Rays' Cormier sharp in return to action
Reliever throws 2 1/3 scoreless innings after 12 idle days
ST. PETERSBURG -- Lance Cormier returned to action Wednesday night after 12 days of being idle in the Rays' bullpen, and he was a difference-maker in a 9-5 win.
Cormier came into relieve starter Jeff Niemann with two outs in the fourth and pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings to help keep what could have been a slugfest at bay.
"That was the concern," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I'd already used those words with [bench coach Davey Martinez]. And I didn't want one of those. We already had the lead, let's keep the lead."
The Rays led, 7-4, when Cormier entered the game with the Angels threatening, and he allowed an RBI single (the run was charged to Niemann), which became the Angels' final run of the evening.
Cormier had thrown 37 innings this season before having 12 days of inactivity.
"I was concerned early on [in the season] that he was going to pitch way too many innings," Maddon said. "That's just how this thing works. The whole season is just peaks and valleys. It always seems to straighten out by the end of the year things kind of normalize.
"I was just really pleased that he was able to sit out as long as he did and pitch so well last night. That was my concern. When a guy hasn't pitched in that long of a time and he's able to have that sort of command and effectiveness. And he did. He was very good last night."
Cormier said not being used in those 12 games had nothing to do with his health, which he said is, and has been, fine.
"I was feeling great," Cormier said. "I worked through some mechanical things in Florida. In Cleveland, I had good stuff. Then it just worked out the way it did.
"The starters started going deeper into the game. We had a couple of eight-inning games. So that's just how certain scenarios work out. Some games were on the line and they wanted matchups. Nothing was ever vocalized to me that they wanted me to have extra time off."
Cormier said that he'd like to throw as much as he can, but he hopes the extra time off pay will reap benefits down the line.
"In September, it will be nice if I can look back and say, 'Man, having those 12 days off was a great thing,' if I'm still fresh and able to take it all through to the end of the season."
Cormier stayed busy during the 12 days off by throwing bullpen sessions. And when he entered the game Wednesday night, he looked sharp.
"I don't think it was necessarily nervous about being rusty," Cormier said. "The question definitely went through my head. But that just kind of made me want to bear down a little bit harder. And it was kind of weird, because I didn't really feel fresh arm wise. It was just a matter of not going out there and throwing harder than I should."
Cormier was rewarded for his effort with his first win of the season.
"First off, you're pleased with the team getting a win," Cormier said. "We got off that three-game losing streak. ... Good just to get that win last night and get back in that win column."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.