So just how did Rays CF Kevin Kiermaier hurt his left eye? By stretching his legs before Monday's game. Kiermaier said he was using an elastic stretching band about 30 minutes before game time and went to switch feel when the mishap occurred. "I had a little too much slack on it when I was switching legs and the band kind of just squared me up right in the eye,'' Kiermaier said. "I don't know how.'' Kiermaier said he expects to be back in the lineup Tuesday, though the Rays want to see how he is first before committing. Kiermaier said he at first thought he was fine, but realized in tryinh to track Yoenis Cespedes first-inning fly ball he was having trouble with blurred vision, and made it worse by continuing to rub it. Though he had an RBI bloop double in the fourth he continued to have problems and said by his sixth inning at-bat, when he struck out, "I couldn't see at all.'' The Rays took him out at that point. "It's the most uncomfortable I've felt in the batters box all year,'' Kiermaier said. "I even told (Tigers C Alex) Avila, "I can't see right now.'' (I'm sure he was) like "Okay, cool, this kid can't see right now." I know I probably shouldn't have said that, but I said, you know what, this is a hang-with-'em type of at-bat.''
SS Asdrubal Cabrera was rained out of a planned rehab game in Port Charlotte Monday, but apparently showed the Rays enough in an afternoon workout that he was over his right hamstring strain, and he will be reinstated from the DL Tuesday.
To make room, INF Jake Elmore was optioned to Triple-A Durham. Foreshadowing that move, INF Tim Beckham did pregame work at first base, giving the Rays another right-handed hitting option with several lefty starters upcoming, a role Elmore had been filling.
Elmore took the news well.
"Another opportunity to play in the big leagues and help the team any way you can (like) moving around positions. And now I go back to Triple-A and hopefully get my swing back completely and hopefully be back and help the team win some more,'' he said.
"So it's hard for me to stay down. Obviously, the news hurts, but I feel confident that I'll be back. I'm just taking positives from every situation that happens.''
Nathan Karns will be on the mound for the Rays, coming off his home-run heroics in Philadelphia.
UPDATE, 5:21: LHPDrew Smyly said he was encouraged by his Sunday rehab outing for Durham, that he was clocked in the 90s and his arm felt great. He will make another start on Friday, location TBA, and said it's just a matter now of building up innings. ... OF Desmond Jennings (knee) is slated to start a rehab assignment this weekend with Durham. .... SS Asdrubal Cabrera (hamstring) was washed out off a planned rehab game with Charlotte tonight; the Rays are deciding what to do next as he is close to returning. ... RHP Jake Odorizzi said he had a talk with Cash about being pulled early from his last start and feels things will be "back to normal" now. ... Tigers LHP David Price is excited about pitching here on Tuesday, with his whole family coming in for the game, and said going through the trade process with the Rays last year has made it easier for hin to handle the situation this year.
UPDATE, 3:15: Struggling Steven Souza Jr. has been dropped to 6th in the order.
Jaso DH, DeJesus lf, Longoria 3b, Loney 1b, Forsythe 2b, Souza rf, Kiermaier cf, Beckham ss, Casali c, Karns p
UPDATE, 12:49: It really is a Florida State day at the Trop. Football coach Jimbo Fisher will throw out the ceremonial first pitch in a few minutes...to 2013 Heisman Trophy winner and Bucs rookie quarterback Jameis Winston.
In Rays news, SS Asdrubal Cabrera and OF Desmond Jennings continued to do work before the game. Cabrera said he expects to return to the Rays sometime during the upcoming series against the Tigers.
DEVELOPING: After Saturday night's loss in front of the largest home crowd since opening day, the Rays will try to take the series against Baltimore when they finish their three-game series today at 1:10.
LHP Matt Moore (1-1, 7.23) will start for the Rays. He's still looking to regain his All-Star form as he makes his fifth start since returning from Tommy John surgery. He has yet to last longer than five innings.
Baltimore will start LHP Wei-Yin Chen (4-6, 2.86). …
LHP Drew Smyly is getting closer to a return to the Rays' rotation.
He is leaving for Norfolk today to start his rehab assignment tomorrow for Triple-A Durham as he returns from a torn left labrum. Smyly, who hasn't pitched in a game since May 5, will be scheduled for about 45 pitches or three innings.
"Get him up and down a couple times - that's kind of the priority," manager Kevin Cash said.
Smyly will return to Tropicana Field after his rehab start, Cash said. The Rays aren't putting a timetable on when he might be ready to rejoin the rotation.
In other injury news, OF Desmond Jennings (left knee) and SS Asdrubal Cabrera (right hamstring strain) both did work on the field before the game for the second day in a row. The pair hit, completed defensive drills and ran the bases. Cash said both did well and that an update on their health could come tomorrow.
UPDATE, 3:56: RF Steven Souza Jr. will lead off for the second game in a row. … In fashion news, the lucky, game-winning shoes worn by Tim Beckham are still wet after his celebratory Gatorade shower after Friday’s victory. He’s breaking in a new pair of Nikes with neon yellow laces and chrome spikes.
DEVELOPING: After perhaps their biggest win of the year, the Rays are back at Tropicana Field for the second game of a three-game series against the Orioles.
The good news for the Rays: RHP Erasmo Ramirez (8-3, 3.54) will start. The Rays have won in 10 of Ramirez's past 12 starts. His best performance of the season came against these Orioles in May when he struck out seven in seven shutout innings. Baltimore will start RHP Miguel Gonzalez (8-6, 4.21).
The Rays are expected to announce the next step for injured LHP Drew Smyly (shoulder) today. If Smyly isn't ready to begin a rehab assignment, he will likely throw another simulated game.
Chris Archer (9-7, 2.73) will take the mound for the Rays as he tries to snap a four-start winless streak.
UPDATE, 4:53: SS Asdrubal Cabrera (hamstring) ran the bases at 80 percent today for the first time since his injury. He and the Rays weren't ready to announce a timetable for his return, but he used the word "soon" repeatedly. ... The Rays will likely announce tomorrow whether LHP Drew Smyly (shoulder) will be ready to start a rehab assignment or will throw another simulated game before making a rehab start.
INF Logan Forsythe isn't in the lineup; manager Kevin Cash said the Rays wanted to give him another day off. OF Steven Souza Jr. is leading off as the Rays alternate lefties and righties.
DEVELOPING: After a 2-4 road trip, the Rays have returned to Tropicana Field, where they host the Orioles tonight in the first game of a three-game series.
RHP Chris Archer (9-7, 2.73) will take the mound for the Rays as he tries to snap a four-start winless streak. RHP Chris Tillman (7-7, 4.96) will start for Baltimore. …
The Rays did so much wrong Wednesday, it only seemed right that they lost.
The end came on a walkoff single by Odubel Herrera off All-Star Brad Boxberger, sealing a 5-4 defeat.
The Phillies rally off Boxberger, working his second inning, started with a bloop single to left by Domonic Brown, a former Pasco High star. He went to second on a bunt, when it seemed Boxberger may have had a play there, and then after an infield out, scored on a single to left-center by Herrera, capping an 11-pitch at-bat. …
A summary from the Rays and Elias Sports of the historical notations from RHP Nathan Karns' homer in Tuesday's 1-0 win.
* the first pitcher (AL or NL) to do it in an interleague game.
* only the sixth pitcher in AL history to hit a home run for the only run of the game, and the first to do it in the DH era.
* the first major league rookie to do it in 136 years, since Harry McCormick did it for the Syracuse Stars against the Boston Red Caps on July 26, 1879. McCormick batted third in the Syracuse lineup that day and homered in the top of the first inning. Though the game was played in Syracuse, the home team batted first, as was frequently the case in those early days of professional baseball.
* the first AL or NL pitcher to do it since April 29, 2009, MIL Yovani Gallardo vs. PIT.
* the first pitcher to hit his first major league home run off a pitcher who gave up his first major league home run since May 3, 2002, when Pittsburgh's Kip Wells homered off San Diego's Ben Howard.
* the 16th AL pitcher to homer in an interleague game, first since Baltimore's Zach Britton on July 3, 2011 at Atlanta. …
UPDATE, 11:49: Cash said in addition to going all right-handed against Phillies LH starter Morgan, and getting Butler and Elmore starts, he saw it as a chance to get two days off for Kiermaier and Loney. ... Cash said Souza's timing didn't look that off, and he may have just been putting too much pressure on himself upon rejoining the lineup. ... Karns said staying on the mound for five innings as bad as he felt was the bigger accomplishment last night, but the homer was pretty cool, too. His phone died twice from all the texts he got after the home run, and he did greatly enjoy his trip around the bases: "Best 10 seconds of my life.'' He called his parents from the bus after the game, and said his mom said she had predicted a home run. He will give them the bat and keep the ball.
DEVELOPING: After Tuesday night's historic 1-0 win on pitcher Nathan Karns' homer, the Rays are back on the field early for a 1:05 matinee against the Phillies.
RHP Jake Odorizzi will be on the mound, and the Rays will have a very right-handed lineup against Phillies LHP Adam Morgan, a Tampa native who made his major-league debut last month. …
Steven Souza Jr., right, is off the DL and back in the lineup tonight, the Rays optioning OF Grady Sizemore to Triple-A after Monday's game.
UPDATE, 6:19: Cash said they were excited to have Souza back, that he covers a lot of ground in the OF, the he is aggressive on the bases and that he "brings energy" to the clubhouse. ... The Rays, as expected, took advantage of Thursday's off-day to tweak their rotation, moving RHP Chris Archer to Friday and putting RHP Erasmo Ramirez behind him. ... LHP Matt Moore will stay in the rotation as the Rays preach patience in his return following April 2014 Tommy John elbow surgery. ... OF Kevin Kiermaier was excited to be the Rays nominee again for the MLBPAA Heart & Hustle award.
DEVELOPING: After one of their worst performances of the season in a 5-3 loss on Monday, the Rays take on the worst-in-baseball Phillies again tonight.
RHP Nathan Karns will be on the mound, the Rays having pushed hin to the back of the rotation to provide extra rest as he is on target to surpass his career high in innings. RHP Aaron Nola, the Phillies 2014 top draft pick, is making his major-league debut. He will be the 29th pitcher to make his debut against the Rays; they are 12-16 thus far. …
OF Steven Souza Jr. was activated after Monday's game, saying his lacerated right pinky was pain-free and good to go after two weeks on the disabled list.
To make room on the roster OF Grady Sizemore was optioned to Triple-A Durham, a contingency he agreed to in signing his minor-league deal last month, as the Rays instead opted to keep OF Joey Butler, who is 5-for-his-last-46.
Sizemore, called up June 28, said he stuck around longer than originally planned.
"I committed to this team so I'm going to play and do what I can, just finish the season wherever I'm at,'' he said.
"Just continue to get at-bats and continue to get work in.''
There is a slighty different look to the Rays lineup, with Logan Forsythe moved up to the No. 2 slot ahead of Evan Longoria.
UPDATE, 5:45: Souza is here in the clubhouse and said he is ready to go; Cash said they will wait to see him take batting practice and how the game goes before making it official. Either OF Joey Butler or Grady Sizemore is expected to go to make room. ... Forsythe hitting second is purely a product of the DH-less lineup Cash said, not a planned permanent change. ... LHP Drew Smyly (shoulder) will throw a two-inning, 40-pitch simulated game on Tuesday in Port Charlotte and it sounds like if that goes well he could start a rehab assignment. OF Desmond Jennings (knee) will be one of the hitters in that game.
Phillies lineup: Hernandez 2b Revere lf Franco 3b Francoeur rf Ruf 1b Galvis ss Herrera cf Rupp c Buchanan p
UPDATE, 3:05: There is a slighty different look to the Rays lineup, with Logan Forsythe moved up to the No. 2 slot ahead of Evan Longoria.
Rays lineup: Sizemore rf Forsythe 2b, Longoria 3b, Loney 1b, DeJesus lf, Beckham ss, Kiermaier cf, Casali c, Moore p
DEVELOPING: After losing two of three to the Blue Jays in the opening series after the All-Star break, the Rays are looking to get on a roll a Phillies team that is the worst in the majors. …
Matt Moore is confident he can be successful with a fastball in the low 90s until an expected increase.
LHP Matt Moore takes the mound tonight for his fourth start since returning from April 2014 Tommy John surgery feeling he is getting better each time - and closer to his old form.
The most obvious difference is a 1-2 mph dropoff from his 2013 velocity, though Moore is confident he can be successful with a fastball in the low 90s until an expected increase.
"It's a luxury the velocity, it's not a necessity at this point,'' Moore said. "That's a difference, it's something everybody can see, but as far as how I feel and the things I'm putting out there, I think I feel pretty close to how I have in the past.''
Manager Kevin Cash said Moore's last start - a five-inning outing to beat the Astros on July 12 - was his best, noting that he simplified his delivery and was committed to his fastball, and is showing increasingly better command of it.
"I think Matt Moore is doing what I personally would have expected,'' Cash said. "You're going to see some really realty good innings and some really efficient pitches, and all of a sudden you'll see something get away from him and not have a feel for it. And I think that's completely normal. …
The Tampa Bay Rays head into the 2015 season with Evan Longoria, Alex Cobb, Chris Archer and numerous new faces, including manager Kevin Cash and shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. Can they upend the Orioles in the highly competitive AL East? Come here to follow Rays news at Tropicana Field and beyond.