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Notes: Steps forward for Alvarado, Poche

@juanctoribio
July 12, 2020

ST. PETERSBURG -- A very important Summer Camp for José Alvarado continued on Sunday, as the left-hander was one of four pitchers that threw in the day's simulated game at Tropicana Field. Alvarado made his first appearance in a sim game on Friday, but the left-hander struggled with his command,

ST. PETERSBURG -- A very important Summer Camp for José Alvarado continued on Sunday, as the left-hander was one of four pitchers that threw in the day's simulated game at Tropicana Field.

Alvarado made his first appearance in a sim game on Friday, but the left-hander struggled with his command, landing 12 of his 20 pitches for strikes and walking two during the outing. On Sunday, however, he looked more like the pitcher the Rays are banking on having a big bounce-back in 2020.

“Better,” said Rays manager Kevin Cash. “His last outing that he had he was fine, but he just wasn’t filling up the strike zone like he’s capable of. We put in an emphasis to fill it up, fill up the zone with the fastball, because as soon as he does that, then those 55-foot breaking balls [come] -- which catchers can’t stand but hitters swing at. So you don’t tell him not to throw those.”

Alvarado started his outing by getting Daniel Robertson to ground out to first base and then striking out Mike Zunino. He then ran into some trouble, walking Nate Lowe and giving up a single to Manuel Margot. To his credit, Alvarado didn’t allow a “run” during the outing, as he struck out Brandon Lowe to end the inning.

But even more important than the results, Alvarado told Cash afterwards that he felt like he noticed some things with his mechanics that could help him control the strike zone even better moving forward.

“Encouraged with his work,” Cash said. “[Pitching coach Kyle Snyder and I] were talking about his bullpen sessions and flat grounds and what they’ve been like, and Kyle is very encouraged where he is from a strike-throwing ability. That’s what kind of got lost at the end of last year. I know he dealt with the injury, but injury aside, it was the command that kind of got away. That’s what we’re all focusing on.”

Sim game notes
Colin Poche started the simulated game on Sunday and was much sharper than he was during his first appearance. Poche tossed a scoreless inning, needing just 13 pitches, 10 of which went for strikes. Poche got Mike Brosseau and Joey Wendle to fly out for the first two outs before getting Michael Perez to strike out swinging.

Aside from Poche, Aaron Loup also had an effective outing on Sunday, needing just nine pitches to retire Robertson, Zunino and Nate Lowe. Loup is competing for a spot on the active roster and has made an impression during Spring Training and Summer Camp. In order for the Rays to add Loup to the active roster, they would first have to make room for him on the 40-man roster.

Overall, the group that pitched on Sunday limited Tampa Bay hitters to just two combined hits over 3 1/2 innings.

Sunday’s attendance
Sunday was another sim game day at The Trop, so not every position player or pitcher was seen on the field. Tyler Glasnow, Randy Arozarena, Yonny Chirinos and José Martínez -- all of whom have not made an appearance in Summer Camp -- were still not spotted at Sunday’s workout.

Austin Meadows attended the first workout last Friday, but he has not been on the field since. Brendan McKay participated in the first couple of workouts, but he has not been seen on the field in the last six days. Diego Castillo has also not been seen the last five days. Due to the health protocols, the Rays won't disclose which players have attended each workout.

Juan Toribio covers the Rays for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @juanctoribio.