ST. PETERSBURG — Ryan Yarbrough found success in an unusual role a season ago. The left-hander compiled a 16-6 record with a 3.91 ERA over 147⅓ innings while only making six starts.
He appeared in 38 games, often following an opener such as Ryne Stanek or Sergio Romo.
Yarbrough is searching for success in the same role early this season. He owns a 5.31 ERA through nine appearances, but he dominated in his most recent outing. The left-hander went 7⅔ innings Saturday, giving up just one earned run in a 9-2 win at Boston.
“I was lucky enough to have Travis (d’Arnaud) back there calling a really good game, but I was mixing speeds a lot really well and just keeping guys off balance,” Yarbrough said.
Yarbrough gets the start Thursday against the Angels, but the long reliever turned spot starter has struggled against some of their key hitters: Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Kole Calhoun are a combined 8-for-14 with two homers against Yarbrough.
Wendle set to rejoin Rays
Infielder Joey Wendle returned to St. Petersburg on Wednesday and will likely be activated from the injured list for the Angels series.
Wendle made his fourth rehab start with Triple-A Durham on Tuesday, playing shortstop and going 1-for-4 with a double.
“The training staff will kind of take a look at him and we’ll see where we’re at,” manager Kevin Cash said.
The Rays will have to make a corresponding move to add Wendle to the active roster, likely sending an infielder back to Durham.
Roe searching for the zone
Chaz Roe’s struggles came back to hurt the Rays in the eighth inning. The reliever entered with the score tied, one out and a runner on first. After striking out A’s slugger Khris Davis, Roe lost Stephen Piscotty to a walk. A wild pitch advanced the runners to second and third, and the Rays intentionally walked Robbie Grossman to load the bases. Colin Poche came on for Roe and allowed a grand slam to Ramon Laureano.
Number of the day
Miles per hour, the exit velocity of Ramon Laureano’s grand slam.
Plant product to remain in bigs
A’s manager Bob Melvin said he hasn’t decided yet when Plant High product Tanner Anderson would make his next start.
The 26-year-old right-hander would be in line to start Sunday, but because of Thursday’s off-day, Anderson could get an extra day of rest if the team decides to start Mike Fiers on regular rest. Anderson earned another start after holding the Rays to two runs over 5⅔ innings Monday in his first major-league start.
Either way, he’s in line to pitch against the Rays in their series in Oakland next weekend.
• Outfielder Austin Meadows made the start at DH after fouling a ball off his foot Tuesday. “He’s going to be sore, but he’s fine,” manager Kevin Cash said.
• Several Buccaneers rookies are scheduled to attend Thursday’s game, and first-round pick Devin White is set to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
• The Rays will honor the University of Tampa baseball team at Thursday’s game. The Spartans are fresh off claiming the program’s eighth Division II national championship.