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Sunday, Oct 26, 2014
Rays

Rays Notes: Innings limit near for Smyly

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— Those crisp outings by LHP Drew Smyly that have been so impressive since he arrived from Detroit at the trade deadline will only be available on a limited basis.

Rays manager Joe Maddon said Thursday that with Smyly already at a career-high 1411⁄3 innings this season, he will likely make two or three more starts.

“This is uncharted territory,” Maddon said. “I think in a perfect world, 150-160 (innings) looks like the magic number.”

Maddon said he will also monitor his use of RHP Brad Boxberger.

“I got to be careful with Boxy, too. Absolutely, yes,” Maddon said.

Smyly, 3-1 with a 1.50 ERA in five starts as a Ray, has pitched in 26 games this season between the two teams. He’s made 23 starts. Smyly pitched his first career complete game on Aug. 22 at Toronto and needed only 105 pitches. Maddon said he wasn’t going to let Smyly throw more than 90 pitches Wednesday. Smyly was so efficient he was able to pitch seven innings in 87 pitches.

Smyly set a career-high with 126 innings in his first season of pro ball in 2011. He pitched 76 innings last season, when he appeared in 63 games as a reliever.

The Rays do not like young pitchers to increase their innings by more than 20 percent from one year to the next.

Maddon said Smyly is the only member of the rotation who will be shut down at some point in September.

“You’ve got to be careful with him,” Maddon said. “He’s not been here before.”

Boxberger has thrown 57 innings this season with the Rays, plus 91⁄3 innings at Triple-A Durham before he joined the Rays for good on May 5.

Maddon said he will limit Boxberger’s two-inning appearances in September once extra arms are added to the bullpen when rosters expand Monday.

“When you look at his work with us, it’s not awful,” Maddon said, “but when you combine that with what he’s done before that, that’s when it adds up.”

Archer vs. Ortiz

RHP Chris Archer faces the Red Sox tonight when the teams begin a four-game homestand at Tropicana Field. It will be the first meeting between him and Red Sox DH David Ortiz since July 27, when Archer called out Ortiz for taking his time running the bases after he homered off Archer.

Ortiz responded by saying Archer only had “two days” in the big leagues and should basically keep his mouth shut.

Archer didn’t want to talk about the subject this week.

“I’m not going to say anything about it,” Archer said.

He said he hasn’t heard from Ortiz, and he doesn’t think the umpires will make it an issue before the game. Archer said he’s just focused on pitching.

“Like always, 100 percent intent, focus, pitch execution, period,” he said.

Longo getting toasty

3B Evan Longoria entered Thursday’s game with a .346 batting average through the first six games of the road trip. He also drove in seven of the 18 runs the Rays scored during those games.

He then homered in the first inning Thursday to give the Rays a 2-0 lead.

“I like the way he’s getting the bat started better. I think it’s what I remember,” Maddon said. “You see more balls to the (left) side of the field and not being pushed to (the right) side of the field. So I think he’s a lot more comfortable. I’m seeing better bat-head speed in general.”

Several scouts who have watched Longoria play this season said he is not using his legs as much.

“I can’t disagree more,” Maddon said. “What he’s not doing, he’s been trying to push the ball to the other side, and whenever you do that your bottom half is not going to work like it would when you’re hitting the ball straight away or you’re pulling the ball. When you’re talking about that, that’s more approach.”

Noteworthy

Expect C Curt Casali and RHP Brandon Gomes to be among the first players called up Monday when rosters expand. OF David DeJesus (left hand fracture) will rejoin the team Monday. Maddon said the Rays will bring up four or five players Monday. There will be more call-ups after Durham’s season is over, but Maddon doesn’t expect the team to bring up too many players. ... A second Joe Maddon Mr. Potato Head giveway has been added Sept. 20. The first 20,000 fans will receive a Joe-tato with a hoodie.

Roger Mooney

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