The Rays’ bullpen depth quickly is being challenged.
Just before the end of spring training, they lost highest-leverage reliever Nick Anderson into August with an elbow injury. Now two relievers on the opening day roster are out.
Saturday, the Rays put lefty Ryan Sherriff on the restricted list with no timetable for a return after he said he needed to take time away from the game. Monday, they said veteran right-hander Chaz Roe would be sidelined for about 12 weeks due to a right shoulder strain.
“It’s two guys that we expected and anticipated right out of the gate that were going to help us a lot,” manager Kevin Cash said in Boston. “And for different reasons, they’re not here. So what we always pride ourselves on is creating as much quality depth as possible. It’s going to be tested here very quickly.”
Roe, 34, re-signed with the Rays just before spring training, worked in five exhibitions, then faced four batters in Friday’s game at Miami, throwing 23 pitches.
He didn’t feel right Saturday, reported some pain Sunday and was seen Monday in Boston by a doctor, who advised that he be shut down from throwing for six weeks. Best case, he needs another six weeks to be back in the majors.
“It’s unfortunate,” Cash said. “He’s going to miss fairly significant time.”
To replace Roe in the bullpen, the Rays called up right-hander Chris Mazza, who was acquired from Boston in a pre-spring trade with lefty reliever Jeffrey Springs for catching prospect Ronaldo Hernandez.
Though disappointed to not make the opening day roster, Mazza said he has enjoyed joining the Rays, especially when they told him to attack hitters, get ground balls and make more use of his cutter than sinker to lefties.
“(It’s) nice to know that I’ve finally got an organization telling me, ‘We want you to pitch how you like to pitch,’ ” said Mazza, who also was with the Twins, Marlins, Mariners and Mets. “I was like, ‘Oh, well, that’s awesome,’ because that’s the way I like to throw. So there we go. We’re on the same page already.”
Mazza had a rough debut for the Rays on Monday, allowing six runs on seven hits.
Opening day at home “sold out”
The Rays have sold all available tickets for Friday’s 3:10 p.m. home opener against the Yankees, with an expected Tropicana Field capacity of around 9,000 in distanced pod seating. This is the 15th consecutive year (not counting 2020, when no fans were allowed) the Rays have sold out their first home game of the season.
Pre-game ceremonies are expected to include the raising of the 2020 American League East and AL championship banners. Tickets are still available for the Saturday-Sunday games against the Yankees, and four against Texas, in seating pods of one to six tickets. See raysbaseball.com or the MLB Ballpark app for details.
⋅ Several Rays streaks at Fenway came to an end: They had won eight straight, a team record for any opponent’s park, going back to June 9, 2019; had scored at least eight or more runs in six straight games and six or more in eight straight.
⋅ Tyler Glasnow said the stiff back that bothered him, but didn’t impact his dazzling pitching on opening day, has gone away and he is “ready to go” for Tuesday’s start in Boston. Glasnow still isn’t sure of the cause — “just overall tall person stiffness.”
⋅ In adding Mazza and catcher Joseph Odom (to take Sherriff’s place), the Rays called up two of the five players on the taxi squad. Cash said there were no plans to bring up any others, who might not clear the requisite protocols after taking a commercial flight by Wednesday’s matinee trip finale.
⋅ First-pitch temperature was 56 degrees with 15 mph winds.
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