Rays’ Tyler Glasnow has a plan for today’s opener

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MIAMI — There is something about making today’s opening day start for the Rays that has pitcher Tyler Glasnow excited — the chance to hit.

“That’ll be sweet,’' said Glasnow, who hit regularly with the Pirates in 2017. “I haven’t done it in a long time, but I’ve been hitting a little bit with (hitting coach Chad Mottola) and bunting and stuff. So, yeah, I’m definitely excited to go out there and swing it again.’'

Glasnow, relatively speaking, has swung the bat pretty well, with a .207 career mark (6-for-29). He has bugged manager Kevin Cash for weeks about getting to take batting practice, and boasted to catcher Mike Zunino that even without a DH in their lineup it is “still going to be a tough one through nine.’'

But it’s what Glasnow can do on the mound that led the Rays to give him his first opening day honors, of course. And that part, he is trying hard to not make a big deal about.

“Obviously opening day, there’s a lot of hype around it,’' Glasnow said. “I think just coming in and approaching it like a normal game, just kind of the first one of many, is kind of how I’m looking at it.’'

That’s a mantra Glasnow repeats often, even during the Rays run through the postseason, when he made six starts, including Games 1 and 5 of the World Series.

But is it harder when it’s at the start of the season, when even basic things like getting on a plane and walking into a big-league stadium again, as the Rays did for Wednesday’s workout at LoanDepot Park, are new and novel?

“I don’t know,’' Glasnow said. “Personally, maybe not. I think it’s just, I want to go out there and obviously pitch well. I think if I put any more external (pressure) like, ‘Oh my God, this is the first one.’ ... for me, the mentality is just ‘You’ve got 30 of them; just try and make all of them as good as you can.’ So .. kind of what the previous years I’ve done, obviously haven’t thrown an opening day start, but I think the more you just try to stay game to game, the better off you are.’’

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