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Live from Port Charlotte: Rays ready for game action

Guillermo Heredia among those who made an impression Wednesday,
Jose Alvarado and Blake Snell were among the Rays pitchers throwing bullpen sessions Wednesday. [MARC TOPKIN | Times]
Jose Alvarado and Blake Snell were among the Rays pitchers throwing bullpen sessions Wednesday. [MARC TOPKIN | Times]
Published Feb. 20, 2019

PORT CHARLOTTE - Manager Kevin Cash’s biggest takeaway from Wednesday’s full-squad workout was that he’s glad there is only one such session before the exhibition schedule begins Friday against the Phillies.

"I think we’re ready for games,'' Cash said. "That stood out,''

The Rays did some Wednesday on fly balls and Guillermo Heredia, acquired from Seattle with Mike Zunino in the Mallex Smith trade, made a strong impression.

“He looked awesome,'' Cash said. ”That was a bright spot. Watching him run down balls like that. You get spoiled watching KK (Gold Glove winning centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier) do it all the time, but to see Heredia out there. (Bench coach Matt Quatraro) couldn’t get the machine to get (the ball) over his head. And he was trying to. He glides out there. That was fun.''

Also:

* Reliever Jose Alvarado and top starters Blake Snell and Charlie Morton are on a slower track schedule to pitch in exhibition games, with their first appearances not likely until some time next week to manage their spring workloads. "Alvrado’s (2018 workload) was real high, we have to really manage him,'' Cash said. "In my opinion if Alvarado threw five times off the mound this spring that would be more than enough because he’s such a big part and we want to keep him as fresh as possible.''

* Cash noted the pitching of Emilio Pagan (again), plus lefties Jalen Beeks and Hoby Milner.

* Infielder Yandy Diaz impressed again at the plate.

* Austin Pruitt it the expected starter for Friday’s exhibition opener; Ryan Yarbrough, Beeks and Jake Faria are slated for work Saturday.

* The Rays did some initial baserunning work Wednesday.