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Odorizzi looks to make most of opportunity in rotation

ST. PETERSBURG -- Pitcher Jake Odorizzi figured he might be a part of the Rays' September callup equation. He did not expect to be making his fourth start of the season in August.

The 23-year-old right-hander learned on Wednesday that he will toe the rubber Thursday against the Angels, a move necessitated by the demotion of Jeremy Hellickson. Additionally, Matt Moore is not quite ready to come off the disabled list (left elbow soreness). To make room for Odorizzi, the Rays announced left-handed reliever Jeff Beliveau will be optioned to Double-A Montgomery.

"He's been pitching well," Rays manager Joe Maddon said of Odorizzi. "We thought that would be the right thing to do there."

Odorizzi's start lines up with Moore's next scheduled start and pushes ace David Price to the beginning of a key series with the Athletics on Friday, which kicks off a 10-game West Coast road trip.

Although Odorizzi's last start came in a 3-1 loss to the Red Sox on June 18, he allowed just one run on five hits over 5 2/3 innings.

Odorizzi said he felt his performance in Boston keyed a successful season with Triple-A Durham that saw him compile a 3.33 ERA with more than 100 innings pitched.

"Pitching in [Boston] is a lot different, but I thought if I could do it there, I could do it [in Durham]," he said. "It really showed. I'm happy to be back up here."

If Moore's return goes as planned, Odorizzi could be part of a three-man competition to be Tampa Bay's fifth starter with Roberto Hernandez and Hellickson.

"As you continue to move forward into that last month, you have no idea how it's going to play out," Maddon said. "We have a lot of different choices. Getting Jake involved tomorrow is important to us now and in the future."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for Sam Strong is an associate reporter for Adam Berry is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry.
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