Rays journal: Blake Snell appears to stay positive about demotion to Triple A

Alex Cobb
Alex Cobb
Published May 15, 2017

BOSTON — The Rays hope second-year LHP Blake Snell handles his demotion to Triple-A Durham well, realizes it's for the best, works hard to improve fastball command and gets back to the majors soon as a better pitcher.

Based on what Snell said to veteran RHP Alex Cobb after getting the news following Saturday's game, he appears to be going with the proper perspective.

"He seemed to have a good outlook," Cobb said. "He seemed relieved to be able to go down without the pressure. … He knows what he needs to work on, and that's a positive. So he's excited to go down there and have a stress-free atmosphere to really do that, to be able to fail in certain situations and know he can out-stuff guys to get out of that.

"Up here, it's hard to work on things because when you get in tough situations you can't just out-stuff guys, you have to pitch, you have to compete. So he never really got a chance to work on what he was trying to work on."

Cobb had stuck around after Saturday's game to visit with some kid cousins and was surprised when he popped back into the clubhouse to see Snell packed up.

"He did most of the talking, and he said everything that needed to be said," Cobb said. "I just reiterated the fact that he's still a part of our team and whatever he needs up here, just let us know and we'll be there for him. This isn't going to be a long thing, hopefully a quick turnaround."

Snell was 6-12, 3.92, in 27 big-league starts over two seasons with 132 strikeouts and 76 walks over 131 innings.

Quote of the day

"It's much better than losing the longest game in club history."

Rays manager Kevin Cash, on winning the 4:32 nine-inning game Sunday

Stanek gets next shot

The next contestant with a chance to earn a spot in the Rays' struggling bullpen is RHP Ryne Stanek, the hard-throwing, long-haired 2013 first-round pick who joined the team Sunday and made his debut, getting out one of two batters.

The Rays want Stanek, 25, to keep doing what he was at Durham, mixing a fastball that can hit 100 mph with his curve, slider and split-finger in posting 11 straight scoreless outings, the last eight without a walk.

Stanek said the success was a result of some slight adjustments he made after an unimpressive showing during spring training. "We saw the velocity (in spring) and we also saw the inconsistencies, the inconsistency in falling behind and maybe some of the sequencing of how he attacked hitters," manager Kevin Cash said. "He went down there and did a good job of kind of cleaning that up, and that's why you've seen him that successful lately."

Stanek, converted from starting to relieving last season to speed his path to the majors, was "really, really excited" to get the news Saturday night. "It's one of those things I don't think you are truly prepared to hear until you do," he said. "And then you just kind of freak out a little bit."

Stay updated on Tampa Bay’s sports scene

Stay updated on Tampa Bay’s sports scene

Subscribe to our free Sports Today newsletter

We’ll send you news and analysis on the Bucs, Lightning, Rays and Florida’s college football teams every day.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

With Stanek joining the pen, Cash said RHP Erasmo Ramirez is "most likely" to take Snell's spot in the rotation, which comes up next Friday, though there is an off-day Thursday.

More on Stanek

Rays rookie RHP Ryne Stanek was named after Cubs Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg despite growing up in a family of Cardinals fans in Missouri and Kansas. … He's the third Ryne to make the majors, joining Sandberg and RHP Ryne Duren. … Was taken 29th overall in the 2013 draft, with a compensation pick for the Braves signing OF B.J. Upton. …Is second member of Rays 2013 draft to make majors, following RHP Austin Pruitt. … Is fifth Ray to make his big-league debut this season, joining Pruitt, LHP Jose Alvarado, RHP Chih-Wei Hu and INF Daniel Robertson.

Daniel Robertson, meet Daniel Robertson

Rays rookie INF Daniel Robertson feels like he already knows the other ballplayer with the same name, having been asked to sign his baseball cards and photos, gotten his fan mail and chased down a mixed-up bat order. Today they'll be on the same field as the other Robertson, a 31-year-old outfielder, was called up Sunday by the Indians. The two grew up about 15 minutes apart in southern California. "It's actually pretty funny," said the Rays' Robertson, 23. "I hope I get the chance to meet him; I've talked to him through social media. … We've had our fair share of mixups, but it's all fun in the end."

Rays manager Kevin Cash spent 2013-14 on Terry Francona's Indians coaching staff and is excited to see and congratulate his former colleagues, who went to the World Series last year. Cash also leery of what noted prankster Francona has planned for him, given a "welcome back" video in 2015, then last year a scoreboard "tribute to a legacy" noting Cash's .183 career average. "I'm sure Tito will have his antics," Cash said. "I know something's coming. And, of course, he has nothing to do with it."

Number of the day


Time of game, longest for nine innings in franchise history. Previous, 4:16 on April 21, 2016, at Red Sox.


• RHP Matt Andriese got the win for the second straight Mother's Day. "I just got a text from (his mom) saying great win," he said. "It's good to be 2-0 on Mother's Day. It's a good gift for her."

Matt Duffy (heel) was slated to be off Sunday and might push his next rehab game with advanced Class A Charlotte back to Tuesday after experiencing some soreness on Saturday.

• Heads-up move by Rays travel director Chris Westmoreland getting RHP Ryne Stanek in uniform for the game by avoiding delayed Boston airport and flying him into to Hartford, Conn., and driven in.