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Successful camp has Snell looking ahead

Cash: Pitcher couldn't have had a better Spring Training
MLB.com @wwchastain

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Blake Snell wrapped up a quality camp with his final outing before facing the Red Sox in the Rays' second game of the season.

Snell allowed four runs on seven hits and a walk, while striking out eight in 5 2/3 innings during the Pirates' 7-5 win over the Rays Saturday.

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BRADENTON, Fla. -- Blake Snell wrapped up a quality camp with his final outing before facing the Red Sox in the Rays' second game of the season.

Snell allowed four runs on seven hits and a walk, while striking out eight in 5 2/3 innings during the Pirates' 7-5 win over the Rays Saturday.

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"I felt good, everything felt good," Snell said. "Happy with all the offspeed, the consistency of the pitches, everything I wanted to see. They put together some hits, but good pitches. Happy about everything I did today.

Video: TB@PIT: Snell pleased with his final spring start

"If anything, I would have wanted to be a little more aggressive. But for the most part, I was in the zone. When I wanted to throw the ball out of the zone, I was doing that, as well as throwing the fastball up. I liked a lot of my sequencing today, too. So there was a lot of good to go with it. ... I'm very happy with how I threw the ball today."

Snell had a nice spring, going 0-0 with a 3.12 ERA in five official outings against Major League competition. Rays manager Kevin Cash told reporters that he thought Snell was ready for the start of the season.

"He's in a good mindset," Cash said. "He's excited for the season. He could not have had a better spring from a work standpoint, and just an overall effort."

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Snell, who went 5-1 with a 2.84 ERA in his final 10 starts of 2017, sounded equally pleased with his spring.

"I'm just ready for the season to start," Snell said. "I feel like I've been that way for a while now. I'm just happy that we have to go through spring. There's a lot to learn. There's a lot to get better at. Now it all counts, and I'm ready to go."

He expressed satisfaction with how he was able to improve, and rattled off a list of accomplishments.

"Setting a presence, setting a confidence in myself, being consistent in the zone," Snell said. "Also being consistent out of the zone. I haven't said that enough. That's been a good part for me, too. Also, just learning batters again. Getting the mindset going.

"There's a lot that I wanted to learn that I learned. And there's still some left that I need to learn. But overall, very happy with this spring. And very happy how I showed up every day ready to go. It's season time, and it's ready to go now."

Snell has been a different pitcher and person this spring compared to a year ago. The lefty has matured. Snell acknowledged the change.

"Last year to this year is completely different," Snell said. "Just mindset wise. And where I stand right now, it's way different. I think everyone can tell. Just focus. Ready to go. Been waiting for this season a long time, so definitely excited that it's here now."

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2004.

Tampa Bay Rays, Blake Snell