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Cash, Rays play 'bullpen day' close to vest

MLB.com @wwchastain

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays' much-anticipated bullpen day will take place Saturday when they play the Red Sox in their third game of the season.

Prior to Friday night's 1-0 loss to Boston, Kevin Cash said he did not know who would start Saturday. The Rays' manager said that decision would not be announced until after Friday night's game, and that the decision would be contingent upon how Friday's game unfolded.

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ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays' much-anticipated bullpen day will take place Saturday when they play the Red Sox in their third game of the season.

Prior to Friday night's 1-0 loss to Boston, Kevin Cash said he did not know who would start Saturday. The Rays' manager said that decision would not be announced until after Friday night's game, and that the decision would be contingent upon how Friday's game unfolded.

View Full Game Coverage

"We'll see how we get there tonight, and I guess we'll decide right then," Cash said. "[Pitching coach] Kyle [Snyder] and I have an idea of what we're going to do. Anything could adjust, anything could change, given the state of the game."

In the end, Andrew Kittredge was given the starting nod. But why did the team wait until late Friday to reveal its plans? Cash told reporters on Friday afternoon that no one was secretly earmarked for Saturday's start, however he added: "But if there was I probably wouldn't say, just because that would be a competitive disadvantage for us to give the other club the heads up."

Video: Kittredge, Yarbrough on making the Opening Day roster

In other words, if the Rays announced who would pitch first in the "bullpen day" game, the Red Sox would have known that pitcher was not available to pitch Friday.

Snyder said the important thing is for the relievers to be transparent with Cash and him about how they feel and when they're going to be available to pitch again.

"So the relationships that we have in place, Cash, and [bullpen coach Stan Boroski], with these guys is really going to take on importance as we go forward."

Snyder addressed the opinion by some that the way the Rays are handling their pitching is crazy.

"I can see how it's looked at as such," Snyder said. "But for me it's just a matter of trying to take advantage of what we have. The depth that we have and the guys that we genuinely feel are ready to pitch in the big leagues."

Eovaldi fine
Nathan Eovaldi had a procedure performed Friday morning to remove "loose bodies" from his right elbow.

Video: TB@DET: Eovaldi on attacking the zone in strong start

"All went well," Cash said. "I think it was very consistent with what the MRI and the X-ray showed. But probably a little bit better in the fact that it was pretty clean, whatever was done or taken out. So we're optimistic that that timetable could be pretty consistent to what we originally said."

Eovaldi is estimated to miss six to eight weeks.

Lightning night
Friday night was Lightning night at Tropicana Field.

The NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning founder and former general manager Phil Esposito and former head coach Terry Crisp were on the field during batting practice, and former Lightning forward Paul Ysebaert threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Earlier in the week, Lightning players wore jerseys honoring the Rays during warmups. The Rays reciprocated by wearing Lightning hats during Friday night's batting practice.

"We support them," Cash said. "They started out so hot. I know they're still playing good. Give them some love because we want to see them do well. They do a good job of supporting us -- I didn't see the jerseys. Everybody commented on it. Said it was really cool. I want to see them finish strong. Get into the playoffs. I know it has been fun when the Lightning play well, it energizes our clubhouse quite a bit."

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

Tampa Bay Rays, Andrew Kittredge