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Rays monitoring situation in violent Baltimore

Violence and protests in and around downtown Baltimore led to postponement of the Orioles' Monday night with the White Sox and put the rest of this week's game, against the Sox and Rays in question.

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Violence and protests in and around downtown Baltimore led to postponement of the Orioles' Monday night with the White Sox and put the rest of this week's game, against the Sox and Rays in question.

UPDATE, 11:49: The Orioles announced that tonight's game with the White Sox has also been postponed. Discussions about Wednesday's game, and the Rays series, continue.

UPDATE, 8:31: An announcement is expected soon on the plans for tonight's scheduled Orioles-White Sox game.

Concern among the Rays has spread to family members as well. Lindsay Murphy Guyer, wife of Rays OF Brandon and a Washington, D.C., TV sports anchor/reporter had these tweets last night:

"The Rays are in Bmore this wknd I always look fwd to these games but dont see myself going. Its sad. Violence and looting accomplish nothing"

"baltimore is being destroyed it's just so sad...most of those people live there...and they are destroying their own city their own home"

DEVELOPING: Rays officials aree monitoring the violent situation in Baltimore in advance of a scheduled weekend series.

The Rays are scheduled to travel to Baltimore Thursday afternoon and play games Friday and Saturday night, and Sunday afternoon. Players and staff were briefed after their Monday game about the situation by travel director Chris Westmoreland. …

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For starters, Rays at Yankees, looking for a six-pack

The Rays will have Nathan Karns on the mound tonight; the Yankees counter with Adam Warren.


The Rays will have Nathan Karns on the mound tonight; the Yankees counter with Adam Warren.

UPDATE, 4:23: Though Jennings is not in Rays lineup, am hearing he could be available off bench tonight.

UPDATE, 4:20: Sounds like there wasn't a setback for Jaso, but just a matter of his progress being so slow that pushing his return to early June by moving him to the 60-day DL was not really a difference. ... RHP Alex Colome is with team after making rehab start Sunday, said he is ready to go and will rejoin rotation this weekend in Baltimore. Friday would seem to make sense, allowing Rays to give Archer an extra day. ... LHP Jake McGee will make his first official rehab appearance on Tuesday, pitching for advanced Class A Charlotte. McGee, coming off elbow surgery, was set back a week or so after his back stiffened up following an extended spring outing. He is likely to make at least three rehab appearances and hopes to rejoin the Rays by the end of next week. ... INF Nick Franklin (oblique) is making enough progress that he is likely to start a rehab assignment by the end of the week. ... RHP Alex Cobb threw a 30-pitch bullpen session today at the Trop, and likely will need to throw two more before advancing to live batting practice and then rehab games. 

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Rays acquire LHP Xavier Cedeno, move Jaso to 60-day DL

Xavier Cedeno, 28, has pitched in the majors over parts of the last five seasons with the Astros and Nationals.

AP photo

Xavier Cedeno, 28, has pitched in the majors over parts of the last five seasons with the Astros and Nationals.

The Rays made a move to add a lefty reliever today, acquiring LHP Xavier Cedeno from the Dodgers, now run by former executive VP Andrew Friedman, for cash.

To make room on the 40-man roster, the Rays shifted DH/OF John Jaso from the 15-day to the 60-day DL, meaning his return from a sprained left wrist is pushed into early June. Cedeno won't join the Rays for a couple days, so they don't have to make room on the 25-man active roster until then.

Cedeno, 28, has pitched in the majors over parts of the last five seasons with the Astros and Nationals. The Dodgers acquired him a few days ago and were trying to run him through waivers.

With Jeff Believau out for the season following shoulder surgery, C.J. Riefenhauser on the DL with shoulder inflammation  and Jake McGee still working his way back from elbow surgery, the Rays have been without a late-inning lefty reliever. They on Saturday did call up Everett Teaford, who is more of a long reliever and fill-in starter.

McGee is supposed to start a rehab assignment this week with hopes of rejoining the Rays sometime next week. …

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Chris Archer, Evan Longoria star as Rays sweep Toronto Blue Jays

ST. PETERSBURG – The Rays looked every bit like the first-place team they are Sunday, using a powerful offense and another dominant start by Chris Archer to earn a 5-1 win over the Blue Jays at Tropicana Field.

The fifth straight win ensures that the Rays will have at least a share of first in the division for the first time since last April.

The success started early, with Archer getting two of his seven strikeouts in the first inning. Leftfielder Brandon Guyer led off the bottom of the first by taking a 1-1 pitch over the leftfield wall, just beyond the reach of Toronto centerfielder Kevin Pillar. It was the Rays’ first leadoff home run since June 28 of last year.

The Rays expanded the lead to 2-0 moments later, in front of an announced crowd of 21,107. Logan Forsythe blooped off second baseman Devon Travis’ glove in shallow rightfield, scoring Evan Longoria.

The Rays got some breaks along the way, racking up 13 hits off of Blue Jays starter Mark Buehrle. Kevin Kiermaier used an awkward hop (and a bobble by Toronto shortstop Ryan Goins) for an infield single in the fourth. Rene Rivera followed that with a bloop single over first baseman Justin Smoak, setting up Guyer’s sac fly.  …

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For starters, Rays vs. Blue Jays

UPDATE, 11:13: OF Desmond Jennings is listed as day to day with left knee soreness. He left Saturday's game with the flare-up. Jennings wasn't' in the clubhouse before the game, but that's not uncommon for Sunday games like this. 

Lineups below

DEVELOPING: The Rays wrap up their nine-game homestand today against the Blue Jays. RHP Chris Archer (2-2, 1.07) hasn’t allowed an earned run since the sixth inning of opening day. Toronto is scheduled to start LHP Mark Buehrle.

OF Desmond Jennings is not in the lineup today, after leaving the game with soreness in his left knee - the same one that bothered him at the end of the 2014 season.

Today’s Rays lineup:

Brandon Guyer LF

Steven Souza Jr. RF

Asdrubal Cabrera DH

Evan Longoria 3B

Logan Forsythe 2B

James Loney 1B

Tim Beckham SS

Kevin Kiermaier CF

Rene Rivera C

Chris Archer RHP

Blue Jays

Devon Travis 2B

Russell Martin C

Josh Donaldson 3B

Edwin Encrnacion DH

Justin Smoak 1B

Michael Saunders RF

Dalton Pompey LF

Kevin Pillar CF

Ryan Goins SS

Mark Buehrle LHP

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For starters, Rays vs. Jays, with Teaford up, Dykstra DFA'd

Erasmo Ramirez, who struggled mightily in his first two outings, including a start in Toronto, pitched a clean inning on Sunday.

Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP

Erasmo Ramirez, who struggled mightily in his first two outings, including a start in Toronto, pitched a clean inning on Sunday.

UPDATE, 3:43: And the Rays did indeed call up LHP Everett Teaford, to provide coverage today in the event Ramirez doesn't last long, and designated for assignment Dykstra.

Teaford, who pitched parts of three seasons with Royals, spent last year in Korea and said he didn't know if he would ever get back to the majors. Scheduled to start tonight for Triple-A Durham, he said he is ready and willing to do whatever the Rays need in terms of pitching multiple innings or to face a tough lefty.

Dykstra filled in when James Loney was on the DL, but the Rays needed the spot on the 40-man roster. Manager Kevin Cash said if he isn't claimed on waivers the Rays would welcome him back. They do, however, have J.P. Arencibia at Durham now.

Among other pre-game notes:

* Loney said he felt fine after returning from the DL on Friday, that today was a scheduled day off vs. a lefty starter and to help ease him back in since he played only one rehab game.

* LHP Jeff Beliveau was in the clubhouse two days after shoulder surgery, saying it went well and he was told it will be 10-12 months for him to be fully healthy and back pitching in the big leagues. …

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For starters, Rays vs. Jays, with Smyly and Loney back

UPDATE, 4:58: Rays RHP Alex Cobb said he felt "great" in his first session off the mound since leaving the March 17 spring game with what was diagnosed as elbow tendinitis. .... LHP Jake McGee played catch with no issues from the stiff back that delayed his rehab assignment, and said he will throw a bullpen session Saturday with a plan if that goes well to pitch in a game early next week for the Stone Crabs then likely go to Triple-A Durham, aiming now for a return in the second week of May. .... The Rays took their team photo before the game. ... Cash said a Saturday starter won't be named until after Friday's game, depending on how the relievers are used. It could be RHP Matt Andriese, RHP Erasmo Ramirez or RHP Steve Geltz. ... RHP Alex Colome is expected to make another rehab start on Sunday, though that could change depending on how Friday's game goes.

Jays lineup, without Bautista and Martin and Navarro:
Reyes ss
Travis 2b
Donaldson dh
Encarnacion 1b
Valencia 3b
Pillar rf
Tolleson lf
Pompey cf
Thole c
Dickey p …

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Rays shuffle roster, and other Thursday leftovers

The Rays made two post-game roster moves, optioning 1B Allan Dykstra and OF Mikie Mahtook, who had been called up earlier in the day, to Triple-A Durham in advance of activating 1B James Loney and LHP Drew Smyly from the disabled list on Friday.

Also notable in their 2-1 walkoff win over the Red Sox, which got them back to .500 at 8-8: …

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At Trop, Tampa Mayor also waiting for chance to talk stadium

Before and after throwing out a ceremonial first pitch, with gusto, on Thursday, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn chatted with team president Brian Auld and other Rays officials.

That level of banter is about all they can do for now, at least until St. Petersburg and the Rays work out a deal for them to discuss stadium sites on the other side of the bridges. Those talks are on hold, likely until after the season, after the St. Pete City Council rejected the last proposal.

"We still are willing to talk when they get the opportunity,'' Buckhorn said. "We just want the Rays to be able to stay in this area. Until the city of St. Petersburg and the Rays come to an agreement, we truly are in the dugout. But when that day comes, I think the entire community will say, "Okay, let the Rays look, let them make the appropriate decision." The decision may be Pinellas County, it may be Hillsborough. But they've got to have the ability to look.''

And though Jeff Vinik's master development plan doesn't include a stadium, Buckhorn said he was confident there are good options in downtown Tampa.

"Oh yea, absolutely,'' he said. "Maybe not the central business district, but in the urban core I think there are sites that will work.'' …

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For starters, Rays at Red Sox, seeking series win

Jake Odorizzi will be on the mound for the Rays, opposed by Clay Buchholz.


Jake Odorizzi will be on the mound for the Rays, opposed by Clay Buchholz.

UPDATE, 5:18: Riefenhauser said he had been sore for a few days and when it didn't get better the Rays opted for caution in putting him on the DL. He expects with rest and treatment to be ready when eligible on May 4. ... Cash said it will be tough to not have a lefty in the bullpen but that several of their right-handed relievers are effective against lefty batters. ... LHP Drew Smyly said he will be "anxious" for Friday's start but otherwise treat it as a normal games in terms of strategy and pitch usage. .. Cash acknowledged they have been aggressive by design in their replay challenges and he was undeterred by their 0-for-9 mark thus far.

UPDATE, 3:22: Rays lineup looks like this:

DeJesus dh,
Souza rf,
Cabrera ss,
Longoria 3b,
Jennings lf,
Dykstra 1b,
Forsythe 2b,
Kiermaier cf,
Rivera c,
Odorizzi p

And the Red Sox lineup:

Betts CF,
Pedroia 2B,
Ortiz DH,
Sandoval 3B,
Napoli 1B,
Nava RF,
Craig LF,
Bogaerts SS,
Leon C,
Buchholz P

DEVELOPING: Coming off last night's come-from-behind win, the Rays are back at it tonight against the Red Sox looking to win the series.

RHP Jake Odorizzi will be on the mound for the Rays, opposed by RHP Clay Buchholz.


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A few leftovers from Rays 7-5 win over Red Sox

A few leftovers from the Rays 7-5 come-from-behind win over the Red Sox on Wednesday:

* In rallying from the 5-1 deficit, the Rays logged their largest comeback win since May 24, 2014 vs Boston when they fell behind 5-0 in the first and won 6-5 in 15 innings. It their first comeback win of the 2015 season.

* Steven Souza Jr.'s solo homer in the 1st was the Rays 8th HR hit by a rookie, tying the franchise record for April. Souza also set an individual record, surpassing Evan Longoria. Souza leads the Rays with 4 homers and 11 RBIs, hitting .364/.400/.818 with 4 HR and 9 RBI in his last 8 games. He is tied with Toronto's Devon Travis for most homers among major league rookies. Souza left in the sixth inning due to a right forearm cramp but said he felt fine after the game and expected to play Thursday.

* The seven runs were the Rays most in a home game since Aug 30, 2014 vs. BOS. It was just their second home win of the season.
* Manager Kevin Cash initiated a double-replay challenge during a play in the eighth. Officially, Cash challenged an out call at 1B in the 8th, which was confirmed following a 2:09 delay, and the umpires agreed to review the call at third base. So technically, Cash dropped to 0-for-9 in challenges, plus he has not won two umpire-initiated challenges.

* The first 6 batters reached in the sixth inning (5 singles, 1 walk) as the Rays scored 4 runs, matching their 2nd-highest scoring inning of the season, behind the 7-run 7th on April 10 in Miami. It was also the third time they batted around this season.

* Evan Longoria snapped an 0-for-12 with a 1B in the sixth on a 3-0 count. It was his 1st hit on a 3-0 count since Sep 25, 2012 at BOS.

* Desmond Jennings' single to load the bases snapped the team 0-for-17 stretch with RISP.

* INF Logan Forsythe drew his 3rd bases-loaded walk of the season, most in the majors, and the MLB high 7th for the Rays. The next closest team are the Red Sox, with three. Forsythe never had one out in 84 career walks from 2011-14.

* Pinch-hitter Brandon Guyer had a game-tying, 2-run single on an 0-2 pitch. It was the second time this year a Rays pinch-hitter delivered 2 RBI on an 0-2 pitch (Tim Beckham HR, April 16 at TOR). Before this year, it had happened only once in Rays history: Al Martin (3-run homer) on July 20, 2003 vs. TEX.

* INF/OF Jake Elmore became the 11th player in Rays history to hit a home run in his first at-bat with the team. The last was Ryan Roberts on July 25, 2012, at BAL. Others include manager Kevin Cash in 2005.

* RHP Steve Geltz in eight appearances has made his first pro start, recorded his first win and on Wednesday got his first save. He is the fourth Ray to record a save this season (Boxberger, Jepsen, Frieri), tied with the Rockies for most in the majors.

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For starters, Rays vs. Red Sox with Jeff Beliveau out for year, Jake Elmore up

Nathan Karns will be on the mound for the Rays, taking on Red Sox righty Joe Kelly.


Nathan Karns will be on the mound for the Rays, taking on Red Sox righty Joe Kelly.

UPDATE, 5:29: The Rays made official the news we reported this morning, that LHP Drew Smyly will be activated from the DL and will start Friday. The Rays will have to make a roster move then, possibly sending down a reliever.

CF Kevin Kiermaier is back in the lineup after being sick most of the weekend.

Though the 3-4-5 hitters - Asdrubal Cabrera, Evan Longoria, and Desmond Jennings - are all struggling, hitting under .200, manager Kevin Cash said they are not contemplating changes and remain confident they will soon rebound.

Red Sox lineup:

Betts cf
Pedroia 2b
Ortiz dh
Ramirez lf
Napoli 1b
Sandoval 3b
Victorino rf
Bogaerts ss
Hanigan c
Kelly p

UPDATE, 5:23: The news about Beliveau was indeed bad, as he will have surgery on Thursday to repair a torn labrum and is out for the season. INF Ryan Brett went on the 15-day DL as expected, and the Rays called up INF Jake Elmore, who was added to the 40-man roster as Beliveau was shifted from the 15- to the 60-day DL.

Meanwhile, here is the Rays lineup:
DeJesus DH
Souza rf
Cabrera ss
Longoria 3b
Jennings lf
Dykstra 1b
Forsythe 2b
Kiermaier cf
Rivera c
Karns p …

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You know things are breaking bad ...

Actor Bryan Cranston at the Trop last night, cheering for the other guys.


Actor Bryan Cranston at the Trop last night, cheering for the other guys.

With 10-plus players hurt, a roster nearly half-stocked with rookies and a hefty percentage of the fans coming to the Trop cheering for the other team, the Rays have had a tough go of it so far.

It can't help when a top-name actor, in town to film a movie, plops down behind the visitors dugout and dons a cap of the opposing team, as Bryan Cranston did last night.

Times photographer James Borchuck spotted him last night to snap this image, as Cranston - an Emmy and Tony award winner prominent recently for his role in the hit TV series Breaking Bad - is set for about two weeks of filming locally for his 2016 film, The Infiltrator.

The film, which recently shot in London, is based on the memoirs of Tampa resident Robert Mazur, a former DEA agent who worked undercover to bring down drug kingpin Pablo Escobar's money laundering system.


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Brett adds to Rays "head scratching" injury woes

Injuries continue to bug the Rays.

Rookie 2B Ryan Brett was the latest to go down Tuesday, forced from the game due to a subluxation of his left shoulder, and likely to become the major-league most 11th Rays player placed on the disabled list.

As much as it's considered part of baseball, Rays manager Kevin Cash acknowledged the string of injuries is getting to be ridiculous.

"They get frustrating for all of us,'' Cash said. "You'd like to get to the point where the guys that you maybe planned for are all out there. We
understand that that doesn't always happen. There is some head-scratching going on, like, ‘is this really happening again?' ''

If Brett ends up on the DL as expected, he would seem likely to be replaced by either oF Mikie Mahtook - whose place Brett took on Friday - or INF Hak-Ju Lee, who would be making his debut. Or the Rays could opt for a more offensive-oriented player and bring up third catcher Curt Casali. Or even to fortfy their bullpen by bringing back RHP Kirby Yates or add RHP Ronald Belisario. …

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For starters, Rays vs. Red Sox, on Archer day

Chris Archer, who has pitched very well this season and pretty good against all teams but the Red Sox, will be on the mound for the Rays.

Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP

Chris Archer, who has pitched very well this season and pretty good against all teams but the Red Sox, will be on the mound for the Rays.

UPDATE, 5:33: The Rays announced that RHP Matt Andriese won Al Lopez Award as top rookie in spring training.

UPDATE, 5:31: 1B James Loney (oblique) went through a full batting practice and based on how he feels expects to start a one- or two-game rehab assignment and rejoin the Rays sometime during the weekend series vs. Toronto. ... Cash said the lineup was a product of wanting to use righty batters, but also giving struggling SS Asdrubal Cabrera a day off and not taxing OF Kevin Kiermaier, who was sick over the weekend but said he is feeling much better now. Kiermaier is likely to be used for defense tonight, as is Cabrera. ....LHP Jeff Beliveau says initial exam showed impingement, waiting to see Dr. Eaton for further reading of MRI. Admits it's an uneasy feeling. …

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