Rays hope to extend Andriese for stretch run

Right-hander will return to rotation Sunday against White Sox

Rays hope to extend Andriese for stretch run

CHICAGO -- If the Rays wind up making a run at the second American League Wild Card spot, it will likely be on the back of their starting pitching. Right-hander Matt Andriese will start on Sunday for the Rays, whose starters entered Saturday's game against the White Sox with the Majors' fifth-lowest ERA.

Andriese made his return to action on Aug. 28, working a scoreless three-inning save against the Royals. He's now looking to build off that appearance and continue what was a strong start to the season in the rotation. Prior to going on the disabled list on June 13 with a right hip stress reaction, Andriese was 5-1 with a 3.54 ERA in 12 starts.

"I'm going to take the same mindset, same confidence from where I left off," Andriese said. "All it was is an injury. It wasn't anything with my ability. I'm going to take the same mindset. I feel like my stuff is still where it needs to be."

Andriese said he is currently stretched out to about 75 pitches from his two rehab appearances, but he added that he feels he has the freedom to go as far into the game as he can.

"I'm just going to go out there for as long as I can to try to put a quality start together, make good pitches and keep it going," Andriese said. "I've only got built up to 75 pitches. I'm just going to let it ride out, and essentially that's all I can do."

Rays manager Kevin Cash, whose club was three games behind the Twins for the second AL Wild Card spot entering Saturday's game, said the goal of Sunday's start would be to start building Andriese up for a postseason run.

"We're going to judge that on how he looks," Cash said. "We'll be paying attention to how crisp he looks in the middle innings, see if he's maintaining his stuff. But the thought is it is September, so we've got bullpen guys in there that can cover it. Somewhere in there, we need Matt Andriese to get stretched out enough to where he's at his best."

Rays to add two bullpen arms

The Rays have brought right-handers Chase Whitley and Andrew Kittredge to Chicago and will officially recall them from Triple-A Durham for Sunday's series finale against the White Sox. The pair will bring the Rays' active roster to 30. The club has matched its franchise record from 2000 by using 52 different players this season, and Cash said they may make more callups in the coming days.

Fabian Ardaya is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago who covered the Rays on Saturday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.