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Odorizzi feels 'normal' after throwing BP

ST. PETERSBURG -- Jake Odorizzi made a positive step on Saturday toward returning to the Rays' active roster, while others continued to progress.

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Odorizzi went on the disabled list on June 9 with a left oblique strain. On Saturday, he threw batting practice, tossing 51 pitches in three innings.

"Body felt good, oblique was perfectly fine, normal," Odorizzi said. "So it was just kind of like a Spring Training-type outing with the same hitters, going back and forth, but it was really good. Pain-free, and that was the most important thing."

Odorizzi threw all of his pitches and allowed that the only thing he was displeased with was his strike zone command.

The right-hander will have a rehab outing in five days that will see him throw 60 pitches. After that, Odorizzi hopes to be back with the team.

"I would think just one [rehab start is needed] based on the way I felt today," Odorizzi said, "but I'm not the one who controls that type of things, as we all know. I feel like one actual game experience would be enough to come back, on limited pitches, obviously. But I can come and pitch back up here and feel perfectly fine and compete."

Rays manager Kevin Cash said he could not commit on Odorizzi's timeline, noting they had to see how he recovers.

"How he comes in tomorrow is equally as important [as Saturday's outing]," Cash said. "He doesn't have to go through the entire rep of getting totally built up. What he was doing for us at a very high level, we have to make sure he can come back and perform at that level."

Meanwhile, Erasmo Ramirez, who missed a start due to a strained right groin, will start for the Rays on Tuesday night against the Indians.

"His bullpen [session] went well," said Cash. "He makes it sound like he feels really good, so it's a great sign. Nice that he came back that quick."

Andrew Bellatti (right shoulder tendinitis) also threw batting practice on Saturday. The right-hander believes he's close to being ready, but Cash suggested that he might not return as fast as he thinks he can.

"Bellatti, he's a big part of what we're doing," Cash said. "He's been one of those guys whose been very versatile for us - started, come in some ballgames, pitched some big innings. He's another young pitcher that we have to make sure is right."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for
Read More: Tampa Bay Rays, Jake Odorizzi