Lefty was optioned to Triple-A Durham following Saturday's start
By Craig Forde
Special to MLB.com |
BOSTON -- After playing catch in the Fenway Park outfield with his little cousins following Saturday's game, Alex Cobb entered the clubhouse to find Blake Snell with his bags packed.
Cobb offered an ear to the young starter, who was optioned to Triple-A following another inconsistent start.
"I wasn't expecting it," Cobb said. "He seemed to have a good outlook. He seemed relieved to be able to go down, without the pressure, and work on what he knows he needs to work on. That's a positive. Up here, it's hard to work on things because when you get into situations, you can't just out-stuff that. You have to pitch. You have to compete. He really never got a chance to work on what he was trying to work on."
After going 6-8 with a 3.54 in 19 starts during his rookie season in 2016, Snell strung together six starts in which he pitched five or fewer innings, and had an 0-4 record with a 4.71 ERA.
Struggles with the command of his fastball yielded 43 hits and 25 walks over 42 innings, as oft times he was forced to work behind in counts, which is where trouble seemed to find him the most.
"It's not oversimplifying for Blake, or for anybody in the big leagues," Cobb added. "Once you establish that, then you work from there. That's his problem right now. He's got a great fastball, but he's forced to throw it in some terrible counts."
In optioning Snell to Durham, the organization is hopeful the 24-year-old will regain the form that plays up his stuff the best, so he can contribute back in the Majors.
"We've got to get him in a better spot," manager Kevin Cash said. "We felt getting him down there would be the best place to do that. Still very, very optimistic about Blake and his future here with the Rays. We know for us to be the team that we want, he's got to be in our rotation and pitching well for us."
Cash said Erasmo Ramirez seems like the most likely option to replace Snell in the rotation, as Ramirez was able to slot in well when Jake Odorizzi was injured.
The club recalled right-hander Ryne Stanek from Durham to take Snell's roster spot, providing the Rays with another strong, young arm in the bullpen.
"[Stanek has] a big-power fastball," Cash said. "He's throwing both breaking balls that are in the low-90s range, and he's also featuring a split. We want to do everything we can to get him up here, get him comfortable and kind of maintain what he's been doing back there, and not to alter anything just because it's a different level."
Because of weather issues in Boston, Stanek was forced to fly into Hartford, Conn., and drive to Fenway. He arrived just prior to Sunday's game.
"Good job of everybody adjusting on the fly," concluded Cash.
Craig Forde is a contributor to MLB.com based in Boston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.