Rays’ Luis Patino has another rough outing with opening day creeping up

Tampa Bay has a temporary opening in the rotation, but the right-hander does not do himself any favors in a lopsided loss to the Mets.
Pete Alonso's 425-foot home run was the loudest hit yielded by Luis Patino (1) on Friday, but it was not the only hard-hit ball against the Rays starter in an 11-2 loss to the Mets.
Pete Alonso's 425-foot home run was the loudest hit yielded by Luis Patino (1) on Friday, but it was not the only hard-hit ball against the Rays starter in an 11-2 loss to the Mets. [ CHRIS O'MEARA | AP ]
Published March 24

ST. PETERSBURG — Spring statistics are not always to be trusted. But, sometimes, they’re hard to overlook.

With Tyler Glasnow out for a couple of months with an oblique injury, the Rays have an opening in their rotation and Luis Patino is considered one of the top candidates. He struggled in his previous appearance but had a chance to make a final impression on Friday.

It did not go well in an 11-2 loss to the Mets.

Patino had issues with his control and was roughed up for seven runs on five hits and three walks in 2-2/3 innings. For the spring, Patino has an 11.17 ERA with 21 baserunners across 9-2/3 innings.

“We talked like two days ago about how (I’m) not attacking the hitter,” Patino said. “I tried to do that (Friday), but I don’t feel like it was the best day for executing pitches. I got behind the count a couple of times, so now you need to throw the ball over the plate.”

Manager Kevin Cash said no decision has been made on the final rotation spot and the role could be fluid but acknowledged Patino did not look sharp.

“He’s just not executing like he’s capable,” Cash said. “I know he’s working to get there, but in his last two outings, it’s just not coming easy for him. He’s going to continue to compete, but I do think when you go out there and all you have is a fastball, certainly against the offense that they put out there against them, they’re going to make him pay.”

Yonny Chirinos, who is also in the running for the final rotation spot along with Josh Fleming, is scheduled to pitch Saturday against the Red Sox at Tropicana Field.

Good luck, Charlie

The Rays granted veteran infielder Charlie Culberson’s request to be released on Friday. Culberson, 33, was essentially an insurance policy signed late in the offseason. Culberson, who helped pick up the slack with Wander Franco and Isaac Paredes at the World Baseball Classic and Taylor Walls slowed by an oblique injury, hit .167 over 28 plate appearances this spring. “Charlie made about as good an impression as you can make in a month’s time,” Cash said. “We just didn’t have a spot for him, and in fairness to him and his track record, his career, let him see if he can go find something else.”

Memories of a lifetime

With a red, white and blue glove in the top of his locker and a Team USA jersey signed by all of his teammates from the World Baseball Classic ready to be framed at home, reliever Jason Adam returned to the Rays clubhouse on Friday morning. “An unbelievable experience,” Adam said of the WBC. “Just the thought of representing your country is huge. But I don’t think I could have anticipated the atmosphere or anything like that. It was better than advertised.” Adam threw four shutout innings, giving up one hit and three walks while striking out five. “I feel well prepared because I got my innings in, and I got to do them in some leverage situations,” Adam said. “So we should be ready to rock and roll.”

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Ugly game recap

Wanna bet USA manager Mark DeRosa would have appreciated having Max Scherzer on his roster at the World Baseball Classic? In his final tuneup before opening day, the Mets ace struck out 11 Rays in six innings in an 11-2 New York victory … The lone offensive highlight for the Rays was a 67.8 mph bloop single by Yandy Diaz that drove in two runs. Diaz is now hitting .364 for the spring, and second baseman Brandon Lowe is hitting .324 after going 1-for-2 … Tampa’s own Pete Alonso crushed a 425-foot homer to dead center in the third inning with the ball leaving the bat at 110.8 mph.

John Romano can be reached at Follow @romano_tbtimes.

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