Rays’ Ryan Yarbrough faces a tough test vs. Angels

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ST. PETERSBURG — Ryan Yarbrough found success in an unusual role a season ago. The left-hander compiled a 16-6 record with a 3.91 ERA over 147 1/3 innings while only making six starts.

He appeared in 38 games, often following an opener like Ryne Stanek or Sergio Romo.

Yarbrough is searching success in the same role early this season. He owns a 5.31 ERA through nine appearances, but he dominated in his last outing. The lefthander posted 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball Saturday at Boston.

“I was lucky enough to have Travis (d’Arnaud) back there calling a really good game, but I was mixing speeds a lot really well and just keeping guys off balance,” Yarbrough said.

Yarbrough will take the mound as the starter on Thursday against the Angels. The long-relief arm turned spot-starter has struggled against some key Angels hitters. Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Kole Calhoun are a combined 8 for 14 with two homers against Yarbrough.

Wendle set to rejoin Rays

Infielder Joey Wendle returned to St. Petersburg Wednesday and will likely be activated from the injured list for the Angels series. Wendle made his fourth rehab start with Triple-A Durham Tuesday, playing shortstop and going 1-for-4 with a double. “The training staff will kind of take a look at him and we’ll see where we’re at,” Cash said. The Rays will have to make a corresponding move to add Wendle to the active roster, and that will likely send an infielder back to Triple-A Durham.

Roe searching for the zone

Reliever Chaz Roe’s struggles came back to hurt the Rays in the eighth inning on Tuesday. Roe entered with a runner on first and one-out. After striking out A’s slugger Khris Davis, Roe lost Stephen Piscotty to a walk. A wild pitch advanced the runners to second and third, and the Rays intentionally walked Robbie Grossman to load the bases. Colin Poche came on for Roe and allowed a grand slam to Ramón Laureano.

Number of the day

98

The tie-breaking grand slam by Ramón Laureano had an exit velocity of 98 miles per hour.

Plant product to remain in the bigs

A’s manager Bob Melvin said he hasn’t decided yet when Plant High product Tanner Anderson would make his next start. He’d be in line to start Sunday, but because of Thursday’s off day, he could get an extra day of rest if the team decides to start Mike Fiers Sunday on regular rest. Anderson earned another start after holding the Rays to two runs over 5 2/3 innings Monday in his first major league start. Either way, he would put him in line to pitch against the Rays in Oakland next weekend.

Miscellany

Outfielder Austin Meadows made the start at DH on Wednesday after fouling a ball off his foot Tuesday. “He’s going to be sore, but he’s fine,” Cash said. … Several Buccaneers rookies will attend the game Thursday, and first-round pick Devin White will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. … The Rays also will recognize the University of Tampa baseball team, fresh off claiming the Division II national championship.

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