Glasnow returns to Rays, sharp in sim game

July 14th, 2020

ST. PETERSBURG -- After announcing that he had missed the first 11 Summer Camp workouts due to a positive COVID-19 test during intake testing, Rays starter returned to the field on Tuesday and didn’t miss a beat.

At the beginning of Tuesday’s workout, Glasnow was seen on the elliptical down the right-field line at Tropicana Field. Once he finished, Glasnow proceeded to throw a ball against the outfield wall and then returned to the clubhouse. It appeared Glasnow’s first day back was over, but the right-hander re-emerged from the visiting dugout in full uniform, making it clear that he was going to be one of the pitchers who was throwing in the simulated game.

Not only did Glasnow throw in the sim game, but he also exceeded all expectations from a pitcher who hasn’t been with the team since workouts began on July 3. Glasnow tossed 3 1/3 innings, throwing 49 pitches, 28 for strikes. He allowed one hit, walked one and struck out four during his outing.

“I’ve kind of been around this mark anyway, as far as pitches go, on my own, so I knew I would be ready for three or four [innings],” Glasnow said. “They went a little bit more cautious to go three and then an [out in] the fourth, but next time we’ll probably just increase it by an inning, but I’m in shape and I feel good.”

Glasnow showed off his dominant fastball, striking out Nate Lowe and Ji-Man Choi on high heaters. He also displayed his curveball, getting Michael Perez swinging on another strikeout. He even threw a changeup to Yoshitomo Tsutsugo. Overall, Glasnow picked up right where he left off.

“Excited to see Tyler throwing,” said Rays manager Kevin Cash. “Got really good work in. Just overall excitement that he’s back. We’ll continue to move forward and build up. He looked really, really good. Credit to him for putting the work in and basically being able to throw four innings right out of the gate.”

Despite testing positive for the coronavirus, Glasnow said he felt “totally fine” except for losing his sense of taste and smell and having mild cold symptoms for about a day. Because he didn’t have any severe symptoms like in other cases, Glasnow said he was still able to continue working out and throwing at an empty local park whenever he had a chance.

Glasnow had been throwing to hitters throughout the quarantine period in Arizona and has been throwing to command trainers over the past couple of weeks. The combination of those things is why the Rays felt comfortable letting Glasnow throw multiple innings on his first day back.

“I felt really good about where he stood physically,” said Rays pitching coach Kyle Snyder. “He has been simulating some up and downs to command trainers with nets behind him, simulating half-innings. We knew where he was physically, but it just hasn’t happened against hitters. But I felt very confident.”

Having Glasnow back and throwing multiple innings helps make the Rays’ roster decisions a little bit easier. Charlie Morton, Blake Snell and Ryan Yarbrough have been in camp and throwing since the beginning, but Yonny Chirinos has not been spotted on the field since the beginning of camp, while Brendan McKay has not been seen over the past eight days.

With Glasnow back and saying that he’ll be able to start the season on time, the Rays now have four clear-cut rotation options in Glasnow, Snell, Morton and Yarbrough. Tampa Bay also has Jalen Beeks, Trevor Richards and Anthony Banda as possible options to start or possibly piggyback off each other on the fifth day. There’s also the possibility that Chirinos or McKay will return soon, giving the club yet another option.

Those decisions won’t come until the last day of camp, but having Glasnow back was a step in the right direction, and health permitting, it gives the Rays a clearer picture of what the rotation could look like.

“Tyler is one of our guys,” Cash said. “Getting him back and knowing that he’s already here built to the four-inning mark, he’s right in line with everybody. ... I believe Richards and Yarbrough both threw four innings at the other complex today, so he’s right in line with what we envision from a starting pitcher. We’re all really encouraged with that.”