ST. PETERSBURG — After being formally eliminated Monday from the postseason chase, the Rays on Tuesday turned their focus to addressing some issues for next season.
One is what to make of RHP Jake Faria, whose follow-up season to his impressive 2017 debut was lost to injuries and ineffectiveness that landed him back in the minors for a while.
Faria got the start Tuesday against the Yankees, working, on a limited pitch count, only into the third, allowing three runs on four hits and a costly walk in the 9-2 loss. The Rays dropped to 87-70 after their first back-to-back losses in more than a month.
"It was a stride in the right direction, I think,'' manager Kevin Cash said. "Jake set the bar pretty high for himself last year. We've got to do everything we can to get him back to that comfort, that confidence.''
Faria said: "It didn't end ideally, but I can at least go into whatever comes after this knowing I felt pretty good physically and had a pretty good feeling for what I was doing out there,'' noting the comfort of going through his normal start day routine rather than coming out of the bullpen.
Choi's eventful day
The question about Ji-Man Choi going into Tuesday's game was how would he handle his first opportunity since joining the Rays to play the field as he started at first base. Now the question may be when he plays again after a third-inning collision with Yankees C Gary Sanchez that left Choi with two stitches in his cut left ear and being checked for a concussion, cleared but sitll being monitored.
Choi had impressed enough as the DH that the Rays wanted to see over the final days of the season how he looked at first, which he has played previously in his native south Korea, plus the minors and majors (Angels, Yankees, Brewers).
"We want to continue to learn and find out about some of our players,'' Cash said. "See how the defense plays. Not that we'll put too much emphasis on it, but it will give us something going into the offseason.''
Choi who also has played leftfield, said he welcomed the opportunity: "I feel comfortable.''
Perez done for season
C Michael Perez won't make it back to play by the end of the season as he and the team hoped after straining his left hamstring in late August on an odd play at the plate. Perez improved enough to test it in an instructional league game on Monday but had issues running to first, and the team decided there was no point in risking reinjuring it.
Still, Cash said they were impressed with what they saw from the rookie after his late-July acquisition from Arizona, both at the plate, where he hit .284 in 24 games, and behind it. "We'd like to see more, for sure, but how can you not be,'' Cash said. "He did a really good job of understanding and learning our pitchers. He's very, very athletic behind the plate. The throwing, the blocking, the receiving and the bat was a bright surprise. … He had a lot of good at-bats. Not at any point did he look overmatched. For a guy that's never had any major-league experience, that's pretty impressive.'' Perez will definitely be part of the discussions for next season. "There's still stuff to be learned probably about him and we'll get to know him a little more in spring training,'' Cash said. "But I don't think he could have made a better impression in the time that he was healthy.''
The Rays plan to use RHP Ryne Stanek as the opener Wednesday, with RHP Yonny Chirinos working the bulk of the innings. … RHP Tyler Glasnow's final start will be Friday vs. Toronto, with LHP Blake Snell slated to try to his 22nd win on Saturday.
of the day
of a line drive by Aaron Judge that Faria somehow snagged: "I don't know (how). … I threw my hands up just to get my head out of the way and the ball went in my glove.''
• Announced attendance was just 10,953.
• The Hall of Fame asked for Snell's jersey from team-record breaking 21st win on Sunday, and soon will have it on display with the Rays exhibit.
• The team is hosting the annual Shirts Off Our Backs fundraiser, selling scratch off tickets all week ($5 for one, discounted for more) for assorted prizes topped by the jerseys worn in Sunday's season finale.
• Rays senior VP Erik Neander and wife Jessica added to their roster with the Tuesday birth of daughter Eden Santo, who joined brothers Penn and Corbin.