Thursday, September 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays Journal: Another Bauers blast, not-so-Sweet Caroline, slow hand Jake

PORT CHARLOTTE – Just before 1B Jake Bauers went to the plate in the second inning Tuesday, RHP Chris Archer yelled to him, "Show me something.''

Bauers obliged, and, boy, did he deliver, launching a blast off that cleared the rightfield fence and the bullpen and the boardwalk and landed on the roof of the team office building.

It was similar to a titanic blast he hit last spring –but better.

"(This) one definitely went further, definitely was better contact,'' said Bauers, 22. "And that's all I've got. So don't expect anything more than that.''

Maybe not, manager Kevin Cash said.

"He's still really young. … The swing is there, it's been there, he's worked really hard on that,'' Cash said. "Now he's going to find out what he's capable of doing by generating more power. He'll hit his share of home runs.''

Though Bauers seems likely headed back to Triple-A no matter what, he at least wants to make it a difficult decision for them, and that kind of show in the 9-1 loss to Boston can only help.

So, how good does it feel to hit a ball that well?

"You almost black out a little bit,'' Bauers said. "You don't feel it off the bat. Then you have to remember where you're at and you have to get around the bases.''

What next, chowdah and Fenway franks?

Someone on the Charlotte Sports Park staff – or at least who was on the staff – thought it was a good idea during Tuesday's game to play the Red Sox anthem, Sweet Caroline. It was received well given the Boston-heavy tilt of the Rays spring high crowd of 5,353.

Speed-up rules
The Rays had RHP Jake Faria work three innings in a simulated game Tuesday morning so he could work on improving what even he admits has been a "painstakingly" slow tempo. Faria said he had similar issues in the minors, and was able to draw on that experience, making a point to walk up the mound as soon as he got the ball back. "I felt like it was a lot better,'' Faria said. "It's mainly about being comfortable with it so that when you do get in an actual game it's second nature.''

Miller time?

1B Brad Miller hasn't played since the Feb. 23 spring opener, concerned that running with a broken right toe could cause complications given he is coming off October core muscle repair surgery and has had hip issues. He took a handful of at-bats in the sim game, but something didn't seem right and he won't play as hoped Wednesday. "He felt fine,'' Cash said. "We're going to sit down and talk. He didn't go 100 percent. So we want to get a read on how he comes in (Wednesday) and reassess where we're at. ''

Game report

Relief candidate RHP Chih-Wei Hu had a nine-pitch first but a messy second, allowing two homers and two doubles, though stayed in the strike zone. … RHP Diego Castillo continues to impress, retiring Boston A-teamers Andrew Benintendi, Hanley Ramirez and Rafael Devers in order. … OF Mallex Smith had some issues in leftfield. … Cash said CF Kevin Kiermaier "looks like he's getting locked in at the plate.'' … The Rays fell to 6-6.…LHP Jonny Venters and RHP Ryne Stanek looked sharp in the sim game.

Quote of the day

"He was hilarious – but not intentionally."
– Rays manager Kevin Cash, on the entertainment provided by traded OF Steven Souza Jr.

Miscellany

* SS Adeiny Hechavarria returned with a 3-for-3 day, thankful the tightness he felt behind his right knee after slipping taking ground balls in sneakers rather than cleats cost him no more than a couple days. "A little lesson learned,'' he said through team interpreter Manny Navarro. "It shouldn't have happened.''

* 3B Matt Duffy, recovered from his stiff back, received a canvas print of his "It's All Me" PSA ad as advisory board member of Taylor Hooton Foundation, which advocates against use of performance enhancing substances.

* Given plans to open with a four-man rotation, Cash said they will carry several relievers capable of working multiple innings.

* RHP Matt Andriese said a highlight of playing in Monday's Valspar pro-am for him and new wife Jill was getting to meet Roger Clemens.

     
 
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