Taj Bradley makes Rays spring training debut, gets the win against Yankees

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Tampa Bay Rays defeated the New York Yankees 4-3 on Wednesday, with pitcher Taj Bradley getting the win in his first outing of spring training.

He pitched three scoreless innings, giving up two hits and striking out one — a great early test for the young pitcher against the stacked line up of Yankees starters.

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“That’s why I was happy I was on the road,” Bradley said after his outing. “Most people aren’t happy to get the away games, but if I can get the ‘A-team’ like that, then I’m excited for it.”

The second was a three-up, three-down inning on just eight pitches — seven of those for strikes. But it wasn’t just that trio of batters he felt good against.

“The first inning, too,” Bradley said. “I just felt like with some of them, like the curveball to [Anthony] Rizzo, I just stayed up a little bit, and I was just getting behind in the count, so I feel like my pitches were good there, but it wasn’t insufficient counts to like get a good outcome.”

Manager Kevin Cash said Bradley’s pitches have continued to get better, and he’s pleased with what he’s seen from the 22-year-old.

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“Taj, (I’m) really impressed with the way he handled the goods and some of the adversity throughout,” Cash said. “Now it’s just continuing to get that comfort. He’s looked really, really good in his live BPs, so (I’m) encouraged by that.”

Bradley also mentioned he’s hoping to settle-in more in year two.

“Just be comfortable this year,” Bradley said. “Just going into the year, just knowing that I can compete at the high level, and take a lot of that stress off of me. Just knowing that, you know, these guys are good hitters, but I’m also a good pitcher.”

Bradley is coming off his rookie season, where he was the youngest pitcher in the majors to make 20 or more starts. He went (5-8) with a 5.56 ERA in 22 games last season.

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