LAKELAND, Fla. -- Alex Colome and Xavier Cedeno are scheduled to make their first spring appearances for the Rays on Wednesday against the Blue Jays.The relievers have not been held back because of anything physical, rather the Rays simply wanted to delay the start of their respective seasons. The idea
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Alex Colome and Xavier Cedeno are scheduled to make their first spring appearances for the Rays on Wednesday against the Blue Jays.
The relievers have not been held back because of anything physical, rather the Rays simply wanted to delay the start of their respective seasons. The idea being that a later start will help them stay fresher deeper into the regular season.
Colome began the 2015 season in the rotation, where he went 3-4 with a 4.70 ERA in 13 starts. Once he settled into a bullpen role, Colome evolved into a late-inning weapon for the Rays. In 30 relief appearances, Colome went 5-1 with a 2.66 ERA, including 44 strikeouts in 40 2/3 innings, and he did not allow a home run.
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Over a two-month span of 21 appearances, Colome recorded a 0.29 ERA, yielding just 18 hits and five walks while striking out 34 and going 3-0 with seven holds.
Cedeno allowed only four of 30 inherited runners to score last season, tying him with Oakland's Fernando Rodriguez for the best ratio in the American League. Only three AL lefties appeared in more games than Cedeno. He finished 4-1 with a 2.09 ERA and one save in 61 appearances.
Rays manager Kevin Cash called the handling of the relief pair "the lessening of the workload."
"Colome threw 10 or 11 innings in winter ball and he stopped," Cash said. "Just because we felt it was smart for him to stop. And Cedeno, he had a huge workload for us last year. So when they came into camp, we kind of factored that in, saying let's slow them down a little bit.
"We know they're going to be huge pieces at the back of our bullpen. It will line up with Box [Brad Boxberger] in the ninth and then a combination of Colome and Cedeno getting a lot of big outs in the seventh and eighth innings for us. ... There is no injury on their end. It was just simply let's be smart handling them on the leadup."
• Daniel Roberston started at shortstop for the Rays in Tuesday's 6-5 loss to the Tigers in Lakeland.
The 21-year-old native of Upland, Calf., is earmarked to be the Rays' shortstop of the future. Cash likes what he's seen of Robertson now.
"Baseball player," Cash said, when asked about Robertson. "...While he was here, he might have been as good as any player we had last Spring Training. You just watch him, the way he goes about his business.
"In Spring Training -- I haven't seen him during the regular season, he gets on the field late in ballgames and you want the ground ball hit to him because he's solid. He's going to catch it. He's going to make a good throw. He'll make some really good plays and the bat speaks for itself, what he's shown here. But for a young player, he just has a real good demeanor. Great approach at the plate. A lot to be excited for."
Because Robertson has size (6-foot-1, 205 pounds) and he has average speed, there are questions about whether he can remain a shortstop. Count Cash among those who believe he can.
"I think he looks fine," Cash said. "I think time will tell. Our roster will dictate that. When his time comes. But talking to Robby, he's comfortable playing third. He grew up playing third. Obviously, he's played a lot of short. And he played second base in the Fall League quite a bit to get more at-bats. So he's comfortable at all three of those positions."
• Cash praised Jacob Faria for "another good outing" and "pounding the strike zone," but mostly for keeping his composure despite surrendering the go-eahed homer in the seventh to John Mayberry Jr.
• Cash also noted that Matt Andriese showed well in taking over for Erasmo Ramirez, who had a rough outing. Andriese pitched three innings and allowed one hit while striking out three. Andriese's use as a long man on Tuesday is a possible role for him if he makes the team out of Spring Training.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com.