Ohtani gets the nod against the Rays on Sunday when he goes for his fourth win of the year. Ohtani was idle on Saturday, as he doesn't bat before or after the days he pitches.
The Rays will be getting their first look at Ohtani, who's hitting .321 with six home runs, outside of the batter's box. He revealed his skills in the first two games of the series with a homer and double. But Ohtani has been paying close attention when he's been the designated hitter. He's been making notes on how to attack the Rays batters in the matinee.
"Rather than seeing it on video, actually seeing it in person like this gives me a lot more information to adjust,'' Ohtani said through a translator.
Tampa has a version of Ohtani in its farm system. Brendan McKay, the Rays' No. 3 overall prospect according to MLB Pipeline, also pitches for Class A Advanced Charlotte. Any pearls of wisdom Ohtani could pass along to McKay, a southpaw, in his quest to make the Majors?
"I've heard of his name, but I have never seen him actually pitch before, so it is hard to give him any type of advice,'' Ohtani said. "But, I would like to talk to him and have a conversation and I'm sure I could tell him some things.''
Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria (hamstring) has landed on the disabled list for the second time this season. He exited Thursday's series opener after running out a single and hasn't played since.
"We didn't get good enough news that he was going to come around,'' Cash said. "With the [Monday] off-day coming up, we want to make sure we get this thing completely right.''
The Rays called up right-handed pitcher Ryne Stanek to take his place on the 25-man roster.
Matt Duffy, who has also been slowed by a sore hamstring, returned to the lineup at third base on Saturday. Cash considered Duffy for the DH spot, but Duffy felt he could stay loose easier by playing defense.
Righty Nathan Eovaldi (forearm) will throw a bullpen session on Sunday and then make a rehab start for Triple-A Durham on Wednesday. He'll be stretched out to four or five innings.