What started out as a bad afternoon didn't end any better for the Rays despite some momentary glimpses of hope as they lost to the Twins 9-7 before heading out for a 10-game, three-city road trip.
Erik Bedard put the Rays is a large hole early, allowing three runs in an ugly 41 -pitch first inning and another in a sloppy second. He then settled in for a couple innings as the Rays closed to 4-3 on a David DeJesus homer.
But Reliever Heath Bell, the first man out of the Rays beleaguered bullpen, and he had a rough day as well, allowing five runs while unable to finish his second inning.
Down 9-3, the Rays closed the gap again, getting to 9-6 after a two-run rally in the seventh sparked by catcher Jose Molina's hustle in tagging up twice, then to 9-7 with the bases loaded in the eighth, but Desmond Jennings swung at and popped up the first pitch and they got no closer.
Jennings made a spectacular running catch just in front of the centerfield wall in the ninth.
Manager Joe Maddon said Wednesday that Bedard was not pitching to keep his spot in the rotation, but they may revisit that thought after his Thursday performance. …Full Story
The Rays will need Erik Bedard to go deep into the game, having used six of their seven relievers on Wednesday.
UPDATE, 11:51: Former Rays OF Sam Fuld, who had two hits last night, is back in the Twins lineup today, playing leftfield.
UPDATE, 11:45: The Rays decided to not make any moves to bolster their bullpen, so they will roll with Bedard and the tired relief corps.
Here is the Rays lineup:
DEVELOPING: The Rays and Twins are set to wrap up their three-game series today, with a 1:10 matinee that will start barely 13 hours after Wednesday's 12-game game ended.
The Rays will have LHP Erik Bedard on the mound, and need him to go deep into the game, having used six of their seven relievers on Wednesday. And the one they didn't use, Juan Carlos Oviedo, is probably limited to one inning since he is fresh off the DL.
The Twins are starting RHP Ricky Nolasco.
Manager Joe Maddon was disappointed in Wednesday's 6-4 loss, noting it was a game the Rays played enough to win, and should have won.
Lineups when available.Full Story
Whatever benefit the Rays bullpen got from Monday's day off and Tuesday's complete game by David Price was gone by the end of a long Wednesday as the relievers had to cover 8 2/3 innings.
And they have to be back at the field early Thursday morning for a 1:10 start.
Asked to describe the state of the bullpen, manager Joe Maddon said, simply, "tired.'
He hadn't heard yet from executive VP Andrew Friedman to know if there would be a roster move, which likely would come at the expense of Brandon Gomes, the only reliever with options, unless they were willing to part ways with Josh Lueke.
While some of the relievers - such as Heath Bell, Jake McGee and Joel Peralta - will be able to bounce back, Maddon admitted "it's a little bit shaky" because Gomes threw 32 pitches over his 1 2/3 innings, Balfour 31 over two and Lueke 40.
Juan Carlos Oviedo, fresh off the DL, warmed up twice but wasn't used Wednesday, though Maddon said he was available and could have pitched a 13th inning, with position players after that.
Another key for Thursday, Maddon said, will be getting a long outing from starter Erik Bedard, though he didn't get out of the fourth in his first start. …Full Story
WILL VRAGOVIC | Times
Outfielder Sam Fuld, a fan favorite during three seasons with the Rays, is batting ninth and playing centerfield in what will be his Twins debut.
UPDATE, 5:25: Rays manager Joe Maddon said the reason he doesn't have OF David DeJesus in the lineup tonight against Twins RHP Mike Pelfrey is because he had such a big game on Tuesday, the thinking being that Pelfrey is tougher on lefty batters and Maddon doesn't want to retard the progress DeJesus made.
And the reason he has Ben Zobrist in LF and Logan Forsythe at 2B is that he considers starter RHP Jake Odorizzi more of a fly ball pitcher and that Zobrist is the better defender.
Maddon also said that one solution to Tuesday's instant replay fiasco on Yunel Escobar's at-bat would be to adjust the stats line so that Escobar is given a walk - which he should have had, as the replay umpires acknowledged after the game - and have the strikeout taken away.
Maddon said there is always the expectation that Fuld will do something special.
Also, Maddon said LH Erik Bedard is not pitching for his job when he takes the mound Thursday.
Two stat notes:Full Story
The Rays go into play today tied for last in the majors with 5 steals, matching the Mariners and Nats. …
David Price talks about throwing a complete game, striking out 12, in the Rays' 7-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins.Full Story
Former Rays outfielder Sam Fuld said it was definitely "strange" returning to Tropicana Field Tuesday for the first time as a visitor.
Fuld, claimed off waivers by the Twins Sunday, said he had to fight himself from turning left early into the home clubhouse. Fuld, a Ray from 2011-2013, joined Minnesota after a long week of being in limbo after being designated for assignment by Oakland, saying he laughed when he found out his first game would be against Tampa Bay.
"It feels feels strange and great," Fuld said. "It' kind of a crazy day, because it happens to be first day I'm with the Twins, so I'm meeting whole new set of teammates and at same time, seeing lot of old familiar faces too. It's really weird, first time back in any other former team's ballpark. it's strange. But I'm enjoying it."
Fuld said he was disappointed to get non-tendered by the Rays in the offseason, but strongly considered coming back before deciding to join Oakland.
"I have nothing but great memories here and really value the relationships I've made over there on that side over those three years," Fuld said.
KENT NISHIMURA | Times
Rays ace lefty David Price will be on the mound tonight opposite Twins Kyle Gibson.
Update 5:15 p.m. The Rays say LHP Matt Moore's Tommy John surgery was successful, finished up late this afternoon by team medical director Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola. He should be back in Rays clubhouse in the next couple days, with a 12-15 month recovery period.
*RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo is excited to be back, having to wait not only through a Tommy John rehab but starting out the season on the DL due to a delayed visa in spring training. Oviedo says his arm feels "great," was throwing 91-92 mph in his rehab assignment, and hopes to get into his first big-league game since 2011 season.
Manager Joe Maddon said Oviedo will be a really "influential" part of the bullpen, but they're going to ease him into it, though noting he'll be able to pitch high leverage innings eventually.
*Ex-Rays OF Sam Fuld said it was "strange" and "crazy" to be facing the Rays, though it was ironic it'll be the first team he plays since getting claimed off waivers by the Twins Sunday. Fuld said he had to fight himself not to turn left early into the home clubhouse, admitting he had no idea where he was going. …Full Story
Rays third baseman Evan Longoria will take your questions during a live video chat today, from 12:30-1 p.m. Marc Topkin, inset, will serve as host.
Don't be left out when Evan Longoria answers readers' questions during a live video chat today at 12:30 p.m., exclusive to Times digital subscribers. Want to know how Longoria is coping as a new father? What it's like to be engaged to model Jaime Edmondson? How the Rays third baseman wound up interviewing the cast of Anchorman 2? Sign up for a Times digital subscription, and you'll be able to ask Longoria himself. The Rays' biggest stars take your questions in our monthly live video chat series, "Lunchtime Live with the Rays''.
Want a taste of what you missed last month? Click on the video link to view a sample of our chat with Rays manager Joe Maddon.Full Story
Our video report and photo gallery from the Rays 5-1, 12-inning Easter Sunday loss to the Yankees. Video by Will Vragovic.Full Story
Rookie LHP C.J. Riefenhauser was optioned back to Triple-A Durham after Sunday's game, as the Rays plan to activate RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo from the DL on Tuesday.
A long Easter Sunday for the Rays ended in a 5-1 12-inning loss to the Yankees.
The Yankees turned when Rays rookie reliever C.J. Riefenhauser, the 24-year-old New Yorker called up Saturday to make his major-league debut against the team he grew up cheering for, walked in the go-ahead run.
The loss resulted in a split of the series with the Yankees and dropped the Rays to 9-10 overall.
The Yankees rally started when Heath Bell walked Yangervis Solarte. Rays manager Joe Maddon then turned to Riefenhauser, who ot one out when Brett Gardner tapped back to the mound, but beat the relay to first, and another on a line out to short.
But with two outs, Brian McCann singled up the middle, Gardner racing to third - and considering trying to score before being held.
Maddon then made the decision to have Riefenhauser walk Ellsbury, loading the bases, to instead face the less threatening Dean Anna. That strategy looked good as Riefenhauser got ahead in the count 1-and-2, not so much when it became full, and not at all when home-plate ump Clint Fagan ruled Anna checked his swing, and third-base ump Marty Foster concurred, forcing in the go-ahead run. …Full Story
Former Rays OF Sam Fuld will be back at the Trop this week.
Fuld, though, will be in the visiting dugout, claimed on waivers Sunday by the Twins, who open a three-game series at the Trop on Tuesday.
Fuld signed a minor-league deal with the A's late in the off-season and opened the season with Oakland, but was designated for assignment last week.
He hit .200 in seven games for the A's, with a homer, four RBIs and several highlight-reel plays.
UPDATE, 11:40: Rays RHP Jeremy Hellickson said the setback in his recovery from arthroscopic elbow surgery was not significant, as he took a week off after feeling soreness when throwing curveballs in Kansas City.
Hellickson said he played catch today at a distance of 90 feet - though no curveballs - and felt good, and the setback shouldn't be much of a delay in his projected early June return.
RHP Alex Cobb said his recovery from an oblique strain is going well, but he still has a hard time grasping that he will be out for such an extended period, looking at a late May/early June return.
It was a busy day for the Yankees this morning, as they put RHP Ivan Nova on the DL with a UCL tear and activated 1B Mark Teixeira among several transactions.
Also, they recalled RHPs Preston Claiborne and Bryan Mitchell recalled, sent INF Scott Sizemore to Triple-A and designated RHP Matt Daley for assignment.
Meanwhile, here is the Yankees lineup, with Derek Jeter back in:
UPDATE, 11:38: Rays lineup has no Jennings again, though he says he is feeling better and Tuesday is realistic. …Full Story
UPDATE, 5:52: The Rays will tweak the rotation coming out of Monday's off-day, with LHP David Price moving ahead of RHP Jake Odorizzi and pitching Tuesday. That is designed to keep Price on his regular five-day schedule.
RHP Jeremy Hellickson had some light soreness during his rehab from arthroscopic right elbow surgery and is taking three days off, with a plan to play catch on Sunday. Hellickson had hoped to throw off the mound for the first time last Tuesday in Baltimore, so this would seem to push him back at least a week, and push his return to the rotation into June.
Maddon said he used Rodriguez in LF tonight because of his past success vs. Nova 5-for-14.
The Yankees lineup does not include Derek Jeter, who is getting a break after playing the first two nights on the turf.
UPDATE, 5:49: Jennings is dealing with groin soreness, manager Joe Maddon, and Tuesday is the soonest he could return to the lineup. So for tonight and Sunday, he likely will be limited to pinch-hitting - and then would be pinch-run for. …Full Story
UPDATE, 2:56: The Rays have announced that Riefenhauser has been called up.
DEVELOPING: The latest turn of the bullpen shuffle is expected to result in LHP C.J. Rienfenhauser joining the Rays tonight, the Times has learned.
Riefenhauser, 24, will be making his big-league debut. He was a 20th round pick in the 2010 draft, and has risen steadily through the organization. He pitched in the All-Star Futures Game last July in New York during a season split between Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham as he was converted exclusively to relief work.
Riefenhauser was added to the 40-man roster this winter and participated in spring training with the Rays. In five games at Durham, he worked 7 2/3 innings, allowing three hits and one run, walking four and striking out 11.
Without explaining why, he posted on his Twitter account last night: "Speechless."Full Story