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For starters, Rays at Orioles, trying to salvage something

Drew Smyly will be on the mound for the Rays tonight, coming off his first professional complete game.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Drew Smyly will be on the mound for the Rays tonight, coming off his first professional complete game.

UPDATE, 6:01: OF Kevin Kiermaier is back in the Rays lineup after missing two games with a stiff neck and Evan Longoria is back at 3B after giving his sore right forearm a rest with two days at DH.

Otherwise, it was a quiet pre-game for the Rays, with no on-field activities aside from some pitchers playing catch.

Maddon said Longoria is not 100 percent but said he was good enough to play the field and they don't have any special handling planned.

Here is the Rays lineup:
Jennings cf
Zobrist 2b
Joyce lf
Longoria 3b
Loney 1b
Myers dh
Escobar ss
Hanigan c
Kiermaier rf
Smyly p

 

DEVELOPING: The Rays came into this four-game series with the Orioles with aspirations of sweeping their way back into the AL East race. Now after losing the first two games, and looking bad in doing so, they are hoping just to break even and not lose any more ground in the chase for the second AL wild-card.

LHP Drew Smyly will be on the mound for the Rays tonight, coming off his first professional complete game, a 105-pitch two-hit masterpiece in which he faced only 28 batters. The Orioles are starting RHP Kevin Gausman, an impressive 23-year-old rookie who faced the Rays twice earlier this season. …

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Longoria has soreness in right forearm, says no DL stint necessary

There's a reason Evan Longoria is DH-ing for a second straight day for the Rays - he has soreness in his right forearm.

Longoria said he has been bothered by the soreness for about five days, though it is only an issues when he throws - adding later that it "just hurt" when he threw but wasn't limiting - but not when he is hitting.

Longoria said he will not have to go on the DL or even have an MRI and expects to be back at third base on Wednesday, confident playing through the soreness won't lead to a further injury.

"My forearm's been a little sore,'' he said. "I don't think it's any cause for concern. It was something I was playing through for maybe five days before that. I'm just trying to give it a rest, let it calm down. It doesn't batter me to hit, so that's a good thing. I should be back in there tomorrow.''

Longoria said there was no one moment or throw that led to the issue, nor was there a pop or any kind of reaction.

"I didn't really feel it on any specific play or anything, it just kind of crept up on me, and was pretty sore throwing the ball,'' he said. "It's something I won't go on the DL for, I won't miss any time for, and tomorrow I hope to be back on the field.''

 

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For starters, Rays at Orioles, after a thumping

The Rays today activated catcher Ryan Hanigan from the DL, sending Curt Casali to the minors temporarily.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

The Rays today activated catcher Ryan Hanigan from the DL, sending Curt Casali to the minors temporarily.

UPDATE, 4:51: Orioles lineup, similar after the 5-homer showing last night:
Markakis rf
Pearce 1b
Jones cf
Cruz dh
Young lf
Hardy ss
Davis 3b
Joseph c
Schoop 2b
Chen p

UPDATE, 4:14: Hanigan is back in the Rays lineup, and Longoria is the DH for a second straight day as the result of soreness in his right forearm.

Rays lineup:

Jennings cf,
Zobrist LF,
Forsythe 2b,
Longoria DH,
Myers rf,
Escobar SS,
Loney 1b,
Hanigan c,
S-Rod 3b,
Cobb p

DEVELOPING: After a 9-1 loss that knocked them 11 games back in the AL East race, the Rays are back on the field tonight to take on the Orioles in the second of what was supposed to be a key four-game series.

RHP Alex Cobb, who is 7-0, 1.99 in his last 10 starts, will be on the mound for the Rays against Orioles LHP Wei-Yin Chen.

The Rays earlier today activated C Ryan Hanigan from the DL, sending Curt Casali to the minors temporarily - he is expected back Monday when rosters can be expanded beyond 25.

Also, MLB denied the Rays protest of Saturday's game.

Lineups when available.

 

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Hanigan activated, Casali demoted (untii Monday)

C Ryan Hanigan was activated from the disabled list and Curt Casali was optioned, temporarily, to Class A Charlotte.

Hanigan has been out since July 8 due to an oblique strain. He played in three rehab games for Charlotte.

Casali was optioned to the Stone Crabs to expedite his return on Monday; the usual 10-day rule for a demotion to the minors is trumped by the end of a minor-league season; Charlotte is done on Sunday.

 

 

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MLB denies Rays protest

Joe Maddon maintained replay was used inappropriately,  so the game - which the Rays lost 5-4 in 10 innings - should be replayed from the point of  controversy on, which was the fourth inning.

AP photo

Joe Maddon maintained replay was used inappropriately, so the game - which the Rays lost 5-4 in 10 innings - should be replayed from the point of controversy on, which was the fourth inning.

UPDATE, 6:19: Maddon had a little more to say in his pre-game briefly, primarily that he respects and accepts the ruling by MLB VP Joe Torre but doesn't agree or understand the reasoning, which including MLB saying replay issues and umpires judgement calls aren't subject to protest.

"I could sit here all day long and tell you how much I disagree with it but also tell you at the end of the day as much respect as I have for Joe Torre, so for me it's over and done with,'' Maddon said. "From my perspective I would hope the discussion continues.'

UPDATE, 4:13: Rays Maddon had this reaction: It's over. We've gone throuhg the process. They've ruled upon it. Now it's time for us to move on."

DEVELOPING: The Rays protest of Saturday's game was denied by Major League Baseball.

The Rays maintained replay was used inappropriately so the game - which the Rays lost 5-4 in 10 innings - should be replayed from the point of  controversy on, which was the fourth inning.

MLB did not provide a reason for the denial, but rules indicate replay procedural issues, as well as judgement calls by umpires, are not grounds for protest, and it would appear both issues were involved in the decision. …

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Maddon says Escobar won't be traded

Rays manager Joe Maddon said SS Yunel Escobar will not be traded via a recent waiver claim.

Maddon said he could tell Escobar was bothered by the speculation after Sunday reports that he was claimed by the A's and wanted to calm his concerns so he could play with a clear mind.

"I told him that Andrew (Friedman, the team executive VP) and I spoke about it and I was able to tell him that we're very, very pleased with what he's doing, we can see him continuing to get better with us, to not be worried about anything happening over the next day,'' Maddon said. "That's what I got from Andrew.''

 

 

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For starters, Rays at Orioles, taking aim at the top team

Jake Odorizzi will be on the mound for the Rays tonight.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Jake Odorizzi will be on the mound for the Rays tonight.

UPDATE, 5:10: Orioles lineup:
Markakis rf
Pearce 1b
Jones cf
Cruz dh
Young lf
Hardy ss
Davis 3b
Hundley c
Schoop 2b
Tillman p

UPDATE, 4:57: SS Yunel Escobar met this afternoon with Rays manager Joe Maddon to seek clarity on Sunday's news that he was claimed on waivers by the A's. Sounds like he was told how the system works - that claims are common this time of year and not to worry about it - and obviously he is in the lineup tonight. As reported yesterday, a deal is considered unlikely by the Tuesday 1 p.m. deadline.

UPDATE, 4:54: As for the importance of the series with the Orioles on the Rays playoff chances, Zobrist said it's obvious: "These are must-win games.''

UPDATE, 4:52: Myers said he was ready to return to the field, and insisted he feels better than he has looked at the plate, though admitted he may have come back from his rehab too soon. He is 3-for-18 in the five games with 10 strikeouts, nine looking. ... Kiermaier said his neck got stiff as a result of his slide into 2B on Sunday when he collided with Jose Reyes. …

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Escobar claimed on waivers by A's

SS Yunel Escobar was claimed on waivers by the A's and the team have until 1 p.m. Tuesday to work out a trade,

It is common for teams to put many players on revocable waivers this time of year, but it is rare for there to be a match between the claiming and posting teams. The Rays may have other players who have been claimed as well.

The Rays, though, could find it appealing to deal Escobar, who hasn't played as well this season, and is signed through 2016 (at $5-million and $7-million), with a 2017 option for $7-million, with a $1-million buyout.

Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal was the first to report the claim.

The A's also made a deal Sunday to add a fourth catcher, acquiring Geovany Soto from Texas. Former Ray Stephen Vogt is limited by a foot problem, leaving the A's with Derek Norris and ex-Ray John Jaso.

 

 

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After talk with Torre, Maddon has "adequate amount" of hope on protest

Rays manager Joe Maddon talked for five minutes this morning with MLB senior VP Joe Torre about Saturday's protest and came away knowing with "an adequate amount of hope" they will prevail.

"Typically, he listened well, and he just wants to get it right,'' Maddon said. "So it's not a dead issue yet. It's got to go through the process. He's willing to listen, so we'll present our case and see what happens.''

The first accomplishment Sunday was that Torre indicated to Maddon it was a valid protest, as there was some question if it would be allowed since there are not to be any involving replay.

But Maddon's point was that this issue involved umpiring crew chief Bob Davidson deciding to allow the use of replay too late, rather than the replay itself.

Maddon said Torre seemed "willing to listen" to the Rays case, which is that by the rules once Jays pitcher Mark Buehrle was on the mound and Rays hitter Yunel Escobar was in the box the mechanism to do a replay on the previous play was "locked.'' …

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For starters, Rays at Jays, with protest looming

As the Rays are still waiting to find out if they lost Saturday's game - having filed a protest about use of replay in the fourth inning - they are back on the field this afternoon to take on the Blue Jays again.

RHP Chris Archer will start for the Rays against Lakeland native Drew Hutchison.

Here is the Rays lineup:
Jennings cf,
Zobrist 2b,
Joyce lf,
Longoria 3b,
Loney 1b,
Myers dh,
Escobar ss,
Casali c,
Kiermaier rf,
Archer p

And here is the Jays lineup:
Reyes ss
Cabrera lf
Bautista rf
Lind 1b
Encarnacion dh
Navarro c
Rasmus cf
Francisco 3b
Kawasaki 2b
Hutchison p

 

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Rays place game under protest

UPDATE, 6:12:Davidson said he felt it was the right call.

Here are his comments to pool reporter Shi Davidi of Sportsnet:

The play? "I was at third base and I've got everything in front of me. I see Buehrle, he's on the rubber, and as I'm seeing Escobar getting ready from my judgment to get into the box, now I see Gibbons giving the thumbs up that he's coming out. So I thought, in my judgment, that it was in time to file a challenge on the play.

Escobar was where? "He was just about getting in but I'm looking at Gibbons and he's coming out and he's not a speed merchant, and I thought, it's on time. We want to get the play correct, that's what we're out here for, so that was my thinking on that.

Protest? "If I felt it was too late, then it would have been too late, and if Gibbons wanted to file a protest on that he probably could have, I don't know. Again, I thought it was extremely close but I saw Gibbons coming out of the dugout and Escobar might have just gotten into the box, but I thought by the time Gibbons was starting to come out, I thought by that rule it was still on time, barely, to file a challenge. …

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For starters, Rays at Jays, looking to keep rolling

UPDATE, 12:07: Maddon said Molina is ready to go, though joked he may be less likely to steal bases given the soreness in his left knee. ... Myers said he is ready and able to play the outfield, but didn't get much action there when he did in Durham, particularly in leftfield. Maddon could have put him in right today but said he didn't want to do that at the expense of a better fielder since Hellickson is a fly ball pitcher. He did say Myers will be out there within the next week. ... Smyly said among the people sending him congratulatory texts were ex-Tigers mates Justin Verlander and Rick Porcello. ... Maddon joked about the obvious contract between Buehrle, who is one of the fastest working pitchers, and Hellickson, one of the slowest.

Jays lineup:
Reyes ss
Cabrera lf
Bautista rf
Lind 1b
Encarnacion dh
Navarro c
Rasmus cf
Valencia 3b
Kawasaki 2b
Buehrle p

UPDATE, 10:13: Molina is indeed back in the lineup as Maddon is going all right-handed:

Jennings cf,
Zobrist rf,
Guyer lf,
Longoria 3b,
Forsythe 2b,
Myers dh,
Escobar ss,
Molina c,
S-Rod 1b,
Hellickson p …

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For starters, Rays at Jays, back on the road

Drew Smyly is starting for the Rays against Jays rookie RHP Marcus Stroman.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Drew Smyly is starting for the Rays against Jays rookie RHP Marcus Stroman.

UPDATE, 6:01: Molina has a sore left knee, but is available if needed tonight and is expected to play tomorrow, Maddon said.

UPDATE, 4:22: Curt Casali is behind the plate for a fourth straight game, with Maddon saying veteran Jose Molina has been "banged up.'' Wil Myers is the DH again.

Jennings cf,
Zobrist 2b,
Joyce LF,
Longoria 3b,
Loney 1b,
Myers DH,
Escobar SS,
Casali c,
Kiermaier rf,
Smyly p

And here is the Jays lineup:
Reyes-SS
Cabrera-LF
Bautista-RF
Encarnacion-1B
Valencia-3B
Navarro-C
Rasmus-CF
Reimold-DH
Tolleson-2B
Stroman-P

DEVELOPING: The Rays are back on the road, which has been primarily a good thing, as they open a weekend series tonight with the Blue Jays.

The Jays are ahead of the Rays as both are trying to make up ground in the race for a playoff spot.

LHP Drew Smyly is starting for the Rays against Jays rookie RHP Marcus Stroman.

The Rays are the only team in team in the majors with a winning record on the road, 33-29, but a losing record overall, 62-65.

Lineups when available.

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Kevin Kiermaier on why he keeps diving in the outfield

I’ll have more on this in tomorrow’s paper, but a few quick words on RF Kevin Kiermaier’s diving catch in the eighth inning of today’s 1-0 Rays win over the Tigers.

Kiermaier had misplayed a ball each of the last two nights, including the diving catch he failed to make Tuesday in an extra-innings loss to Detroit. Kiermaier blamed himself for the defeat after the game – instead of an out (or a single), the result was a triple, and Kiermaier still can’t explain how it happened.

Kiermaier has talked several times this year about knowing when to gamble on a play and when to play conservatively.

“I want my instincts to take over,” Kiermaier said. “I’ve just got to trust them and make the right decision at the right time. It’s just part of me maturing out there at the big-league level and knowing there’s a time and place for everything.”

Thursday’s dive was right for a few reasons. Although he initially was iffy on whether he could get it, Kiermaier later decided he could get there in time to make the play. If not, CF Desmond Jennings was running nearby and could keep the hit from becoming another triple. …

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For starters, Rays vs. David Price (and the Tigers)

UPDATE, 11:58: Tigers manager Brad Ausmus says he has been impressed with Price during his three weeks on the team, most notably how much he wants to stay in and finish games.

Ausmus said he understands the emotional ties Price will be dealing with today and expects him to have some butterflies but also is counting on him to "handle it fine.''

UPDATE, 11:48: Manager Joe Maddon expects things to be a little awkward today when former Rays ace David Price starts for Detroit at Tropicana Field.

"He's going to be amped up," Maddon said. "I think (Rays starter Alex Cobb)'s going to be doing the same thing in return. It might even out, kind of."

The Rays loaded their lineup with right-handed hitters against the lefty Price. Maddon also said he started Curt Casali at catcher - and not Jose Molina, who caught  Price's starts with the Rays - because Molina's a little banged up.

"If we can catch a mistake and hit it in the seats, that'd be very beneficial for us," Maddon said.

 

Lineups:

Tigers

Kinsler 2B

Hunter RF

Cabrera DH

V. Martinez 1B

J.D. Martinez LF

Castellanos 3B

Avila C

Suarez SS

Davis CF

Price LHP

Rays

Jennings CF

Zobrist RF

Guyer LF

Longoria 3B

Myers DH

Rodriguez 1B

Escobar SS

Casali C

Forsythe 2B

Cobb RHP …

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