SPRING TRAINING: Rays fall to Twins, Archer returns to Port Charlotte; preview of today’s games

By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports

FORT MYERS — Jake Odorizzi is definitely not pitching in the second round of the World Baseball Classic for Team USA, according to Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash.

The Rays pitcher is an alternate, who could’ve been added to the roster for the second round, but because he’s scheduled to pitch today against the Yankees, that kills his chances.

“I haven’t heard anything (for Team USA),” Odorizzi said. “I’d imagine it’s going to be a late process of hearing just because the schedule is kind of a day-to-day thing.”

Odorizzi is still potentially available should USA advance to the third round, but things would have to line up properly with his starting schedule to make things work.

ARCHER RETURNS
Chris Archer returned to Port Charlotte on Monday after spending the week with Team USA in Miami.

Archer tossed four perfect innings on just 41 pitches in his start against Colombia, but that’s all for now.

“We couldn’t be happier, or more proud of the way he handled himself in the game. Just really proud of the way Chris handled the entire situation,” Cash said.

Just like with Odorizzi, Archer’s future in the WBC is dependent on it lining up with his normal schedule. On Thursday, an off day for the Rays, Archer will pitch in a minor league game.

That means Archer will not appear for USA in the second round, but could potentially pitch the championship game, if they were to advance that far.

‘MALLEX-FACTURED’
Mallex Smith created a run with his wheels in the first inning.

He had a leadoff bunt single to begin the game. He then reached second base on an errant pickoff attempt by Justin Haley. Smith moved to third base on a flyout and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Jake Bauers.

His speed took away a run for the Twins in the bottom of the first when he robbed Joe Mauer of a home run in centerfield.

“One inning isn’t going to sum up my whole play, but I think I showed them a little bit,” Smith said.

SHAKE IT OFF
Steven Souza Jr. was drilled in the ribs with a pitch in the third inning, but stayed in the game.

Playing in visible discomfort, Souza was forced to make a diving catch in rightfield just a few minutes later. He then delivered hit a ground-rule double in the fifth inning that plated a run to give the Rays a 4-3 lead at the time.

“96 (miles per hour) never feels really that great in the ribs,” Souza said after the game while icing the area. “You’d probably have to drag me off the field now that I’m coming back from surgery. Nothing is really going to get me off the field at this point.”

2 OUT OF 3 AIN’T BAD
Jose De Leon looked sharp in two of the three innings he pitched on Monday.

In the first and third innings, De Leon retired all six batters on just 28 pitches, and also was aided by a pair of great defensive plays.

“I’m happy because I felt better than my previous starts,” De Leon said. “I’m still working on the command, but I think it’s a step forward today. Just have to keep working on it, and I’ll be good.”

The second inning gave De Leon a little bit of trouble. He allowed a leadoff single, walked the next batter and then surrendered a three-run homer to Niko Goodrum. De Leon tossed 26 pitches in that inning alone.

TWINS 9, RAYS 4

HITTER OF THE GAME
Nick Franklin, Rays:
Franklin continued his great spring with three singles in three at-bats. He entered Monday with nine hits in 18 at-bats, and now boasts a .571 average in nine games.

PITCHER OF THE GAME
Justin Marks, Rays:
He was the Rays’ only pitcher to not surrender a run. Marks went 1.1 innings, allowed just one hit and struck out a batter.

KEY INNING
Bottom 5th:
Right after the Rays took a 4-3 lead, the Twins responded with three runs to take the lead for good. Benji Gonzalez, Zack Granite and Joe Mauer all knocked in runs against Chase Whitley to do the damage.

PROSPECT WATCH
Nick Ciuffo, Rays:
 Twins outfielder Daniel Palka learned the hard way what many MLB players will one day: You can’t sleep on the base paths with Nick Ciuffo behind the plate. Ciuffo picked off Palka at third base with a perfect throw.

THEY SAID IT
Oh my God, I’ve never seen anything like that in person. I was talking to Willy (Adames) and told him I’ve never seen anyone rob a home run in person. That was impressive.”

Rays pitcher Jose De Leon on Mallex Smith’s robbery of Joe Mauer

SPLIT SQUAD
NEW YORK-AL (13-4) AT TAMPA BAY (7-8-1)

WHEN: Today, 1:05 p.m.
WHERE: Charlotte Sports Park, Port Charlotte
SCHEDULED STARTERS: RH Jake Odorizzi vs. RH Luis Severino
PITCHING PROBABLES
RAYS:  RH Jake Odorizzi (start), RH Shawn Tolleson, RH Jaime Schultz, RH Austin Pruitt, RH Diego Moreno.
YANKEES: RH Luis Severino (start), Jon Niese, RH Johnny Barbato, LH Dietrich Enns, RH Jonathan Holder.

TAMPA BAY (7-8-1) AT BALTIMORE (10-6-1)

WHEN: Today, 1:05 p.m.
WHERE: Ed Smith Stadium, Sarasota
SCHEDULED STARTERS: LH Blake Snell vs. LH Wade Miley
PITCHING PROBABLES
RAYS:  LH Blake Snell (start), RH Hunter Wood, RH Chih-Wei Hu, LH Ryan Yarbrough, RH Jacob Faria.
ORIOLES: LH Wade Miley, RH Tyler Wilson, RH Darren O’Day, LH Zach Britton, LH Richard Bleier.

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