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Enny Romero, Rays bullpen shine vs. Yankees

Hey, I know you: First baseman James Loney, left, shakes hands with Bucs QB Jameis Winston as infielder Tim Beckham looks on before the Rays face the Yankees at Steinbrenner Field. Winston threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Published Mar. 25, 2016

TAMPA — Rays manager Kevin Cash continues to like what he's seeing from his bullpen, especially a sharp outing by left-hander Enny Romero, who had three strikeouts in 1⅓ perfect innings in Thursday night's 6-2 win over the Yankees at Steinbrenner Field.

"Enny Romero continues to just be very impressive," Cash said. "We stuck him in there to face some meat in their lineup, and he did a nice job on a bunch of switch-hitters."

Romero struck out three Yankees regulars in Carlos Beltran, Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius, and Cash was pleased by his control in keeping the ball consistently over the plate. Romero now has a 3.24 ERA in six spring appearances, and his 11 strikeouts are tied for second-most on the staff. Cash said Romero's making a case to be used in high-leverage situations early in the season.

"The way he's going, you're going to fight yourself by not getting him in there when it's on the line a little bit," Cash said. "You're talking about a 98 mph fastball from a left-hander who just continues to pound strikes."

Rays relievers combined for nine strikeouts in six innings of one-run relief against the Yankees, with Danny Farquhar striking out two in 1⅔ innings and Andrew Bellatti striking out three in two innings.

LOOKING GOOD: While the Rays played in Tampa, RHP Chris Archer threw in Port Charlotte against Twins minor-leaguers and pitched well, striking out nine in 6⅓ innings while allowing five hits and one earned run.

"He was outstanding. Probably his best outing of the spring," Cash said. "Everything was clicking really good."

Archer is expected to pitch once more — likely Wednesday and he should be tapered down to three or four innings — before his April 3 opening-day start.

Despite facing lesser competition Thursday, Archer said he kept his intensity.

"I do a good job of mentally putting myself in certain situations," Archer said. "There's a right-handed hitter in the box, and I'm imagining that it's a right-handed hitter we're going to face regularly and sequencing similar. Just because it's the nine-hole hitter on the back field, I'm attacking him like it's Adam Jones, (Josh) Donaldson, all the right-handers."

Cash said it was by design that Archer did not pitch against the Yankees in Tampa.

"They see Chris Archer plenty," he said.

FEELING FINE: Rays SS Tim Beckham left the game in the sixth inning after he was hit in the right shin by a pitch, but he said he would be fine, likely returning Saturday after a day to rest the injury.

"I don't like coming out of the game by any means. First game I've come out of in a long time, but just wanted to play it smart, precautionary reasons," Beckham said. "If it happened in the season, I wouldn't have been coming out for sure."

GAME DETAILS: 1B Steve Pearce went 3-for-4 against the Yankees, raising his spring average to .389, and had an RBI single. … Starter Matt Andriese threw three innings, giving up four hits and one run. … Tampa Bay broke open a close game with four runs in the sixth, including a two-run single by DH Logan Morrison. … 3B Evan Longoria opened the scoring with a solo home run to leftfield, his second homer of the spring.

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