PORT CHARLOTTE – In an effort to speed his path to success, Rays righthander Tyler Glasnow is slowing down his delivery.
Glasnow on Tuesday unveiled a slight pause at the start of his windup – think Alex Cobb as a point of Rays reference – that he plans to take into the season as a way to make his delivery more consistent and his pitches more effective, noting an improvement in spin rate and already high-octane velocity.
The prime benefit, Glasnow said, is somewhat technical, in that it allows him to control his hips better, to “get into a better patterning.’’ For a 6-foot-8 pitcher, anything that helps is important.
But there also will be a strategic benefit, as the hesitation will disrupt the hitters’ timing, and will provide contrast when Glasnow uses his standard delivery as well as a new quick step move he is also working on.
“I’ve been able to mix them really well,’’ he said. “Talking to hitters today … I know it was kind of throwing some guys off a little bit. So messing with my timing a little bit this year was a good idea.’’
Glasnow said the Rays are on board with the change. He said he had considered doing so during his time with the Pirates but the timing wasn’t right. When he mentioned it to Rays pitching coach Kyle Snyder, he was all for it, and Glasnow spent the off-season working on it.
Chris Archer was the Rays’ opening-day starter the past four years, pitching before Tropicana Field sellout crowds of 31,042. But in being named the starter for the Pirates’ 2019 home opener (and fourth game overall), Archer said it took last year’s trade to Pittsburgh to show him how much a crowd — even a smaller one — can help a pitcher. “Probably for the first time in my career, I realized home-field advantage is a real thing,” Archer told reporters Monday in Bradenton. “Having those fans in your corner, I’ve never experienced it on that level.’’ Archer’s Aug. 3 debut at PNC Park drew an enthusiastic crowd of 26,773; his other three home starts 16,445, 19,515, and 13,073. The Pirates averaged 18,786 fans for the season, the Rays 14,258.
* Righty Austin Pruitt is slated to start Friday’s exhibition opener. Top starters Blake Snell and Charlie Morton aren’t slated to pitch through at least the first weekend of games, and will throw bullpen sessions on Wednesday.
* Manager Kevin Cash praised Glasnow and Diego Castillo’s pitching, and Ji-Man Choi’s swinging, during the live batting practice sessions.
* Outfielder Avisail Garcia has been taking such big swings in batting practice the Rays are adjusting the positioning of the batting cages because he has hit them on his back swing.
Quote of the day
“For the 5 minutes I played catch, maybe so.’’
- Double-A lefty Matt Krook, on whether his stuff was that good as he worked out Monday with the early reporting minor leaguers Monday then got a call afterward inviting him to join big-league camp.
The full-squad workout starts at 11 a.m. and lasts 2-2 ½ hours at the Charlotte Sports Park (2300 El Jobean Road), with Emilio Pagan and Jalen Beeks among the pitchers throwing live batting practice. For information: (941) 235-5025.