Rays lefty Drew Smyly will make at least two more rehab starts before rejoining the club, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported earlier this week. The first of those outings will come today, with a second one perhaps coming on Tuesday of next week. As Topkin notes, the Rays won’t need a fifth starter until Aug. 18, at which point Smyly could conceivably join the rotation. His return should be a nice boost to the Rays, as Smyly’s season was in doubt due to a shoulder tear earlier this year. The Rays are in particular need of rotation help at the moment after optioning Matt Moore to Triple-A in an effort to get the talented lefty back on track following some post-Tommy-John struggles.
More from the AL East…
- The Rays felt they needed a veteran bat to boost the lineup versus right-handed pitching after trading David DeJesus, writes Topkin, which led to the team’s claim of Daniel Nava from the division-rival Red Sox yesterday. Part of the reason the Rays chose to act may be an upcoming stretch against primarily right-handed starters. “He does a nice job against right-handed pitching,” said manager Kevin Cash — a former teammate of Nava. “He makes pitchers work a lot.”
- Red Sox DH David Ortiz is just 10 plate appearances shy of locking in a $10MM salary for the 2016 season by way of vesting option, writes WEEI.com’s John Tomase. As Tomase notes, Ortiz got off to a slow start in 2015, again sparking some debate about how much he had left in the tank. However, he’s homered 15 times in 45 games since June 10 and is hitting .273/.378/.588 in that time. “You know how it is with myself,” said Ortiz to Tomase. “Whenever I have a slow start, or things aren’t going my way, people start criticizing and saying things. But I guess that’s how it’s going to be. I can put up with that. I know what I’m capable of doing.” Ortiz expressed pride in having earned another year at the big league level due to his performance as opposed to simply having the guarantee built into his contract. “That’s the way we pretty much agreed to do things,” said Ortiz of his incentive-laden deal. “…I agreed to do it that way, because if I don’t put up numbers, what would be the reason to continue playing?”
- While many have advocated for the Red Sox to hire Dave Dombrowski as the team president to work in conjunction with GM Ben Cherington, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe feels that’s an awkward situation. If the Sox are going to go that route, they might as well fire Cherington, Abraham writes, as Dombrowski would want input in the staff working underneath him anyhow. Cherington has the trust of owner John Henry, Abraham continues, so such a scenario isn’t likely to play out. He does, however, need some help in the form of better scouts and analysts in the front office. As Abraham concludes, Cherington hasn’t been the sole driving force behind the acquisitions of Joe Kelly, Rick Porcello and Justin Masterson, and the team has had poor results in developing pitching despite selecting five arms in the first round from 2008-12.
- Though the Blue Jays traded away an enormous amount of prospect capital prior to this year’s trade deadline, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet writes that they’re still positioned to contend beyond the 2015 season. The Blue Jays have a strong core of position players that will return next season, with the primary question marks coming from the pitching staff. David Price, Mark Buehrle, Marco Estrada, R.A. Dickey (who has a club option), LaTroy Hawkins and Mark Lowe are all free agents this offseason. The club does have Marcus Stroman returning, but there will still be holes to fill. Davidi takes a position-by-position look at the Jays, examining their current Major League options as well as the depth pieces at each position in the minors.