Tyler Alexander is willing to do anything for Rays to stay in majors

FORT MYERS — Tyler Alexander said he doesn’t really care whether he gets picked to replace Taj Bradley in the Rays’ rotation or earns a spot in their bullpen.

He just wants to make the team.

“I want to throw a lot of innings,” Alexander said Tuesday. “I want to help the team win. I don’t care what capacity. As long as I’m in the big leagues, I don’t care what I’m doing.”

The classically crafty lefty made a pretty good case for a job with his strong five-inning outing in a 5-2 loss to Boston Tuesday, scattering six hits, allowing one run, striking out three and walking none. He threw 45 of an efficient 65 pitches for strikes.

It was pretty much, the waiver claim from Detroit said, a standard outing.

“Oh yeah — a lot of singles, no walks, minimal strikeouts is very typical,” he said. “Because I don’t get a ton of swing-and-miss typically, it’s a lot of weak contact, and I try to induce it as early as I can. That’ll lead to hits every now and again.”

Rays manager Kevin Cash was impressed.

“That was really nice to see,” Cash said. “He just filled up the strike zone, along with executing pitches. He got a lot of ground balls that got the defense going. … He looked really good.”

Alexander said the 65 pitches were the most he had thrown since he finished the 2022 season as a starter for the Tigers. He worked in relief last year until a lat/shoulder strain ended his season in July.

Alexander, who has a minor-league option remaining, is competing with Jacob Waguespack, Jake Odorizzi and Naoyuki Uwasawa for the starting spot and, depending what happens, possibly with Waguespack and Kevin Kelly in the bullpen.

One of those spring things

Brandon Lowe was still sporting a bit of a black eye Tuesday morning as he explained the odd spring injury that caused it.

Lowe said he was doing some work Saturday at a new house he and his wife Madison bought in Tampa, trying to remove a piece of trim on the wall they didn’t feel had been applied well.

He got the claw end of the hammer under the wood, but when the trim popped off the flat side hit him in the left eye.

“It looks a lot worse than it is,” he said. “Not a big deal. I hit a homer the next day after it happened.”

Lowe, understandably, didn’t want to talk much about it, given the legacy of odd spring injuries around the game.

“I’ve caught enough for it,” he said.

Lowe first talked about it Monday on the “Foul Territory” webcast show. When host A.J. Pierzynski asked why, being rich, he didn’t hire someone to fix the piece of trim, Lowe said he enjoys doing that kind of work: “I like getting in there building stuff. It’s a little therapeutic I feel like.”

See you sometime

Hard-throwing reliever Manuel Rodriguez, a minor-league acquisition from the Cubs at last year’s trade deadline, was optioned to Triple A on Tuesday, but the Rays saw enough to expect him to play a key role at some point this season.

“Definitely,” Cash said. “He probably had about as good of a spring as you could ask of him. We do feel pretty good in the bullpen, but we know over past experiences that we’ll have to lean on guys, and we feel good about leaning on him.”

In nine innings, Rodriguez, with a fastball in the mid- to upper-90s and a tight slider, allowed one run, eight hits and two walks while striking out 14.

Game details: Red Sox 5, Rays 2

Consecutive singles by Amed Rosario, Richie Palacios and Harold Ramirez to start the game off Kutter Crawford led the Rays (8-14-2) to a 2-0 lead. … Reliever Shawn Armstrong gave up a tying homer to Triston Casas in the sixth, then loaded the bases in the seventh before Burch Smith allowed a run-scoring walk and a two-run single. … Catcher Rene Pinto picked Rafael Devers off first base. … Closer Pete Fairbanks allowed one hit and struck out two in posting his fourth scoreless outing. “He’s had a really good spring for us,” Cash said. ... Rosario got a start at shortstop, his previous primary position, but the Rays plan to used him mostly at second base and in rightfield. ... The Rays are off Wednesday, but Waguespack and reliever Colin Poche are slated to throw in a minor league game in Port Charlotte.

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