PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. (AP) — Tampa Bay’s Rafael Soriano isn’t concerned about an ugly spring training pitching line.
The Rays’ big offseason acquisition said Tuesday he’s been working on different facets of his game, not approaching one-inning exhibition outings the way the team is counting on him to close out games this year.
The 30-year-old reliever’s spring ERA climbed to 11.25 after allowing four runs, three hits, one walk and striking out two during the third inning of Tuesday’s 9-9 tie against the Boston Red Sox.
Soriano, obtained in a trade from Atlanta after leading the Braves with a career-high 27 saves in 31 opportunities last season, gave up a two-run homer to Anthony Rizzo and a two-run double to Tug Hulett.
“For me it doesn’t matter,” said Soriano, who signed a $7.25 million, one-year contract after the Rays acquired him in exchange for pitcher Jesse Chavez in hopes of stabilizing the bullpen.
“How I’m pitching today, I don’t pitch like that,” he added. “When I pitch the same (during the regular season) and that thing happened, I’d be mad. But today, no.”
Rizzo’s homer put the Red Sox up 6-0. Reddick’s solo homer off Lance Cormier made it 7-4 in the fifth.
Boston fell behind twice before Kevin Frandsen’s ninth-inning RBI single made it 9-9.
Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon also downplayed Soriano’s performance.
The right-hander began his spring with a pair of scoreless innings, but has allowed five runs over his last two innings of work. He’s walked two and struck out seven in the four innings.
“He’s fine. … He’s working on some other things, his breaking ball,” Maddon said. “He really hasn’t uncorked his fastball, and I’m fine with all that. He’s feeling good. None of that is a concern at all.”
Red Sox starter Casey Kelly allowed two runs and four hits in three innings. Daniel Bard allowed four runs in the seventh inning, allowing five hits and only getting two outs before being replaced by Chad Paronto.
Adrian Beltre had a two-run triple for the Red Sox.
Notes: Maddon announced RHP Jeff Niemann will start the third game of the season for the Rays, with LHP David Price starting the fourth game and RHP Wade Davis the fifth. Right-handers James Shields and Matt Garza hold the top two spots in the rotation. … Red Sox RHP Jonathan Papelbon and LHP Hideki Okajima are scheduled to pitch in a minor league game Wednesday in Fort Myers. … Price allowed one hit, walked one and struck out eight in 6 2-3 scoreless innings of a minor league game Tuesday. … Tampa Bay optioned RHP Dale Thayer to Triple-A Durham, reassigned RHP Heath Rollins to minor league camp and announced 1B Dan Johnson accepted an outright assignment to Durham.