"I've heard he's been doing a great job," Rays manager Joe Maddon said of Odorizzi. "Talked about him at Spring Training. Here's a guy that went about his business really well. He has a nice makeup about him. So we felt confident starting him on Monday."
Odorizzi came to the Rays in the Dec. 9 trade that sent James Shields, Wade Davis and Elliot Johnson to the Royals. The Rays also got Minor Leaguers Wil Myers, Mike Montgomery and Patrick Leonard in the deal.
Odorizzi made his Major League debut in September for the Royals in two starts against the Indians. He went 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA in those outings.
He was 4-0 with a 3.83 ERA in eight starts for Triple-A Durham.
Odorizzi will officially go on the 25-man roster on Sunday, when a corresponding move will be made to make room for the right-hander.