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Tampa Bay Rays: Jake Odorizzi Takes Huge Step

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Matt Moore returned today for the Tampa Bay Rays today, and Jake Odorizzi will be right behind him. Of course, the Rays need hitting more than pitching, but James Loney and John Jaso are both looking good in their rehab games as well.

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Triple-A International League: Durham Bulls 5, Toledo Mud Hens (DET) 3

It’s been too long since the Rays had a win like this. Hopefully today can be exactly that. Scott Diamond started for Durham and tossed 6 innings allowing 2 runs on 8 hits, striking out 5 while walking 1. Jhan Marinez and Jim Miller then allowed just 1 run in the final 3 innings to seal the win. The Bulls had the lead to begin with thanks to 3 homers, 1 each from Taylor Motter, J.P. Arencibia, and Richie Shaffer. Motter had a huge game, going 3 for 3 with a double, a walk, and 2 runs scored in addition to the homer. The homer is only his fifth of the year–he’s off a step from last year, when he hit 16 blasts, but he still has a strong .307/.366/.459 line on the season.

High-A Florida State League: Charlotte Stone Crabs 5, Bradenton Marauders (PIT) 2

Jake Odorizzi only threw 57 pitches in this game, but he certainly looked sharp. He tossed 4 innings allowing 1 run on 2 hits, striking out 2 while walking 1. His groundout to flyout ratio was 8-3. The pitch count may be enough for Odorizzi to get one more rehab start, but the argument against that is the Rays’ bullpen days. If the Tampa Bay Rays are willing to have Steve Geltz and throw 2 innings, what would be the problem with Odorizzi starting and throwing 3 or 4? In any event, the Rays are excited that he is so close to returning.

Kyle McPherson, a Tommy John rehabber, followed Odorizzi and went 2 shutout innings allowing 2 hits, striking out 1. He forced a 3-1 groundout to flyout ratio. Jeff Ames then allowed a run in 2 innings, although he did strike out 2, before Brad Schreiber tossed a perfect frame for the save.

On the offensive side, John Jaso went 2 for 5 with a double and a run scored while James Loney went 2 for 3 before being lifted. The one unfortunate part about having both of them rehabbing is that Casey Gillaspie has no place to play. He got just 1 at-bat in this game after replacing Loney. It sounds like Loney is about to return, and Jaso now has 4 rehab games. We have to expect that he will be back relatively soon as well.

The prospects outplayed the big league duo, with Willy Adames going 1 for 4 with a solo homer while Armando Araiza had a 2-for-4 game with a homer, a double, and 2 runs scored. We see flashes from Araiza, but nothing more–he has just a .168/.240/.246 line. If only he could hit given his defense. We can’t complain nearly as much about Adames, who has a .283/.361/.410 line in 285 plate appearances. Yoel Araujo also went 2 for 4 with a double and 2 RBI in the win.

Low-A Midwest League: Fort Wayne TinCaps (SDP) 7, Bowling Green Hot Rods 1

There were some position player highlights in this game for the Hot Rods. Alec Sole went 2 for 3 with 2 doubles and a run scored out of the nine-hole, Thomas Milone and Bralin Jackson each went 2 for 4, and Carter Burgess went 1 for 3 with a walk. Expectations will literally nothing for Sole after he managed just a .528 OPS with the Hudson Valley Renegades last year, but the 18th rounder from 2014 has looked much better this year, hitting to a .320/.358/.440 line in 54 plate appearances with the Hot Rods.

Enderson Franco had a rough game on the mound, allowing 7 runs on 7 hits in 4 innings. His solid season was rudely interrupted in this game. Kyle Bird did follow with 2 shutout innings, striking out 2 while getting past 2 hits, before Mike Franco tossed 2 perfect frames with 2 strikeouts. At least the Hot Rods went 1 for 2 in Francos.

Short Season-A New York-Penn League: Brooklyn Cyclones (NYM) 7, Hudson Valley Renegades 0

This was a tough game for the Renegades to say the least. Greg Maisto started and went 3.1 innings allowing 3 runs, 1 earned, on 6 hits, striking out 3 while walking 2. Benton Moss then struck out 3 while walking 1 in 2.1 innings, but only while allowing 3 more runs, 2 earned. Tomas Michelson looked a solid deal better, working around a hit and a walk with 3 strikeout in 1.1 frames. Then Luis Urena marked a return to mediocrity, allowing 1 run in 2 innings, striking out 2. Hudson Valley managed just 2 hits, a Manuel Sanchez double and a Nic Wilson single.

Advanced Rookie Appalachian League: Princeton Rays 7, Greeneville Astros 5

This was another game with defensive problems for the Rays affiliate. The Renegades allowed 3 unearned runs, and so did the P-Rays. Luckily the offense was there to pick up the slack. Landon Cray drilled his first professional homer, Peter Maris and Patrick Grady each had 2 RBI, Angel Perez went 2 for 4 with 2 doubles, an RBI, and a run scored, and Jamie Mitchell went 2 for 3 with a double, a walk, and a run scored. Mitchell and Perez are the hottest Princeton hitters right now, with Mitchell hitting to a .467/.556/.667 line in 18 PA’s while Perez has a .414/.433/.552 line in 30.

Blake Bivens could have had a great outing in this game had his defense been up to par. He finished with 5.2 innings allowing 4 runs, 2 earned, on 5 hits, striking out 6 while walking 1. His groundout to flyout ratio was also a great 6-2. Bivens was considered advanced for a high school pitcher when the Rays made him their fourth round pick last year, and hopefully he can ignore the errors and let a game like this get him going. Alberto Casanas followed by allowing an unearned run on 2 hits in 3 innings, striking out 3 while walking 2, before Noel Rodriguez retired both batters he faced.

Rookie Gulf Coast League: GCL Rays 10, GCL Twins 8

The GCL Rays entered this game at just 1-7, and it took a crazy contest for them to come away with the win. They trailed 8-5 before rallying for 5 runs in the bottom of the eighth. Miguel Hernandez went 3 for 4 with 2 doubles, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored to lead the actual GCL players, and then two rehabbing players from higher in the minors joined the fray. Ty Morrison went 2 for 5 with a double, a stolen base, 2 RBI, and a run scored while Andrew Velazquez had a 2-for-4 day with a walk, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored. Velazquez can’t be far away from returning to High-A.

Abrahan Rodriguez had a rough outing on the mound, allowing 7 runs, 4 earned, in 4.2 innings, and Ian Kendall allowed another 1 run in his 1.2 frames. However, John Williams got things together for the rest of the game, allowing just 1 hit in 2.2 innings while striking out 1. He deservedly earned the win in the game.

Next: Tampa Bay Rays: Joey Butler Stops No-Hitter

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