ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays righty Roberto Hernandez's scoreless, nine-pitch ninth inning during Friday's 7-2 win over the Yankees was his first relief appearance since 2006, which was his first season in the Major Leagues.
Hernandez has started 23 games for Tampa Bay this season but has lost 13 of them, the second-highest loss total in the American League. If All-Star starter Matt Moore -- who has been on the disabled list since July 29 with left elbow soreness -- continues to work his way back into the rotation, Hernandez's relief appearances could become more frequent.
Manager Joe Maddon said Hernandez was "wide open" to the idea of pitching out of the bullpen.
"If you put him on the right hitters, he should have some success," Maddon said. "It's good for him, and it's good for us. He looked very comfortable. He was not rushed in any way. He threw strikes. The ball was alive. I kind of liked it. It was a test run, and it looked good. He gets ready pretty fast. We know that in the future and can get him out there against the right guys."
Although no starter for Tuesday's series opener against the Angels has been announced, Hernandez still figures to be an option. Maddon said Friday's appearance will function as his standard bullpen session between starts.
Sam Strong is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.