Early off-days have Pearce, Rays antsy to play

Early off-days have Pearce, Rays antsy to play

ST. PETERSBURG -- Most everybody looks forward to a day off. Rays players like a day off as much as the next guy, they just wish there hadn't been so many early in the season.

Monday will be the Rays' third off-day of the young season, and they've had a game postponed by rain.

"You don't want the day off," Steve Pearce said. "We played a series and then an off-day and you don't even want it, because you know the grind is later on in the year and that's when we want those off-days."

The off-days have left players wondering why so many were scheduled in the early going.

"I don't know how that works," Brandon Guyer said. "You'd think at the end of the year when your body is a little tired, you'd rather have the off-days for that. I don't really know why they do it like that. But because of that, we're getting another off-day and not many lefties. That all adds to not a lot of playing time."

Pearce added: "There's no point in having them now. We don't need them now. Our adrenaline's going and everybody's healthy and ready to go. We'd definitely like to have them later in the year, which would be beneficial to everybody."

On top of the off-days, the Rays have faced just one left-handed starter to date, which has brought a tough climate for the right-handed hitters who play primarily against southpaws.

Beckham's RBI single

Count Tim Beckham among those affected. He allowed that all he can do is stay ready.

"And I'm going to trust my ability when I get out there," Beckham said.

Guyer also bats right-handed. When not in the lineup, he tries to get as much work in as possible.

"I just try and stay fresh in the cage," Guyer said. "But at the same time, I try not to do too much, which is something I felt like I did my first year up when I was starting to get used to this role. But I think having this role the past couple of years has definitely helped me and helped give me a little routine."

Hitting coach Derek Shelton said he tries to make sure that those who are sitting are "hitting and moving around."

The Rays will face three consecutive southpaws against the White Sox over the weekend when they see Chris Sale, John Danks, and Jose Quintana.

"But we're going to get into a stretch where we see three in a row," Shelton said. "And a possibility of seeing [left-hander CC Sabathia] in New York. So I think after the first three weeks, it's going to even itself out."

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