Notes: Mejía to IL; Glasnow's 5-day routine

May 8th, 2021

Catcher was placed on the 10-day injured list with left intercostal discomfort, the Rays announced Saturday.

“He woke up and it just kind of irritated him to breathe,” said manager Kevin Cash. “We could probably buy time with the off-day and avoid [the IL], but we’re probably making the right decision.”

Additionally, lefty Ryan Yarbrough was reinstated from the COVID-19 IL and right-hander Chris Archer (right lateral forearm tightness) was transferred to the 60-day IL, a move that allowed the Rays to keep catcher Kevan Smith on the 26-man roster.

Cash is optimistic that Mejía won’t be out too long.

“We know how tricky these things are,” Cash said. “If he aggravates it, it could be a four-to-six week deal. We’ll try to keep it a minimum stint and just [have him] get a lot of treatment and some rest. Then hopefully, he’s right back when his IL stint’s over with.”

Mejía has been one of the few productive bats for Tampa Bay’s struggling offense, slashing .300/.348/.450 with a 131 wRC+ in 19 games.

With Mejía sidelined, Mike Zunino will assume starting catcher responsibilities. Zunino has been heating up, homering on Thursday and smacking an RBI single on Friday. Cash said that Smith could potentially start as well.

“We’ve been so fortunate to this point with catcher health and catcher production. Frankie and Z have just been tremendous for us,” Cash said. “Maybe it’s a good opportunity for [Smith] to get in there. I think we know what he’s capable of. He can do some things with the bat, and he knows our pitchers well.”

With Archer out for the foreseeable future, the Rays will continue to get creative with how they eat up innings. That ingenuity was on display this past week, with rookie left-hander Shane McClanahan throwing four innings on Tuesday and Luis Patiño following with three innings of his own. On Wednesday and Thursday, the Rays rolled out an opener for two innings before turning the ball over to a long man.

Archer, who signed a one-year, $6.5 million deal in his return to the Rays this offseason, has made two appearances this season, allowing three earned runs in 4 1/3 innings with six strikeouts and one walk.

“We know Arch has been away and it’s probably gotten to that point in all fairness for us to get him built back up in whatever capacity, whether it’s in the rotation or relieving on a shorter set, it’s going to take some time,” Cash said.

Glasnow details his routine
Tyler Glasnow released a video on Instagram titled, “The 5 day,” which details the Rays ace’s routine in between outings.

“I think what people don’t see a lot is how hard he works in between [starts],” said pitcher Collin McHugh of Glasnow's work ethic. “He’s got a reputation across the league for being a really hard worker and taking care of his body and taking care of his hair.”

Here’s the abridged breakdown:

• Day 1: Mobility and sprints
• Day 2: Throwing and lifting
• Day 3: Bullpen session
• Day 4: Light throwing
• Day 5: Gameday

While the right-hander generally sticks to that plan, occasionally making modifications based on workload, he does not consider himself superstitious, eschewing things such as eating the same meal, taking the same route to the stadium or tying his shoelaces a certain way.

“When I was younger, I used to be really superstitious. I would do all that weird stuff, and I remember being like, ‘This is ridiculous,’” Glasnow said. “It just seems like if it seeps into where you start doing all that stuff differently, it’s not worth it. Why would I put myself through this obsessive weirdness? I think there’s got to be a good balance.”

Glasnow’s regimen was not his creation alone, rather the brainchild of himself and various coaches and trainers that has been tinkered with over the years. It’s hard to argue the results; Glasnow entered Saturday's start vs. Oakland with a 2.06 ERA and 2.37 FIP in his first seven starts of the season.

“From a purely analytical standpoint, anytime a guy can throw 100 [mph] with cut and carry plus two plus breaking balls now and a changeup, you’re going to take your chances every fifth day with him,” McHugh said.