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For starters, Rays at White Sox, in Shaffer's debut

Richie Shaffer is the first player from the Rays 2012 draft to make the majors.

Dennis Maffezzoli/Sarasota Herald-Tribune (2013)

Richie Shaffer is the first player from the Rays 2012 draft to make the majors.

UPDATE, 7:16:  Sounds like Shaffer will be around for a while, playing 1B and occasionally 3B vs. all LHPs, getting some at-bats vs. RHPs. Probably won't get in the outfield, but not out of the question. .... Shaffer will have his parents, brother, fiancee and financee's parents here tonight. ... He said it felt "pretty surreal" and that as much as he hoped to treat it like any other game he knows that is unlikely. ... Cash said DH/OF Joey Butler needs to get going given his extended struggles, that most of his issues have beem missing pitches he had been hitting.

White Sox lineup:
Eaton cf,
Saladino 3b,
Abreu DH,
Cabrera lf,
Ramirez SS,
LaRoche 1b,
Garcia rf,
Sanchez 2b,
Flowers c,
Quintana p


UPDATE, 4:24: Shaffer will wear No. 36, the first since Brooks Conrad in 2012. He is the first player from the Rays 2012 draft to make the majors (and second since 2011, joining Mikie Mahtook). He is their team record 17th rookie this season (16 in '01, '11). Only the Braves (19) and Yankees (18) have used more in 2015. …

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UPDATED: Richie Shaffer called up, starting for Rays tonight

UPDATE, 3:53: Shaffer is in the lineup, playing 1B and hitting sixth.

UPDATE, 2:29: The Rays have made the move official, Shaffer has been called up, Moore optioned to Triple-A.

DEVELOPING:   Slugging prospect 1B/3B Richie Shaffer is expected to be called up Monday to make his big-league debut with the Rays in Chicago.

Shaffer, the Rays top pick in the 2012 draft, has had a breakout season, hitting 23 home runs between Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham.

 "I can't even begin to describe the feeling,'' he told the Tampa Bay Times from Durham.  "It hasn't really set in. Right now, I'm actually under control a little bit. It probably will really hit me when I get on the plane (today).''

He will take the roster spot that will be open following LHP Matt Moore's demotion to Durham, and can play first, third or DH. Plus, he was working in rightfield at Durham.

   Shaffer was removed from Durham's game in the seventh-inning on Sunday.


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Rays rally and hang on to beat Red Sox 4-3

 A couple of clutch hits and the Rays left town feeling a lot better about themselves.

  Asdrubal Cabrera and James Loney knocked in eighth-inning runs to lead the Rays to a come-from-behind 4-3 win over the Red Sox on Sunday.

     After six solid innings, and a career-high matching 113 pitches from Jake Odorizzi, the Rays used Xavier Cedeno and Steve Geltz in the seventh, Jake McGee in the eighth and Brad Boxberger to close it for his 26th save.

   The Rays won for just the sixth time since the All-Star break, and 12th time in their last 36 games, improving to 52-54.

   The Rays took the early lead, when Brandon Guyer, who looks to get more playing time with Steven Souza Jr. out four-six weeks with a fractured left hand, led off with a full-count homer against Sox starter Wade Miley.

    But the Sox came right back with a pair of runs on two two-out hits off Rays starter Jake Odorizzi.

    Xander Bogaerts singled, then stole second with no throw from catcher Rene Rivera. That was costly when Hanley Ramirez doubled, as Bogaerts came around to score. Mike Napoli followed with a single to make it 2-1.

    The Sox pushed the lead to 3-1 in the third after Odorizzi hit Bogaerts with one out. David Ortiz lashed a double off the Green Monster, Bogaerts came all the way around to score as the ball caromed off the wall so hard third baseman Evan Longoria picked it up about halfway out.

   The Rays got back to within 3-2 in the fourth when Cabrera singled with one out and Loney doubled to right.

   The Rays had a promising opportunity to at least tie in the seventh when Kevin Kiermaier hustled his way to a two-out triple that ended Miley's day.

    The Sox brought in another lefty, Robbie Ross Jr., and the Rays pinch-hit Curt Casali for .176-hitting Rene Rivera, but Casali was hit by pitch. Guyer then worked a full-count walk to load the bases.

   Rather than bring in a right-hander and face one of the Rays better lefty pinch-hitters, John Jaso or Grady Sizemore, the Sox stuck with Ross, preferring he face Joey Butler. And that strategy worked, as Butler went down swinging, leaving him 9-for-his-last 65.

   The Rays got another shot and rallied for two in the eighth off Junichi Tazawa. Evan Longoria got them started with a double high off the Green Monster. With one out, Cabrera ripped a pitch that one-hopped the rightfield fence for a ground-rule double, scoring Longoria as the tying run. James Loney followed with a single to center soft enough for Cabrera to score.

   The Rays left after the game for Chicago, where they open a three-game series with the White Sox on  Monday night. Nathan Karns will be on the mound for the Rays, lefty Jose Quintana for the White Sox.

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For starters, Rays vs. Red Sox, trying to regroup

UPDATE, 12;20: Cash said they will stick with a four-man rotation for now, taking advantage of several upcoming off-days and rolling at least until Aug. 18 without needing another, assuming no doubleheaders due to rainouts.

UPDATE, 12:04: Souza is expected to miss 4-6 weeks, with the Rays planning to mix and match in RF and LF in his absence. Brandon Guyer and Mikie Mahtook figure to get most of the additional playing time. ... Cash said Matt Moore took news of his demotion extremely well, and there is no timetable for his reutrn. The key is that he gets his innings and gets back to his top form.

DEVELOPING: After a rough Saturday in which they lost to the last-place Red Sox, had OF Steven Souza Jr. break his hand and sent struggling LHP Matt Moore to the minors, the Rays are back on the field this afternoon.

RHP Jake Odorizzi will be on the mound for the Rays, who have lost 24 of their last 35. LH Wade Miley is starting for the Red Sox.

The Rays replaced Souza by recalling OF Mikie Mahtook, who came up Friday, got two hits and was sent down. They will wait until Monday to replace Moore.

Here is the Rays lineup, with two lefty hitters, 1B James Loney and OF Kevin Kiermaier. …

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Matt Moore to be optioned to Triple-A

LHP Matt Moore will be optioned to Triple-A by the Rays.

Moore struggled again on Saturday, lasting only 3 innings against the Red Sox, and is 1-3, 8.78 ERA in six games since coming off the disabled list following April 2014 Tommy John surgery.

With several off-days in their schedule, the Rays will use a four-man rotation for now.

The plan is for Moore to get his innings in without impacting the big-league team, which is trying to stay in the AL wild-card race.

Moore's move to Triple-A will be effective on Monday, and he will be replaced on the roster then.


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Souza goes on DL with fractured left hand

OF Steven Souza Jr. is headed back to the disabled list after X-rays showed a fracture in his left hand after being hit by a pitch on Saturday.

Souza was hit by a Joe Kelly pitch in the fifth inning and went to the ground in pain, but after some attention from the athletic training staff stayed in the game. But the pain increased as he left the game in the sixth and went for X-rays which revealed the fracture.

Souza had just rejoined the Rays July 21 after a 15-day DL stint due to a right pinky laceration.

The Rays will make a move to fill Souza's spot before Sunday's game. OF Mikie Mahtook, who was called up and then sent down after Friday's game could be recalled since there is a DL stint involved, waiving the usual 10-day minimum stay.


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Moore struggles again, Rays lose again, 11-7 to Sox

  BOSTON - Another ragged start by Matt Moore put the Rays in an early hole Saturday as they lost to the Red Sox 11-7.

   Moore, in his sixth outing since returning from April 2014 Tommy John surgery, allowed six runs while lasting only three innings. Of the 19 batters he faced, 10 reached base, and several of the nine he got out hit the ball quite hard and somewhat far.

   In six starts, Moore is now 1-3 with an 8.78 ERA.

    Down 6-0, the Rays (51-54 overall), battled back to within 6-4 and then to 7-6, but reliever Steve Geltz allowed the Red Sox to tag on two runs in the sixth.

   Geltz walked David Ortiz to start the inning and Travis Shaw with two outs, threw a wild pitch that advanced the runners then allowed a single to Rusney Castillo that scored two.

    The Rays, as usual, did not convert on several scoring opportunities.

    Their most glaring mistake came in the top of the sixth. Down 7-4, they got one run when Asdrubal Cabrera led off with a double and Kevin Kiermaier singled him in. Kiermaier got to second on a wild pitch and then John Jaso walked with one out.

    Kiermaier then made an aggressive mistake, breaking to steal third and getting thrown out. The Rays challenged the call as it looked like Kiermaier may have gotten his hand around the tag, as the replay was shown on the video board Kiermaier stood on third flashing a safe sign. But it proved to be only wishful thinking as the replay officials said the call stood, and he was out.

   That became a bigger deal when Brandon Guyer, pinch-hitting for Steven Souza Jr., who left the game with a bruised left hand, laced a double. Rather than two runs, the Rays got only one, Jaso scoring from first, and 7-6 was as close as they got.

   Travis Shaw hit a two-run homer off Kirby Yates in the eighth, his second of a memorable day.

  The Rays wrap up the series with the Red Sox on Sunday at 1:35 p.m., with Jake Odorizzi on the mound against Sox lefty Wade Miley.


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For starters, Rays at Red Sox, with Moore on the mound

UPDATE, 12:24: The Rays revealed a change they made in their pitching rotation, with RHP Jake Odorizzi now starting on Sunday vs. the Red Sox and RHP Nathan Karns on Monday at Chicago. Manager Kevin Cash said the change was made for several reasons - giving Karns an extra day's rest, keeping Odorizzi on a five-day schedule, having better matchups going forward. Also, it separates Odorizzi and RHP Chris Archer in the rotation.

It sounds like Sizemore will be around for a while, even though the Rays face four straight lefty starters beginning Sunday. It's possible they could make another move to add a righty hitter, such as bringing up J.P. Arencibia, or even switch-hitter INF Nick Franklin.

Cash said LHP Drew Smyly (shoulder) and OF Desmond Jennings (knee) came through their rehab assignments well.

Cash also said they have spoken to some of the players making mistakes on the bases (Steven Souza Jr.) and in the field (Tim Beckham) and that they need to tighten up their play.

Sizemore said he was glad to be back in the majors with the Rays, and also that he recently became a dad for the first time with the arrival of son, Luca. …

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For starters, Rays at Red Sox, on trade day

Erasmo Ramirez will be on the mound for the Rays. [Jon Blacker/The Canadian Press via AP]

Erasmo Ramirez will be on the mound for the Rays. [Jon Blacker/The Canadian Press via AP]

UPDATE, 5:49: Baseball ops president Matt Silverman said they looked at some possibilities of adding bats but there were "no glaring holes" in their lineup that they could fill at the deadline. ... He also acknowledged the "dynamics were odd" in trading Jepsen to a team they were chasing in the wild-card race but said that was the case in several of their conversations. ....  Several Rays said they were disappointed to see Jepsen go but they understood it was a business. .. Cash said they will use several relievers to fill his role, with Geltz and Gomes seemingly the most likely, and that he won't use the bullpen any differently, meaning McGee could still pitch in the 7th if matchups dictate and Boxberger in the 8th. ... Yates will also get some opportunities.

UPDATE, 3:21: Red Sox lineup, with Josh Rutledge, married to former Rays TV reporter Laura McKeeman, at 3B:

Holt 2B,
Bogaerts SS,
Ortiz DH,
Napoli 1B,
De Aza LF,
Castillo RF,
Swihart C,
Bradley Jr. CF,
Rutledge 3B,
Rodriguez P


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Trade deadline update: Jepsen traded to Twins for 2 minor-league pitchers

The Rays have enough depth in pitching to at least listen, and were said to be discussing starter RHP Nathan Karns and reliever RHP Kevin Jepsen, pictured, among others


The Rays have enough depth in pitching to at least listen, and were said to be discussing starter RHP Nathan Karns and reliever RHP Kevin Jepsen, pictured, among others

UPDATE, 4:01: There were no other deals for the Rays by the 4 p.m. deadline.

UPDATE, 3:30: Jepsen said he was surprised to be dealt, and even more surprised to go to a team the Rays are competing with for a playoff spot:

"You hear the rumors and stuff like that that your name is out there about being traded, but when it actually happens, it sinks in,'' Jepsen said.

"In the off-season when I got traded (from the Angels to the Rays) it was a little easier because I had a couple months to get ready and head to spring training. This is during the season, I'm about to catch a flight and head to Minnesota.

"It's fun and it's nice to be wanted, a team that's in it, in the hunt. And they're looking to fill in some pieces that I could hopefully help with and be in the playoffs at the end of the year.''

Jepsen spoke in the lobby of the team hotel, having already gone to Fenway Park to retrieve his baseball equipment.

As for going to 53-48 Twins team that the 51-52 Rays are competing with for a wild-card, Jepsen said: "It is a little surprising on that part.''

Also he said it will be tough to leave the Rays guys. …

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Ace Chris Archer "hoping" Rays make moves to improve team

   After seeing the AL East rival Blue Jays deal for All-Stars LHP David Price and SS Troy Tulowitzki, Rays ace RHP Chris Archer called on his bosses to improve their team.

   "It should be a very interesting two months of baseball in our league and division,'' Archer told the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday.

  "I'm speaking for our clubhouse when I say this, WE are hoping and confident that the areas of need will be addressed in the coming hours so that we can stay competitive not just in September but through the month of October as well.

 "Other teams have, and I hope that motivates not only the players to give it all they have but the management as well.''

   The primary "areas of need" would be in the lineup, as the Rays rank at or near the bottom of the American League in most key offensive categories. But both principal owner Stuart Sternberg and baseball operations president Matt Silverman said recently they are unlikely to make any significant acquisitions by Friday's 4 p.m. deadline for nonwaiver deals and feel the team they have is good enough - though at 51-52 - to remain competitive. …

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David Price is back in the AL East ... with Blue Jays

David Price reportedly was traded Thursday from the the Tigers to the Blue Jays.


David Price reportedly was traded Thursday from the the Tigers to the Blue Jays.

The Rays are going to see more of David Price.

So is the rest of the American League East.

Price was traded Thursday from the the Tigers to the Blue Jays, one of the teams the Rays are competing with for a playoff spot.

The Jays gave up several top prospects, including LHP Daniel Norris, to get Price, who is a free agent after this season. The other players going to Detroit are lefthanded pitchers Jairo Labourt and Matt Boyd.

Toronto will pick up the entirety of Price's remaining salary.

The Rays face the Jays twice more this season, September 25-27 in Toronto and Oct 2-4 at the Trop in the season finale.

This mark's the second straight year Price has been dealt at the trade deadline. Last season, he was traded from the Rays to the Tigers.

The Price trade, following the Jays' previous acquisition of star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, certainly caught the attention of Rays ace All-Star Chris Archer, who posted this tweet:


If anyone wants to know what it looks like to be all in, check out the Jays.

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Despite Archer's bid for perfection Rays lose 2-1 to Tigers

Rays ace Chris Archer was perfect into the seventh inning Wednesday, but a mistake by shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera led to a frustrating 2-1 loss to the Tigers.
  Archer flirted with a perfect game by retiring the first 19 Tigers, but after he allowed an infield single with one out in the seventh an error by Cabrera on what should have been an inning-ending double play changed the narrative dramatically as a 1-0 Rays lead became a 2-1 deficit.
    The loss, before a camp day-boosted crowd of 28,057 at the Trop, kept the Rays from a three-game sweep of the Tigers and dropped then back under .500 at 51-52.
     Jose Iglesias was the first Tiger to reach against Archer one out into the seventh, hitting a slow bouncer to the left side and beating the throw from Cabrera. Official scorer Bill Mathews didn't hesitate in calling it a hit.
    The Rays should have been out of the inning when Yoenis Cespedes hit a grounder up the middle, but Cabrera booted it and couldn't even get the lead out. That put two runners on and though Archer retired always dangerous Victor Martinez on a fly to left, he gave up a ground ball single to J.D. Martinez that scored the tying run, and then another single to Nick Castellanos on a liner off Cabrera's glove that scored Cespedes and put the Tigers up 2-1.
  By retiring the first 19 Tigers, Archer made the longest perfect game bid in Rays franchise history. Matt Garza retired the first 18 Red Sox in an April 30, 2009 game. (Garza has also thrown the only no-hitter in Rays history, on July 26, 2010, vs. Detroit.)
  Archer, riding an especially nasty hard slider, did his part in striking out 10 of those 19, including five in row.
   But centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier lend a hand with a spectacular catch, running with his back to the field, then leaping and reaching across his body to corral James McCann's fly ball just before hitting the wall.
   Still Archer went from near perfection to a frustrating loss, allowing two unearned runs on the three hits while striking out 11 over seven innings, having thrown 101 pitches.
  Tigers starter Justin Verlander was equally impressive early on, retiring the first 14 Rays he faced, until Cabrera homered on an 0-1 pitch with two outs in the fifth. Verlander, with his girlfriend model/actor Kate Upton in the stands, worked eight innings, allowing just four hits and striking out 10 for his fur
   The Rays had a final shot to tie in the ninth when Evan Longoria was hit by a Joakim Soria pitch with two outs, but Tim Beckham struck out.

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For starters, Rays vs. Tigers, on Archer Day

UPDATE, 11:06: Casali said the last few days have been wild and rewarding, the first time he's hit two homers in a game since high school. He also said the success if the result of a more aggressive approach he and other hitters have taken over the last couple weeks. .. Interesting note to Casali becoming the first rookie catcher in MLB history to have multiple homers in back to back games - he surpassed Kenji Johjima, who did it in back to back starts (with a game off in-between) for Seattle in 2006, and the other catcher on the team both times was Rene Rivera. ... Wilson, pride of Seminole High, started the season with the Rays then was designated for assignment on June 12.

UPDATE, 11:03: The Rays added C Bobby Wilson to the roster, likely only for today, as protection with red-hot C Bobby Wilson serving as the DH and Rene Rivera catching. ... OF Grady Sizemore seems the most likely callup for Friday.

Here is the Rays lineup:
Jaso lf
Souza rf
Longoria 3b
Loney 1b
Forsythe 2b
Cabrera ss
Casali DH
Kiermaier cf
Rivera c
Archer p

And here is the Tigers lineup:
Kinsler 2b
Iglesias ss
Cespdes lf
V. Martinez dh
J.D. Martinez rf
Castellanos 3b
Avila 1b
McCann c
Gose cf
Verlander p …

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Rays trade DeJesus to Angels

The Rays traded outfielder David DeJesus to the Angels for minor-league pitcher Eduar Lopez.


The Rays traded outfielder David DeJesus to the Angels for minor-league pitcher Eduar Lopez.

The Rays traded OF David DeJesus to the Angels for minor-league RHP Eduar Lopez.

DeJesus said he was shocked to be traded but pleased to be going to the Angels, as his wife and son are living in the LA area. "It's a good problem,'' he said.

Rays baseball ops president Matt Silverman said Lopez was a "mid-level prospect" and the deal was more about creating more at-bats for John Jaso and eventually Desmond Jennings, who is expected back in mid-August, and also "to save some money.''

DeJesus had about $2-million remaining on his 2015 salary, and a $1-million buyout on a $5-million option for next season.

Silverman said he had been talking to the Angels over several days.


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