Rays’ Ryan Pepiot ‘fun to watch’ in strong outing vs. Phillies

CLEARWATER — Offsetting concerns from a growing list of injured players with opening day approaching, starter Ryan Pepiot delivered an encouraging performance in Thursday’s 6-5 win over the Phillies.

Pepiot worked five strong innings, allowing one hit (a homer that hit the top of outfield wall) and zero walks, striking out six, throwing only 54 pitches, no more than 13 in any inning, and 42 overall for strikes.

“That,” manager Kevin Cash said, “was fun to watch.”

Pepiot showed the promise the Rays saw in acquiring him from the Dodgers in the Tyler Glasnow trade, mixing his fastball, slider and elite changeup, and maintaining his velocity, hitting 96 mph in his final inning.

The performance was a good followup to his Saturday start, when he had a rough first inning but followed with three strong ones.

“Good to see him have a really good outing, build off the outing in Minnesota the other day,” Cash said. “Pretty dominant stuff against a lot of good hitters that Philly threw out. ... You just see the intent to get the ball over the plate early and then build off of it from there, continue throwing strikes.”

Pepiot said the latest outings were an extension of a backfield throwing session he had with pitching coach Kyle Snyder standing right behind him, emphasizing the importance of strike throwing.

“Just having that and then taking it to the game, (I feel like I’ve) definitely taken that next step forward,” Pepiot said.

He credited catcher Rene Pinto for his game calling Thursday and tipped his cap to some good defense, but Pepiot had reason to be pleased with his work.

“It was a good day mixing all the pitches and getting ahead of guys,” Pepiot said. “Exactly what we talk about here.”

Photo of the day

ThunderBug, the Lightning’s mascot, took a break from hockey while his team is on the road this week, having a little fun with outfielder Jose Siri before Thursday’s spring training game.

Rays add Rock from Rockies

The Rays added some potential pitching depth in acquiring lefty Joe Rock from Colorado for infielder/outfielder Greg Jones, their 2019 first-round pick whose career has been marred by injury and inconsistency.

Rock, 23, was the No. 68 pick in the 2021 draft and though he was 1-10, 4.66 last year in 20 starts (19 at Double A, one at Triple A), is considered a top-20 prospect by both organizations. His 112 strikeouts in 92 2/3 innings support his tools.

Jones, 26, has played only 270 minor-league games, hitting .266 with a .787 OPS, reaching Triple A last year. He also was moved at times from shortstop to centerfield.

Another benefit for the Rays is opening a 40-man roster spot by trading Jones, as Rock does not have to be added yet.

TV time

Bally Sports announced plans to televise 157 of the 162 regular-season games, available on Bally Sports Sun and via streaming on its app and website. The streaming service is $19.99 a month or $105.99 for a season pass. The Rays are slated for two games on Apple+ and three on Fox networks.

Game details: Rays 6, Phillies 5

Yandy Diaz started the game with his third homer of the spring. … Reliever Jason Adam had a rough sixth inning for the Rays (9-14-2), allowing five hits and four runs, though two errors by minor-league infielder Willy Vazquez factored in. … Shortstop Jose Caballero and second baseman Amed Rosario both made highlight-worthy plays. … The Rays rallied to win in the ninth on back-to-back, two-out doubles by Richie Palacios (off a lefty) and Curtis Mead.


Heavy, day-long rain is forecast for Friday in Port Charlotte, putting the game against the Twins in serious jeopardy and leading the Rays to make contingency plans for workouts in their indoor hitting facility, which has full mounds. … Jake Odorizzi, who signed a minor-league contract March 15, likely won’t pitch in any major-league exhibitions, with a bullpen session slated for Friday.

• • •

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.