Flu may force Rays' Jake Odorizzi to skip start

Rays pitcher Jake Odorizzi pitches in the first inning. The Tampa Bay Rays play the Texas Rangers at Tropicana Field on Friday, 04/04/2014.
Rays pitcher Jake Odorizzi pitches in the first inning. The Tampa Bay Rays play the Texas Rangers at Tropicana Field on Friday, 04/04/2014.
Published April 15, 2014

BALTIMORE — Pitching continues to be a problem for the Rays.

As if having LHP Matt Moore and RHP Alex Cobb on the DL weren't bad enough, the Rays are making backup plans for tonight as scheduled starter RHP Jake Odorizzi has been hit by the flu-type bug going through the team. After playing catch Monday afternoon, he was sent back to the team hotel to rest.

"It doesn't seem to be as severe, but we'll see," manager Joe Maddon said. "It's still a concern."

The Rays may catch a break, because based on the forecasts there is strong possibility of a rainout tonight. But just in case, LHP Enny Romero was scratched from his scheduled Monday start for Triple-A Durham so he could be available, if needed.

HAIL CESAR: Maddon said LHP Cesar Ramos will get another chance to start despite Sunday's disappointing performance, slotting him Friday against the Yankees, though a rainout could change that, too.

"Wanted to talk it all the way through and we just decided to let it ride based on what we had seen (previously)," Maddon said. "He had a tough day. It happens to everybody."

As set up now, the Rays have Odorizzi and ace David Price pitching here and will go home to face the Yankees with LHP Erik Bedard, Ramos, RHP Chris Archer and Odorizzi. Among the options with a rainout tonight is to bump Price back to open the Yankees series.

PEN HELP: RHP Brad Boxberger was the latest call-up to bolster the bullpen, replacing LHP Jeff Beliveau. Boxberger, 25, has major-league time with the Padres in 2012-13 and was acquired in the Alex Torres trade. He made an impressive Rays debut, working a perfect sixth.

The Rays have only one lefty reliever, Jake McGee, but Maddon said both RHP Joel Peralta — feeling better after two bad days with that flu — and Boxberger are effective against lefty hitters. "It's not a huge concern right now, honestly," Maddon said.

RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo, who was eligible Monday to come off the 15-day DL, is about a week away from being ready, Maddon said: "No setbacks, nothing wrong, he's doing fine." Oviedo was placed on the DL after reporting a month late to spring training due to visa issues so he could complete his rehab from elbow surgery.

MISCELLANY: Maddon challenged — and lost — a safe call at first on what would have been the back end of a fifth inning-ending double play. He is 2-4 on replay challenges, losing his past four. … RHP Jeremy Hellickson, recovering from arthroscopic elbow surgery, is set to throw off a mound for the first time today. … RHP Grant Balfour said he feels no extra motivation in facing the Orioles, who backed out of a contract agreement after saying he failed a physical. … All Rays uniformed personnel will wear No. 42 tonight (or Wednesday if a rainout) as part of the MLB-wide celebration of Jackie Robinson Day.