Thursday, July 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays journal: Blake Snell waits for All-Star call

MINNEAPOLIS — LHP Blake Snell has been doing a lot of waiting.

Thursday, it was two hours for the rain to stop so the game against the Twins he started could get under way at 10:05 p.m.

Then it was back to wondering when his phone was going to ring or an email would pop in with word that he had been added to the American League pitching staff for Tuesday's All-Star Game in Washington.

"I don't think he has to do much more,'' Rays manager Kevin Cash said before Thursday's game. "There's a lot of good players, a lot of very, very deserving All-Stars. I don't want to take anything away from them. I think Blake needs to continue doing what he's doing. He's very deserving. I think he's getting a lot of recognition throughout the industry, and rightfully so. Continue doing what he's doing, have another good start and see how the process unfolds.''

What appeared maybe the clearest path for Snell to be added to the staff seemed to disappear Thursday when Trevor Bauer said that despite starting Sunday for the Indians, he planned to remain on the active roster and be available to pitch Tuesday.

"You know me. When's the last time I took myself out of pitching anything?'' Bauer told reporters in Cleveland. "I threw 40 innings this offseason. I threw in my alumni game — four innings. Yeah, I'd like to pitch (in the All-Star Game). … I guess (who pitches is) also up to the manager of the game. As far as I know, I'm available, but I don't think anything's, like, definitive one way or another.''

Bauer was chosen over Snell, who was 12-4 with an AL-best 2.09 ERA at the time, to replace Houston's Justin Verlander, who opted out because he is starting Sunday. That's what most pitchers in that position do, but the Rays can't protest too loudly because last year Chris Archer opted to remain active after pitching the Sunday before the All-Star Game.

Snell is next in line to be added, so his hopes rest on another AL pitcher asking out due to injury or other reasons. One possibility could be Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman, who has been dealing with left knee tendinitis and might prefer the rest. The other AL pitchers: Jose Berrios (Twins), Gerrit Cole (Astros), Edwin Diaz (Mariners), J.A. Happ (Blue Jays), Joe Jimenez (Tigers), Craig Kimbrel (Red Sox), Corey Kluber (Indians), Chris Sale (Red Sox), Luis Severino (Yankees) and Blake Treinen (A's).

Cash said Snell has handled the situation "outstanding." "The maturity that we've talked about when he's on the mound, how he's handled this rivals that," Cash said. "It's very easy for a young kid to get caught in the moment and get irritated and say something he wished he didn't say or had back years from now. Blake hasn't done that. He's been very respectful of the situation.

"He's kind of sat back. He recognizes the season he's had. We all do. And we'll continue to hope that it works in his favor.''

Unfortunately, Snell only lasted three innings Thursday, throwing 75 pitches and giving up three runs on five hits.

Medical matters: Arroyo, Faria

INF Christian Arroyo (oblique) went to Triple-A Durham for what was supposed to be a final rehab game or two before being reinstated but left after seven innings (going 0-for-3) with discomfort in his left hand (which was broken last year and twice required surgery) and was to be re-evaluated Friday. … RHP Jake Faria (oblique) moved up to Durham to make his second rehab start, throwing 46 pitches over three innings, allowing two hits and two walks. He is not eligible to return until July 22 at the earliest.

Familiar faces

The Rays face an old friend for the first time Friday in RHP Jake Odorizzi, whom they traded to the Twins during spring training. They won't, however, have to be concerned with any LoMo revenge. Former Rays 1B/DH Logan Morrison was placed on the Twins' disabled list with a left hip impingement. Another ex-Ray with the Twins is C Bobby Wilson, a Seminole High product who is getting the chance to play somewhat regularly. "It's worked out really well,'' Wilson said.

Extra arm added

Rather than add another position player to replace demoted INF Willy Adames, the Rays opted to fortify a bullpen worn out by back-to-back days of heavy use, calling up RHP Chih-Wei Hu. That was special for Hu, who was originally signed out of Taiwan by the Twins and traded to the Rays as a minor-leaguer, and had never been to Target Field before. "When I first signed, this was my dream to play here,'' said Hu, who was 3-6, 4.66 in 16 games at Durham. He  had been up with the Rays twice previously this season.

Miscellany

• OF Carlos Gomez arranged, and he and RHP Sergio Romo paid for, a team dinner at a Fogo de Chao steakhouse in Minneapolis on Wednesday, citing the benefits of team bonding. "We tried to get (speedy CF Kevin) Kiermaier to pay, but he got away,'' Gomez joked.

• Durham INF Kean Wong was named International League Top Star in the Triple-A All-Star Game.

• 1B/DH C.J. Cron has given the Rays a lead with 12 of his career-high 18 homers.

• The Fox Sports Sun broadcast team has a different look , with Doug Waechter filling in for analyst Brian Anderson and Neil Solondz for pre- and postgame host Rich Hollenberg. Durham radio man Patrick Kinas is handling Solondz's usual duties.

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