Odorizzi's changeup bodes well for Rays

Odorizzi's changeup bodes well for Rays

MIAMI -- Jake Odorizzi made a successful return from the disabled list on Monday night, and the Rays' fortunes seem to have taken a turn for the best.

Odorizzi, who went on the DL on April 15 with a left hamstring strain, allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits and a walk while striking out six in five innings. He threw 78 pitches (49 strikes) and came away with a no-decision in Tampa Bay's 4-2 victory over the Marlins at Marlins Park.

"I felt great," Odorizzi said. "Almost a little too strong. ... All my stuff felt really good coming out. I thought my changeup was the best it's been for quite a while, so it's nice to have that after a short break and have it be at the top of its game."

Marlins manager Don Mattingly noted that "a lot of these guys -- they have, they like to pitch up and down with offspeed or split, whatever [Odorizzi] calls that."

"I think we swung at some balls out of the strike zone," Mattingly continued. "I don't know if we made him come in the strike zone. He's a guy who presents a little bit of a tough look because of the split down and fastball up."

Having Odorizzi back not only strengthens the starting rotation, his return also strengthens the bullpen.

Colome shuts door on Marlins

"Odo's been a guy who has a proven track record of being able to get us deep into games," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "I think going back over the last month now, we'd like to have a little bit lengthier starts, and he's one of the guys who's totally capable of doing that."

Added staff ace Chris Archer: Odorizzi is "a really, really good pitcher. Consistent. You know what you're going to get. So having that presence for innings and consistency is huge right now."

Still, Odorizzi was disappointed he did not get to pitch deeper into the game.

"It's unfortunate. I could have gone longer from where I'm sitting, but it's not my decision," Odorizzi said. "I was ready to go six or seven and give those guys [in the bullpen] a little bit of a blow. They've been really used here lately. That's what my mindset was. I had no restrictions in my mindset of being not healthy. I wanted to go out there and maximize my innings. Just continue to do it moving forward."

Dickerson's leaping grab at wall

Cash said the decision to take out Odorizzi was made with the pitcher's and the team's best interest in mind.

"I totally understand Odo had more in the tank," Cash said, "but sometimes you're going to make some decisions that don't make everybody happy."

While Odorizzi might have wanted to pitch longer, he still came away happy with his outing.

"Yeah, I'm very pleased to only give up two hits," Odorizzi said. "One of my big pitches comes back -- and to have good life on my fastball -- it's kind of all I can ask for for my first start back."

And just what the doctor ordered for the Rays.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.