Tampa Bay Rays: New Sherriff of Port Charlotte, Yoshitomo Tsutsugo Debuts
By Seth Carter
The Tampa Bay Rays welcomed the New York Yankees to for the second spring training game of the Grapefruit League.
Port Charlotte, FLA- The Tampa Bay Rays are projected to finish second to the Yankees in the AL East this season, but the Rays believe they have what it takes to hang with the juggernauts of the Northeast.
The Rays rolled out the former bulk pitcher of the opener strategy, and potential 2020 backend-of-the-rotation starter, LHP Ryan Yarbrough. The Yankees countered with RHP Jonathan Loaisiga.
The Rays started several of their regular players opting to go with the following lineup:
- RF- Austin Meadows
- 3B- Yandy Diaz
- 1B- Ji-Man Choi
- DH-Jose Martinez
- LF- Yoshitomo Tsutsugo
- CF- Kevin Kiermaier
- SS- Willy Adames
- 2B- Joey Wendle
- C- Mike Zunino
Tsutsugo received his first crack at major league pitching. He looked comfortable and blasted a shot off the pitcher for a single. He drew a walk in his second plate appearance before giving way to Dylan Cozens as a pinch-runner.
Randy Arozarena came into the game as the only Rays’ player with an extra-base hit. He added to the total here as he took over for Meadows in right and drew two walks and drove in two runs on a clutch triple late in the game. Arozarena would advance home on a bad return to the pitcher.
Andrew Kittredge struck out the side in the third.
Yarbrough stranded one runner in the first, giving up a hit to Luke Voit. Mike Zunino gave the Rays a 3-1 lead in the second with a single off of Tyler Lyons. I don’t care if it’s spring, it’s always good to see Zunino get a hit to drive in runs.
Shane McClanahan was roughed up for four earned runs in the sixth inning.
New Sherriff in Port Charlotte
Earlier this offseason, our own Austin Reimann spoke with Ryan Sherriff about his journey back from Tommy John surgery. Yesterday he picked up the first save of the spring for the Rays.
"Ryan Sherriff’s journey: Rays reliever talks comeback and recovery"
Sherriff retired all three batters he faced after the Rays scored two runs on an Arozarena triple in the bottom of the eighth. Randy Arozarena showed great awareness on the basepaths as he took home on a bad throwback to the pitcher.
The Rays play the Boston Red Sox 1:05 p.m. Monday.