Luis Patino said pitching a day earlier than originally planned won’t impact his outing tonight against the Tigers.
The Rays moved Patino’s start up from Saturday to Friday to fill an open spot in the rotation, but the 21-year-old right-hander said having the usual four days’ rest since his last outing makes it no big deal.
Another factor is that Patino will be facing the Tigers for the second straight time, having worked 4-1/3 innings against them Sunday in Detroit.
“I think facing them that first time gives me an opportunity to be able to learn from them,” Patino said Thursday via team interpreter Manny Navarro. “They have good hitters, smart and intelligent hitters out there. Also, I’ve seen them and they’ve also seen me, so as long as I prepare well I think we’re gonna be okay.”
As expected, the Rays are without designated hitter Nelson Cruz, who is still sore from being hit on the right forearm by a pitch on Thursday. Manager Kevin Cash said Cruz would be undergoing treatment much of the day and night and should be available if needed to pinch-hit, with the hope he can return to the lineup on Saturday.
Cash also said it was another encouraging day of rehab for Wander Franco, as the rookie shortstop sidelined by a right hamstring strain ran the arcs on the edge of the outfield, took swings on the field prior to batting practice and fielded ground balls hit at him. He is on track to return sometime next week.
The Rays go into play today with a magic number of 7 to clinch a third straight playoff berth and 8 to win a second straight AL East title and fourth in 14 years. Their earliest possible clinch date, per MLB, is Monday.
Here is the Rays lineup, with Austin Meadows one RBI shy of 100:
And for the Tigers:
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