Apr 2, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson (58) looks up against the Toronto Blue Jays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Undercards: More Inconsistent Results From Jeremy Hellickson in Rehab

Another rehab start for Jeremy Hellickson, another reason to question whether he is ready to return.

Triple-A International League: Syracuse Chiefs (WSN) 9, Durham Bulls 0

Jeremy Hellickson‘s fourth rehab start was better than his previous two. After failing to get out of the third inning in either game, he made it through 5 innings in this one. After a mediocre 4-2 strikeout to walk ratio previously, he found his way to an impressive 7-0 mark this time. In addition, his command was clearly much better as he improved his groundball rate all the way from 30.0% to 56.3% while lowering his line drive rate from a scary 46.7% down to 25.0%. At the same time, however, Hellickson allowed 6 runs, 5 earned, on 8 hits and still may not be ready to return to the major leagues. If you’re the Rays, what is the point of rushing him? Progress is being made by Jeremy Hellickson, but the Rays have no incentive to bring him back too soon and speed up their decision regarding Erik Bedard.

On the offensive side, Wilson Betemit went 2 for 4 with 2 doubles for the Bulls while Mikie Mahtook went 1 for 3 with a walk. The former first round pick Mahtook has delivered an extremely encouraging season, managing a .322/.393/.512 line with 24 doubles, 5 homers, 41 RBI, and 11 stolen bases. He still may be a tweener- not enough speed for centerfield and not enough power for a corner spot- but he has on the cusp of the big leagues and nearly ready to begin proving his doubters wrong.

Double-A Southern League: Mobile BayBears (ARI) 12, Montgomery Biscuits 6

Angel Sanchez did not have nearly the type of organizational debut he was hoping for, but a few of the Biscuits’ bats did have nice games. Sanchez went 4 innings allowing 5 runs on 6 hits, raising his ERA to 7.19 on the season. That’s rough, but he’s a better pitcher than that and the Rays expect him to begin showing why. A pair of the Biscuits’ top prospects, Ryan Brett and Luke Maile, both had 2 hits, a double, and a run scored, with Maile also driving in 2. Brett was off to a hot start while Maile only got going later, but their OPS’s are now nearly identical–.785 and .781 respectively. Joey Rickard and Hector Guevara also went 2 for 4, and it was the lesser-touted Guevara who really had the best performance of anyone in this game, drilling a homer and a double.

Tags: Jeremy Hellickson Mikie Mahtook Tampa Bay Rays