Rays’ Ryan Pepiot has ‘frustrating’ day on mound in second outing

FORT MYERS — Ryan Pepiot had a couple of words to sum up his rough outing in Tuesday’s 7-4 exhibition loss to Boston:

Frustrating and taxing.

That covered the results, as he allowed six runs in 2 ⅔ innings, giving up eight hits and a walk while coming out of the bullpen and facing 16 batters.

But also how he got there in his second spring outing for the Rays. Falling behind too many hitters. Adjusting to a different catcher and still new teammates. Following orders to work on his slider and curveball, and limit use of his elite changeup, thus altering his usual pitch sequencing.

Even having a few words in response to umpire Erich Bacchus stepping toward him after he asked about a pitch location.

“A frustrating day,” Pepiot said.

Manager Kevin Cash wasn’t too concerned about what he saw from the 26-year-old right-hander, acquired from the Dodgers in the Tyler Glasnow deal and penciled into the Rays’ No. 4 spot in the rotation.

“We’re not going to put too much weight on it,” Cash said. “He’s a competitor, he wants to go out there and pitch well.

“He had some long innings. There was a fly ball out there that we lost in the sun (by centerfielder Jose Siri) that added to the pitch count. But he kind of holds himself to high expectations and wants to perform a little bit better.”

Pepiot noted the misplaced slider that Tyler O’Neill crushed over the leftfield wall as the pitch he most wanted back, but he said there was some good amid the crooked numbers.

“I executed some pitches, and they made some good contact on some pitches that I liked,” he said. “Overall, the stuff was there, it was fine. … So just kind of working on things. I got the pitch count up (53), mixed in the whole arsenal, got all four pitches in there. … Just a taxing day.”

Uwasawa has better outing

Naoyuki Uwasawa’s second appearance was better than his rocky Thursday relief debut.

Saying he was more comfortable in his usual starting role, and taking instruction from the Rays to pitch inside more, the right-hander from Japan walked three and gave up two hits over his two innings, allowing one run. Plus, he retired countryman Masataka Yoshida on a groundout.

“Right now, I’m in position to get used to all the things here,” he said via team interpreter Taishi Terashima.

Cash acknowledged the improvement.

“He looked a little more comfortable out there, got in his rhythm pretty good, mixed the pitches a little bit,” Cash said. “He’s going to continue to attack that strike zone and trust that his stuff in the zone plays, and then he’ll get some swing and miss once he establishes more strikes.”

Uwasawa is scheduled to face Boston again Sunday in the Dominican Republic.

Odd play of the day

Catcher Rob Brantly didn’t know what to think when Boston’s Rafael Devers broke for home with two outs in the fourth as Brantly was holding the ball and standing at the plate. A white, thumb-protecting pad in Brantly’s glove flew out on the previous pitch and landed well past home, and Devers mistook it for the baseball, thus running into an easy out.

“I didn’t know what was happening,” Brantly said. “I was like, ‘Do I have the ball?’ My mind was in a pretzel. I felt like two plus two equaled five.”

Game details: Red Sox 7, Rays 4

Jonathan Aranda continued his hot spring (6-for-15) with a two-run double. … Veteran relievers Phil Maton and Jason Adam made their spring debuts. … Slimmed-down Harold Ramirez made a sliding catch in rightfield, but third baseman Junior Caminero had a better play, barehanding a Wilyer Abreu bouncer and firing to first. “Cammy made an unbelievable play,” Cash said. “That was a big-time play.” ... The Rays are 2-7-2.


Pitcher Shane Baz, on a planned slow track in his return from Tommy John surgery, tweaked an oblique picking up a weight and will be delayed about a week in throwing his first live batting practice. … Outfielder Josh Lowe said his left hip, which sidelined him last week, felt better, with the team planning to reevaluate his status and potentially have him resume baseball activities soon. He remains confident of being ready for the March 28 season opener.

• • •

Sign up for the Sports Today newsletter to get daily updates on the Bucs, Rays, Lightning and college football across Florida.

Never miss out on the latest with your favorite Tampa Bay sports teams. Follow our coverage on Instagram, X and Facebook.