Smyly mows down O's in first spring nod

Smyly mows down O's in first spring nod

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Drew Smyly experienced an immaculate first outing of the spring on Saturday night when he retired the side in order each of the two innings he pitched in the Rays' 10-6 win over the Orioles.

The Rays' left-hander looked particularly impressive in the second inning, when he struck out Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo and Matt Wieters -- all swinging.

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"That was more or less their Opening Day lineup, at least the lineup they've had in the past," Smyly said. "I think every pitcher goes into spring, into the first game, a little anxious, a little nervous. How's my arm going to feel? How's my stuff going to be? How are the hitters going to see it? Just going out here kind of reassures you that you're good. Another year, go out and have fun. Just a great first game, and I'm excited about it."

Smyly threw 30 pitches, 18 were strikes. He likes the way his spring has progressed thus far.

"Just one step at a time," Smyly said. "But my arm feels great. I thought I pitched pretty well today. I did a good job of getting two strikes. ... I thought I was around the plate. Next time I just have to do a little better job of finishing the hitter off."

Smyly missed almost two-thirds of the 2015 season with a left shoulder injury. He began the season on the disabled list with shoulder tendinitis, returned on April 24 and made three starts before returning to the DL with left-shoulder soreness on May 9. He returned for good on Aug. 16, finishing the year 5-2 with a 3.11 ERA in 12 starts.

Since joining the Rays via a July 2014 trade with the Tigers, Smyly has gone 8-3 with a 3.24 ERA in 19 starts.

Rays manager Kevin Cash was asked what a healthy Smyly can do for the Rays this season.

"Quite a bit," Cash said. "I didn't see it when he was acquired, but everybody raved that he was as good as any pitcher in baseball after that trade. And then we saw glimpses of it last year.

"Drew just goes out and it's a pretty simple approach, and you sit there and before you know it he's just carved through six innings. He's racked up strikeouts. He doesn't walk anybody. A healthy Drew Smyly would really add to a rotation that we think is pretty strong."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.