CHICAGO -- Jake Faria has had a few days to digest his last outing, the right-hander's worst as a Major Leaguer. Now he appears to have a positive outlook before his Friday start against the Phillies at Tropicana Field.
"It's been a few good days leading up to this," Faria said. "Feels like it's been forever [since I pitched]. ... I'm eager to get back out there. Threw a bullpen yesterday, and it went really well. So eager to get back home."
Faria pitched a career-low 1 2/3 innings on Saturday against the Red Sox, allowing a career-high eight runs, and a career-high-tying five walks.
In the aftermath of that outing, Faria and pitching coach Kyle Snyder "kind of sat down" and "talked about slowly incorporating some stuff that I was doing last year."
Included in that was throwing with a weighted ball, which was one of his practices that had fallen by the wayside.
"The biggest thing it helps with is teaching a good arm path," said Faria of the five-pound ball.
Faria was asked if he needed positive reinforcement after his start, or strictly feedback on his mechanics.
"I think it was a little bit of both," Faria said. "I have a tendency to doubt myself a lot. I'm my toughest critic. That's the thing Kyle's really good at, just reinforcing to everybody, the fact if you're here you belong here. Just go out and do what you know how to do. Don't try to do anything more than what you're capable of. I had to sit down and chat about that a little."
Like a lot of pitchers, when Faria isn't throwing the ball well, one of the things that goes wrong is he drags his arm across his body on his follow through.
"I'm like across my body," Faria said. "Some parts are going too early, some parts are going too late. So those [weighted] balls really help with that."
Snyder noted, "Sometimes, when you get back to some structure, the answers find you. ... There's the chance of that. So we just went back and did some of the stuff we did last year. Did some stuff in the bullpen. ... Just trying to find ways to maximize the output of the body, minimize stress on the arm.
"Just get a little more compact on the delivery. Started throwing fastballs into the left-handed batter's box, then kind of worked it back onto the plate. I think we both came away from yesterday's bullpen encouraged."
As for making sure that Faria knows he belongs in the Major Leagues, Snyder said, "If we're going to get beat, we don't want to beat ourselves.
"We want to trust our stuff in the zone. Not pitch away from contact. Believe in your stuff in the strike zone."
Alex Colome has struggled thus far, but Snyder told reporters there's nothing to worry about with the Rays' closer.
"I think he's fallen behind [in the counts] a little bit," Snyder said. "But the pitches have been good. You have to look at the guy's track record the last couple of years. The stretches he's had with inconsistencies just happened to [occur] at the beginning of this year, instead of going through a seven-to-10-game stretch [during the season].
"Alex is going to be fine. His stuff is fine. He's one of the best closers in the game. And the heart rate is not changing. And the confidence isn't changing on our end or his end either. I think some of the cutters he threw [Tuesday against the White Sox] were some of the better cutters he's thrown from Spring Training to this point. ... Alex is perfectly fine."
The Rays acquired outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker from the D-backs on Tuesday in exchange for cash considerations.
Subsequently, Hazelbaker was sent to Triple-A Durham. Cash told reporters he didn't know much about Hazelbaker, but he did share what he does know.
"Kind of a veteran outfielder, had been with the Red Sox and Diamondbacks," Cash said. "Left-handed bat. We're excited [about acquiring him]. He'll go into that mix of somebody who can help us at some point of the season. ... Versatile, as far as the outfield."