 1991 Cy Young season.
* Brandon Lowe extended his hitting streak to nine games; call-up Nate Lowe was hitless for the first time in his six games since joining the Rays.
* Catcher Mike Zunino is two homers shy of 100 for his career.