With Tyler Glasnow out until sometime in April with an oblique strain, Yonny Chirinos and Luis Patino have been battling most of the spring to grab that fifth spot in the rotation.
Chirinos Gets Leg Up On Patino For Final Rotation Spot
So far, the results have been mixed, with Chirinos and Patino being inconsistent this spring.
On Friday afternoon on a sunbathed field in Bradenton, Luis Patino started for the Rays, and he did not help do himself in his bid to gain the last spot in the rotation.
Patino was rocked for five hits while allowing five runs over one and two thirds innings. He also hit three batters, walked one, and struck out three while throwing 60 pitches.
Chirinos came on in the third inning and allowed one hit over the next three and a third innings of work.
He walked one and struck four while taking the lead over Patino in the competition for the final rotation spot.
Josh Fleming is also a dark horse candidate for the fifth rotation spot.
Here are the stat lines for all three pitchers this spring:
Yonny Chirinos. 0-1, 8.59 ERA, four walks, nine strikeouts
Luis Patino. 1-1, 6.43 ERA, four walks, eight strikeouts
Josh Fleming. 2-1, 4.76 ERA, one walk, eight strikeouts
Arozarena Shines At WBC
—At the WBC, outfielder Randy Arozarena was named MVP of Group C as he led Mexico into a semifinal matchup with Cuba on Monday Night.
Arozarena is hitting .456 with one home run and has driven in nine runs to earn the MVP honors in pool play.
Isaac Paredes is also playing for Mexico and has hit .300 with one homer and five runs batted in.
While Arozarena, Paredes, and Wander Franco have been away playing at the WBC, what position players have impressed the Rays brass and moved up in the organization’s depth chart?
Luke Raley And Kyle Manzardo Two Players To Watch
There have been two, Luke Raley and Kyle Manzardo.
Luke Raley came to camp with a chance to move up the depth chart and has had an impressive spring. Raley is hitting .267 and leads the team with four homers and 12 runs batted in this spring.
He will undoubtedly get a call to the big league club at some point this season.
But the player catching everyone’s eye is first basemen Kyle Manzardo. The 22-year-old Manzardo was the best player in the minor leagues last season and is showing why he deserved to come to camp this spring.
Manzardo is hitting .333 with two homers and eight runs batted in.
Manager Kevin Cash has been impressed with what he has seen from Manzardo. “Maybe as good of an impression as anybody in camp. It’s really cool to see a guy come in that you hear a lot about and not just back it up but do more than back it up.”
“He’s talented, and he’s got a knack for getting the barrel to the bat. He’s hit everywhere he’s been. Hopefully, he keeps hitting, and we’ll see him.”
This is the first big-league camp for Manzardo, and he feels good about what he has accomplished. “That’s kind of what you come here hoping to do is play well, show the big guys what you can do, what your game is. I feel like my play was a good representation of who I am as a player.”
Manzardo was one of the players assigned to the minor league camp on Saturday but could see some time with the big league club this season if he continues to play the way he has in spring training.
Shane McClanahan Will Be The Opening Day Starter
Shane McClanahan is the favorite to start opening day against the Detroit Tigers.
The Rays cannot officially announce the opening day starter yet as the MLB Network will air their season preview on Thursday of this week and announce the opening day starters for all teams.