Luis Patino makes striking impression in first Rays outing

Rays notes | The right-hander acquired in the Blake Snell trade allows one hit in his one-inning outing.
Luis Patino threw seven of his 10 pitches for strikes in his Rays exhibition debut.
Luis Patino threw seven of his 10 pitches for strikes in his Rays exhibition debut. [ WILL VRAGOVIC | Tampa Bay Rays ]
Published March 4, 2021|Updated March 5, 2021

FORT MYERS — Luis Patino was excited and ready for his first exhibition outing with his new Rays team on Thursday. He even wore the thick gold chain that former Padres teammate Adrian Morejon gave him for good luck.

The outing went pretty well in the Rays’ 5-2 seven-inning win over the Twins.

Patino got a long out on his 95.9 mph first pitch of the second inning, allowed a double to Alex Kirilloff, then struck out Brent Rooker and got JT Riddle to fly out.

Related: Chris Archer enjoying the old and new of being back with Rays

“It’s a good feeling (Thursday),” Patino said. “I got to pitch for the first time with a Rays jersey. I feel excited. I feel happy to do my job and come in here to do my job and help the team. I’m feeling very happy to be here.”

Manager Kevin Cash was pleased with how Patino got there, with seven of his 10 pitches for strikes.

“He just kept attacking with strikes,” Cash said. “We tell that to all the pitchers, definitely a young guy. Talking to (pitching coach) Kyle (Snyder) throughout (Patino’s) outing, he was doing that when he was in San Diego, so we’re fortunate the mindset he’s (brought) over. We hope that we can add to whatever he had.”

Catcher Francisco Mejia, who came over with Patino and two others in the trade for Blake Snell, also had a solid review of the right-hander.

“He looked really good,” Mejia said via team interpreter Manny Navarro. “He had a lot of control of his pitches out there, and he had a lot of confidence.”

As for the chain?

“That’s a good story,” Patino said. “(Morejon) is like my brother when I was in San Diego. He gave me this for my birthday, so I feel like I need to use it every time when I pitch.”

A familiar alternative

Needing a base for an alternate-camp site with the Triple-A season delayed a month, the Rays looked at several options around the bay area, including the former Naimoli complex, Eckerd College and IMG Academy. But they most likely will end up hosting the workouts at their Port Charlotte facility, as they did in 2020. The decision was based primarily on having the needed fields, weight room and athletic training facilities, and being able to control access as the players will be under coronavirus protocols. The only issue is working out spacing, since minor-league spring training camp also will be running.

Game details

Ryan Yarbrough started and was pleased with his 16-pitch inning, save for a two-out, four-pitch walk to Jorge Polanco. His best pitch might have been the changeup that struck out Twins slugger Miguel Sano to end the inning. … The teams combined for six errors and a couple of other misplays, including Mejia dropping a throw from leftfielder Randy Arozarena on an in-between hop that led to a run in the third. “A tougher play than people give you credit for,” Cash said. … Rightfielder Miles Mastrobuoni made a strong throw and catcher Blake Hunt a good tag to nail Tzu-Wei Lin to end the sixth. … Manuel Margot had two hits for the Rays (3-2).

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• Chris Archer is scheduled to throw in an intrasquad game Saturday, but with rain in the forecast, he could start instead on Sunday in Fort Myers. Tyler Glasnow is slated for Saturday’s game against Atlanta.

• Infielder Kevin Padlo said he is pretty much over the daily headaches that sidelined him at the start of last spring and is no longer on medication. “They’re still there every once in a while, but it’s not nearly the pain level it was before and not nearly the severity, so I’m able to deal with it way better,” he said.