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Rays won’t restrict Davis’ innings

Posted Feb 18, 2010 by Tribune Sports

Updated Feb 18, 2010 at 04:21 PM

PORT CHARLOTTE—If right-handed pitcher Wade Davis locks down the fifth starter’s job out of spring training as expected, he won’t be restricted in innings the way David Price was in his rookie season last year.

The difference, of course, is that Price, 24, had a rapid ascent to the major leagues. Davis, also 24, pitched six seasons in the minor leagues before being called up late last season, and he pitched a combined 195 innings at Triple-A Durham and Tampa Bay last year.

“Wade is in a much different position to be able to take on a heavier load, in our minds, so in that respect it’s different,” Rays vice president for baseball operations Andrew Friedman said. “He’s in a position in our minds to put 200-plus innings together. He’s extremely talented, he worked his way through the system very methodically, and when he got to the major leagues in September, he pitched extremely well.”

Manager Joe Maddon said he’ll have no reservations about letting Davis go.

“He’s been stretched out, where, with David, we were constantly trying to monitor his pitches, innings, etc.,” Maddon said. “Wade has been stretched out. He’s been brought through the system in the proper manner and you feel a lot more comfortable as a manager turning him loose in the game, beased on his experience.”

Davis, from Lake Wales, went 2-2 with a 3.72 ERA in six starts last September following the trade of Scott Kazmir to the Angels. While his excellent month included a four-hit shutout at Baltimore on Sept. 17, there was also a difficult start at Baltimore on Sept. 12 in which Davis gave up eight earned runs in 2 2/3 innings.

Friedman says the club learned a lot about Davis after his setback.

“We had a staff meeting yesterday and went through all of our guys in detail,” Friedman said. “One of the things we talked about with Wade Davis wasn’t the very good starts he had, it was the bad start he had in Boston and the way he bounced back from that, and the way he processed that start and focused on ... how he could get better. He has a very unusual feel for the game at the major league level for such a young guy. It was very impressive and something that stood out to us.”

—Tony Fabrizio


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