Rays’ Blake Snell focused on pitching, not contract

              Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell delivers to the Philadelphia Phillies during the second inning of a spring training baseball game Monday, March 11, 2019, in Clearwater, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — Blake Snell is focused on pitching and not his minuscule salary increase.

The AL Cy Young Award winner threw a called third strike past Bryce Harper with a 96 mph fastball in the first inning of the Tampa Bay Rays‘ 8-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday.

Snell’s contract was renewed Sunday for a salary while in the majors of $573,700, a raise of $15,500 and a figure $18,700 above the major league minimum, which rose $10,000 to $555,000. His deal calls for a $291,000 salary in the unlikely event he is in the minors.

The 26-year-old left-hander likely will be eligible for salary arbitration next winter. He declined to discuss his contract.

Snell struck out two over two perfect innings.

“Their lineup is nasty,” Snell said. “I really don’t key in on a guy. It’s a lefty, it’s righty, it’s what I focus on. I’ve got to attack the zone. They’re going to do what they do. I’m going to do what I do.”

Snell is slated to start Tampa Bay’s March 28 against Justin Verlander and the Houston Astros.

Tampa Bay also renewed the contracts of reliever Ryne Stanek ($564,200 in majors, $223,978 in minors) and infielder Joey Wendle ($570,400 in majors and $273,450 in minors).