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Zunino Believes Pitching Will Be “In A Very Good Boat”

Rays catcher Mike Zunino

Despite losing the two top arms in the starting rotation over the off-season, catcher Mike Zunino sounds optimistic about the 2021 season because of the additions of veteran pitchers like Chris Archer and Rich Hill.

“In typical Rays fashion, we’re bringing in some great arms,” Zunino said Friday.  “It’s not fun to lose Charlie [Morton] or Blake [Snell,] but you know what, bringing in Arch, bringing in Rich, just seeing what those guys are doing already.  I was able to catch Arch today, we’re going to be in a very good boat.”

Zunino has already caught Archer, Tyler Glasnow, Ryan Yarbrough, and Nick Anderson so far this spring, and had high praise for all four pitchers.

“All looking good, all building, all very impressive first bullpens,” he said.

Zunino Says Learning New Veteran Pitchers “Helps”

When the Rays normally deal with new pitchers, they are young and have very little, if any, big league time.  But this year, having Hill, Archer and Michael Wacha already in camp, and right-hander Collin McHugh reportedly on his way, Zunino feels that job is a little easier.

“It definitely helps [dealing with veterans,]” Zunino explained.  “A lot of that goes with either having at bats against guys and knowing how they work through either your at bat or through a lineup, and seeing them on TV and facing them, and then their knowledge of themselves.  Knowing what they do and how they can express and sort of describe how they like to work.”

Zunino says he’s already had conversations with a number of the veteran pitchers to learn about how they like to prepare for the start of the season.

“It just makes it a little bit easier to get those conversations going and build a relationship,” he said.

Written By

Steve Carney is the founder and publisher of St. Pete Nine. One of the people most associated with baseball coverage in Tampa Bay, he spent 13 seasons covering the Rays for flagship radio station WDAE, first as producer of Rays Radio broadcasts, then as beat reporter beginning in 2011. He likes new analytics and aged bourbon, and is the owner of one of the ugliest knuckleballs ever witnessed by baseball scouts.

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