For starters, Rays at Cardinals, seeking another sweep

Rays manager Joe Maddon is sticking with his plan of having the pitcher bat eighth, sliding Alex Cobb into that spot and RF Kevin Kiermaier into the ninth position.

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Rays manager Joe Maddon is sticking with his plan of having the pitcher bat eighth, sliding Alex Cobb into that spot and RF Kevin Kiermaier into the ninth position.

UPDATE, 6:11: Maddon said RHP Jeremy Hellickson will rejoin the rotation on Saturday, with RHP Chris Archer making his next start on Sunday. ... The Rays will have to make a roster move to accomodate Hellickson's return, with LHP Erik Bedard seemingly most likely to go. ... With a win tonight the Rays would have their first undefeated multi-city road trip in team history.

Cardinals lineup:
Carpenter 3b
Wong 2b
Holliday lf
Adams 1b
Peralta ss
Taveras rf
Jay cf
Cruz c
Lynn p

UPDATE, 3:46: The Rays were shutout in MLB's Competitive Balance Lottery, which is designed to help smaller-market/lower revenue teams by giving them extra draft picks. The Cardinals, Rockies and Orioles were among the teams that did get extra picks for 2015.

UPDATE, 3:19: Rays manager Joe Maddon is sticking with his plan of having the hitter bat eighth, sliding Alex Cobb into the 8th spot and RF Kevin Kiermaier 9th. Since the start of interleague play in 1997 there have been six pitchers hit higher than ninth in an AL lineup (by design) and four have been Rays. (Maddon also had Andy Sonnanstine hit third due to a lineup card mixup in 2009.) …

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Peralta to DL, Beliveau recalled

UPDATE, 5:57: Peralta was sent back to St. Petersburg to be seen by team physician Dr. Michael Reilly, and to have bloodwork done to confirm that he has the chikungunya virus. Governmental health departments and the CDC are tracking such cases. The virus is not contagious nor treatable, with the symptoms - fever, tiredness, achiness and rash - lasting 7-10 days.

DEVELOPING: The Rays placed RHP Joel Peralta on the disabled list as he deals with the tiredness and achiness from the chikungunya virus, which he believes he contracted when bitten by a mosquito during the All-Star break in the Dominican Republic.

LHP Jeff Beliveau was called up from Triple-A for the fifth time this season. Beliveau has a 1.50 ERA for the Bulls with 11 saves, striking out 51 in 36 innings.

 

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For starters, Rays at Cardinals, seeking six, with Odorizzi eighth

Jake Odorizzi will be on the mound for the Rays, pitching before what is likely to be hundreds of relatives and friends making the 30-some mile drive him his hometown of Highland, Ill.

EVE EDELHEIT | Times

Jake Odorizzi will be on the mound for the Rays, pitching before what is likely to be hundreds of relatives and friends making the 30-some mile drive him his hometown of Highland, Ill.

UPDATE, 7:47: Maddon said he had several reasons to bat Odorizzi eighth, primarily because it allowed for the the possibility of pinch-hitting sooner and to keep Kiermaier hitting in front of leadoff man Desmond Jennings. ... The Rays announced David Price will start Friday against Boston but have not set the rest of the weekend rotation, with Jeremy Hellickson expected to come back from the minors and start one of the two games. 

UPDATE, 5:52: Manager Joe Maddon got creative with his lineup under NL rules tonight, batting RHP Jake Odorizzi - who hasn't hit in a game since high school -  eighth so he could keep OF Kevin Kiermaier ninth.

"I'm protecting him,'' Kiermaier joked.

Here is the Rays lineup:
Jennings cf
Zobrist 2b
Joyce lf
Longoria 3b
Loney 1b
Escobar ss
Molina c
Odorizzi p
Kiermaier rf

Cardinals lineup:
Carpenter 3b
Wong 4
Holliday lf
Adams 1b
Peralta ss
Craig rf
Jay cf
Cruz c
Wainwright p

 

UPDATE, 4:03: The Rays did indeed put Peralta on the DL and recalled Beliveau.

DEVELOPING: After having Monday off, the Rays are back at it tonight, seeking  to extend their winning streak to six games as they take on the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. …

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Rays hang on for 5-3 win, three-game sweep

MINNEAPOLIS - The Rays hung on - barely - to complete a three-game sweep of the Twins on Sunday with a 5-3 win that included third baseman Evan Longoria reaching two milestones on one swing.

Longoria broke Carl Crawford's franchise record with his 216th double, and as Matt Joyce scored on the sixth inning shot down the leftfield line, Longoria also tied Crawford's franchise record of 592 RBIs. …

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For starters, Rays at Twins, seeking a sweep

UPDATE, 1:06: Maddon said he played Casali based on how well he did Friday and liking the idea of giving Jose Molina the day off after catching a night game. ... Sam Fuld is again in the Twins lineup. ... Rays pitchers are taking BP and David Price hit a bomb into the second deck of rightfield, then another that just over the wall.

Twins lineup:
Dozier 2b
Nunez 3b
Plouffe dh
Morales 1b
Arcia rf
Willingham lf
Escobar ss
Fryer c
Fuld cf
Correia p

UPDATE, 11:36: Rookie Curt Casali will be behind the plate for his second big-league start today.

Rays lineup:

Jennings cf
Zobrist 2b
Joyce lf
Longoria 3b
Loney 1b
Guyer dh
Escobar ss
Casali c
Kiermaier rf
Archer p

DEVELOPING: Manager Joe Maddon has been stressing to his Rays - and anyone else who will listen - that the key to getting back into contention this season is winning series.

But with the Rays winning the first two games of their post-All-Star break opening series with the Twins, Maddon is getting a little greedy as they push for a sweep today.

RHP Chris Archer will be on the mound for the Rays, with veteran RHP Kevin Correia starting for the Twins.

Lineups when available.

 

 

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For starters, Rays at Twins, on David Price day

Santana cf
Dozier 2b
Plouffe 3b
Morales dh
Suzuki c
Colabello 1b
Parmalee rf
Escobar ss
Nunez lf
Hughes p     The Rays have LHP David Price on the mound tonight as they take on the Twins, and that means two things: They are likely to get a well-pitched game, and it could be the last time he pitches in their uniform.
   Price has been and will continue to be the subject of rampant trade speculation leading up to the July 31 deadline, though it certainy has not affected his performance as he has won four straight.
   The Twins are starting veteran RHP Phil Hughes, the former Yankee.
    Rays manager Joe Maddon said Friday he planned to use the weekend to make sure everyone gets some playing time, and he meant is as today's lineup does not include one of their hottest hitters, in Kevin Keirmaier, nor Matt Joyce, who is 7-for-15 with two homers against Hughes. Further, both are lefties. But Maddon said Hughes has been doing better against lefties so he is used more right-handers.
    Here is the lineup:
   Jennings cf
    Zobrist rf
   Guyer lf
    Longoria 3b
    Loney 1b
   Forsythe 2b
    Escobar ss
    Molina c
    S-Rod DH
   Price p

And here is the Twins lineup: …

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For starters, Rays at Twins, back in action

The Rays are hoping to continue their winning ways as they resume play after the All-Star break tonight in Minneapolis against the Twins.

C Curt Casali, called up Thursday to replace injured Ryan Hanigan, will get the chance to make his major-league debut right away, as he is in the lineup. So too is rookie 2B Cole Figueroa, as manager Joe Maddon said he liked the matchup best tonight to get the lefty swinger out there.

The Twins are starting RHP Kyle Gibson, the Rays are starting RHP Alex Cobb.

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

And the Twins lineup, which includes ex-Ray Sam Fuld:

Santana cf
Dozier 2b
Morales 1b
Plouffe 3b
Arcia rf
Willingham dh
Suzuki c
Escobar ss
Fuld lf
Gibson p

 

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Price's All-Star adventure on Letterman's Late Show

Rays LHP David Price had a starring role with Todd the Intern is this All-Star Game piece that aired Thursday on The Late Show with David Letterman. Price and Todd visited the Mall of America Tuesday morning. (You can also watch on YouTube.)

 

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Ryan Hanigan placed on DL by Rays

UPDATE, 6:50: The Rays filled Hanigan's roster spot by selecting C Curt Casali from Triple-A Durham. The 24-year-old batted .237 with 15 RBIs in 46 games for the Bulls. He'll be making his major league debut. 

To add Casali to the 40-man roster, the Rays moved OF Wil Myers from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL. He'll be eligible to return July 30 but isn't expected to be ready until mid-August. 

ST. PETERSBURG – The Rays’ injury list grew again Thursday, as the team put C Ryan Hanigan on the 15-day disabled list with a left oblique strain. The roster move is retroactive to July 9.

It’s Hanigan’s second stint on the DL this year, after being put on the 15-day disabled list in May with a right hamstring strain.

“It’s tough,” manager Joe Maddon said before today’s optional workout at Tropicana Field. “We just can’t get him going.”

Hanigan is hitting .212 with four home runs and 27 RBIs this season. The Rays haven’t announced a corresponding roster move, but one is expected later this afternoon.

Hanigan’s left side began to become sore earlier this month during the road trip to Detroit, and he was scratched from his start Friday. …

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Selig: Need for new Rays stadum is 'obvious,' progress possible

UPDATE, 5:49: Sternberg told the Times there is reason for optimism.

"Bud is aware of my optimisim which has come out of the chats with (St. Petersburg) Mayor
Rick Kriseman,'' Sternberg wrote in an email. "I continue to believe  that the civic, business and political leaders in the city as well as  the region will do their best to ensure that Rays
baseball is here for generations to come.''

DEVELOPING:     Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig expressed some faith in the Tampa Bay market on Tuesday but reiterated the Rays' need for a new stadium and repeatedly the issue in in principal owner Stuart Sternberg's hands. …

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At All-Star media session, more Price pondering

David Price at All-Star media session

MARC TOPKIN / Times

David Price at All-Star media session

David Price doesn't know either.

Asked more than once during Monday's All-Star media session about the possibility of being traded, Price said he doesn't have a really doesn't have a sense what the Rays will do with him before the July 31 deadline for nonwaiver deals.

He joked that his favorite team to go to if dealt would be the Nashville Sounds — the Brewers Triple-A team that plays here his hometown. He acknowledged that if sent packing there were some teams he "would love to go to" over others. He created a bit of stir in answering a question about what kind of team he'd want to end up with by saying "Chicago would be hands down the coolest city to win a championship" because of the Cubs' extended drought.

Talking later to the Tampa Bay Times, he pondered the question of his gut feeling, reiterated that he really doesn't think much about it, started and stopped his answer a few times, and said his guess for now is that he'd staying. …

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Rays leave for All-Star break with 3-0 win over Blue Jays

ST. PETERSBURG – After battling a disappointing first half of the year, the Rays will have a long layoff to think about Sunday’s win.

The Rays used another strong performance from ace David Price and an opportunistic offense to earn a 3-0 win over the Blue Jays at Tropicana Field. They head into the All-Star break with a 44-53 record after taking the series from Toronto.

Price – making his latest possibly last home start for the Rays – throwing eight shutout, five-hit innings.

The Rays got their first run in the second, when Logan Forsythe knocked an RBI single to right. After getting no runs out of a bases-loaded, one-out threat in the third (falling to 13-for-72 with the bases loaded this year), the Rays tacked on another run in the sixth. That’s when Yunel Escobar stole second, then sped for home on Jose Molina’s single to right. Escobar was initially ruled out on Jose Bautista’s throw, but the call was overturned by instant replay.

Evan Longoria added an insurance run with his sacrifice fly in the seventh.

Jake McGee – activated before the game from the paternity list - struck out two to get his seventh save of the year. …

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For starters, Rays vs. Jays

UPDATE, 11:53: The Rays optioned RHP Jeremy Hellickson to Double-A Montgomery before the game to give him more work during the All-Star break. Hellickson is scheduled to start tomorrow for the Biscuits.

Hellickson is still working his way back from January elbow surgery. He threw 4 1/3 innings Tuesday in his season debut, giving up six hits and one run.

Hellickson said he "wasn't opposed" to the move. Because of the All-Star break and two off days next week, the Rays don't need their fifth starter until July 29. Hellickson said the plan is for him to make one start for Montgomery and another start for the Class A Stone Crabs before rejoining the Rays during their next homestand, which begins July 25.

The Rays activated LHP Jake McGee from the paternity list, prompting Hellickson's move. The roster move also suggests a vote of confidence in the health of today's starter, David Price. Hellickson was the backup plan if Price was still suffering lingering effects of his illness, and another backup plan (starter-turned-reliever LHP Erik Bedard) threw a relief inning Saturday night. …

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Price officially out of All-Star Game, replaced by ex-mate Fernando Rodney

LHP David Price felt good enough Saturday that the Rays are confident he will be able to start Sunday's game.

And that was good enough for Major League Baseball to go ahead replace him on the American League active roster for Tuesday's All-Star Game.

Price is still expected to attend the game in Minneapolis, be introduced along the foul line and take part in all other All-Star festivities. 

Under MLB rules, pitchers who start the Sunday before the All-Star Game are typically replaced on the active roster, though they have the choice to opt in. Price, like most others, apparently decided he would not want to throw again with one day's rest.

Skipping the All-Star Game should allow him to start the Rays first game after the break on Friday at Minnesota.

 

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Before Saturday night concert, Joan Jett fills in as PA announcer

twitter.com/LadySnarksalot

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts were scheduled as the postgame entertainment Saturday as part of the Rays summer concert series — but Jett went in for the full game experience, taking over as PA announcer as well. "Joan Jett's doing pretty well announcing batters," tweeted Fox Sports Florida's Andrew Astleford (@aastleford). "I think she has a future behind a microphone."

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