Choate seems to be finding groove

Choate seems to be finding groove

ST. PETERSBURG -- Randy Choate's past three appearances have been scoreless, with the lefty allowing one hit and one walk while striking out three over 1 1/3 innings. In his previous three outings, he pitched two-thirds of an inning, allowing eight hits, seven earned runs and two home runs.

"I still kind of feel like I'm throwing through my sink," Choate said. "The last couple of years before this one, I've gone to winter ball. I think it's made a difference when my arm gets a little more tired. And I think a little bit early, I almost feel a little fresh, if that makes sense.

"It's different when you play two or three months of offseason baseball. So I'm trying to focus a little more on my mechanics, but I definitely felt better last night. There's still a couple [of times] where I have to just basically catch myself from trying not to throw too hard, because I feel so good physically. My arm feels fresh."

Rays manager Joe Maddon said he was never concerned about Choate, who entered Saturday night's contest with a record of 0-1 and a 17.18 ERA.

"Some of those numbers are skewed because he was in a position that I normally would not put him in had a pitcher not gotten hurt," Maddon said.