The Rays are headed south to face the Twins in Fort Myers today and will get their first in-game look at Luis Patino, the hard-throwing right-hander acquired from San Diego in the Blake Snell trade.
Patino, 21, has impressed thus far in bullpen sessions and live batting practice. Today he is slated for his Rays exhibition debut, following starter Ryan Yarbrough. Tyler Zombro, Brian Moran, Stetson Allie, Kenny Rosenberg and Louis Head are also listed to pitch for the Rays.
How many innings the teams will play today was not clear. Games during the first two weeks of exhibitions are scheduled for seven innings but can be shortened by the managers to six or five, usually in advance. (Unless it’s a national TV game, then nine are required.)
Rays manager Kevin Cash on Monday asked Twins counterpart Rocco Baldelli, a good friend and former member of his coaching staff, to shorten the game from seven innings to six after they were underway, as the Rays were short on pitching.
Baldelli agreed, but paid Cash back with some joking postgame comments, saying, “That’s a Kevin Cash move right there. You’ve got to be pretty big to be able to change the game after the game has started.”
Asked this morning how many innings the teams will play today, Cash replied: “I’ll let Rocco know once the game starts.”
* Cash said Chris Archer threw a light bullpen session on Wednesday and should make his game debut in the next few days. Rich Hill, another veteran free-agent addition, is slated to pitch for first time Friday.
* Outfielder Kevin Kiermaier, slowed at the start of camp by hip tightness, is slated to make his exhibition debut on Tuesday.
* Outfielder Manuel Margot said the primary topic of conversation when he returned home to the Dominican Republic after the season was the leaping catch he made over the side wall in San Diego during the American League Championship Series against Houston.
* Infield prospect Kevin Padlo said he is thrilled to be back playing games after dealing with medical issues (persistent headaches, back tightness) throughout the disrupted 2020 season.
Here is the Rays lineup:
J. Lowe dh