Though his numbers aren't that great, RHP Jeremy Hellickson likes the way he is throwing this spring.
Hellickson's ERA ballooned to 9.00 after he allowed four runs in three innings Wednesday in the Rays' 4-2 loss to the Marlins.
"I felt good enough to pitch better than that," Hellickson said.
He allowed four hits, walked a batter and struck out three. All the runs scored on home runs, the final three on Austin Kearns' inside-the-park home run after CF B.J. Upton and LF Desmond Jennings collided in the third inning.
"Results aren't there right now," Hellickson said. "But the pitches that I've been working on are coming along, getting a little more confidence in them every time out."
Lee among cuts
SS Hak-Ju Lee was the biggest name among the six players sent back to minor-league camp after the game.
The Rays reassigned Lee and RHP Bryan Augenstein and RHP Matt Torra to the minor-league camp and optioned RHP Alex Colome, RHP Wilking Rodriguez and RHP Albert Suarez to minor-league camp.
Lee, who hit .278 in 18 at-bats, looked good in the field but not at the plate, manager Joe Maddon said.
"He's been gliding or drifting a little bit," Maddon said.
Lee made some improvements, which resulted in a two-run double in the ninth inning of Tuesday's game and a two-run single in the ninth inning Wednesday. Those four RBIs were the only runs he drove in during 11 games.
Lee knows he has to work on his hitting this season.
"Hitting is different in minor league, big difference," he said. "More work. More practice."
Chirinos out with concussion
C Robinson Chirinos suffered a concussion Monday when he was struck in his mask by a foul tip.
"We've just been watching him closely," Maddon said. "We're monitoring it every day. I can't tell you when he's going to be back in action."
RHP Josh Lueke, RHP Fernando Rodney, RHP Joel Peralta, LHP J.P. Howell, LHP Jake McGee and RHP Brandon Gomes each tossed a scoreless inning in Wednesday's loss.
Lueke, Rodney and Howell threw perfect innings. Howell struck out three.
"The bullpen looked really good," Maddon said. "Of course they want to get the hitters out, but they're out there doing different things that they need to work on, and they did it successfully."
Gates open early today
The Rays will open the Charlotte Sports Park gates 21/2 hours before today's 1:05 p.m. first pitch to help with traffic flow. They will do the same for Sunday's game against the Red Sox, Wednesday vs. the Yankees, March 23 vs. the Blue Jays (7:05 p.m.), March 28 vs. the Pirates (7:05 p.m.) and March 31 vs. the Red Sox.
SS Sean Rodriguez was given a trophy by the Rays for being the 2012 Fan Fest MVP. He earned the award after spending an extra hour making calls for fans at the MetroPCS Call-A-Friend station. "I was really touched," Rodriguez said. … Rodriguez and RF Matt Joyce will serve as guest bartenders at 6 p.m. tonight at Wyvern Hotel in Punta Gorda. Proceeds will benefit the Charlotte County YMCA. … The Rays have been held to three runs or fewer in 10 of 13 games. … Sun Sports will televise its first Rays game this afternoon.