Jake Bauers had an impressive camp, batting .353 with a .439 on-base percentage and a .824 slugging percentage with four home runs and 11 RBI.
The Rays reassigned INF/OF Jake Bauers, OF Johnny Field, 1B Casey Gillaspie, INF Jake Hager, 3B Patrick Leonard, OF Dayron Varona, RHP Andrew Kittredge and RHP Neil Wagner this morning to minor league camp.
The team also released RHP David Carpenter and RHP Jeff Walters.
Bauers had an impressive camp, batting .353 with a .439 on-base percentage and a .824 slugging percentage with four home runs and 11 RBI.
“What did he not show,” manager Kevin Cash said. “We’re excited about him. Just his overall approach to hitting is what stands out more than anything. I think he actually got better in the outfield, and it was a good experience. He’s going to play outfield and first base.”
The power was great, but Cash was impressed with Bauers’ approach at the plate; how he worked counts and drew walks – 6 in 40 plate appearances.
“The hitability,” Cash said. “The power is something that kind of naturally comes. Obviously, it’s cool to see homers and everything. Just the pitch recognition, how he was able to turn a bat over and layoff pitches and put himself in good counts.”
Gillaspie hit .211 with three home runs and eight RBI. Cash said he showed “kind of the same thing” as Bauers.
-- Chris Archer had another solid outing, despite allowing three earned runs over 5 2/3 innings. For one, he pitched deep into the game, which was his goal. Also, he stayed away from the slider, his best pitch, so he could continue to work on his fastball.
Archer needs to improve his fastball command in order to take the next step as a pitcher. He said after the outing that he commanded his fastball well last season in the games in which he had his most success. That only makes his slider more effective. It’s good to see him take a plan into spring training, stick with it and see it have success.
-- DH Colby Rasmus asked to play Wednesday, making it three games in four days. The Rays want to be careful with him and not overdue it and risk having a setback with his surgically repaired hip and core muscle. But Rasmus said he felt fine and wanted the at-bats.
He’s working right now on letting the pitch get deep on him to avoid swinging at balls out of the strike zone. Hitting an opposite field home run to left field during his third at-bat was proof that is working. He also singled in a run his first time up. …
Chris Archer is slated for his last long test of the spring, working seven innings or throwing 105 pitches.
UPDATE, 1:16: SS Matt Duffy will fly to N.C. on Thursday to see the doctor who did the Septe,ber surgery on his left heel to see why his recovery has been slow and if some change to his rehab program might help. ... RHP Jumbo Diaz reported to camp, having been claimed on waivers from the Reds while with the Dominican WBC team, and said he is ready to compete for a spot in the bullpen, planning to workout today and throw in the Thursday game,
Here is the Rays lineup: Dickerson LF, Kiermaier cf, Longoria 3b, Miller 2b, Rasmus DH, Morrison 1b, Beckham RF, Maile c, Robertson ss, Archer p
DEVELOPING: RHP Chris Archer had been planning to pitch in Los Angeles tonight in the WBC final, but wiith Team USA officials telling him they had other plans he will take his regular turn with the Rays against the Orioles in Sarasota at 6:05.
Archer is slated for his last long test of the spring, working seven innings or throwing 105 pitches. LHP Justin Marks and RHP Andrew Kittredge are also slated to pitch.
Most of the big-name players are on the travel squad, including 3B Evan Longoria and CF Kevin Kiermaier.
Daniel Robertson has a real chance to make the Rays out of spring training.
3 takeaways from Rays 5-4 loss Pirates
* INF Daniel Robertson has a real chance to make the team. With Matt DUffy out and Tim Beckham sliding into the starting SS job, Robertson could make the team as a utility infielder given the need for a right-handed bat. After a slow start, and the maturity to scrap changes he made during the winter to his stance by adding a leg kick, Robertson has looked better at the plate and in the field. Depending on if the Rays add a right-handed hitting outfielder, Robertson could be competing with Michael McKenry or Nick Franklin for a roster spot. "I'm happy to be out there playing, having fun, feeling relaxed,' he said. "I'm really free of mind right not, letting the game come to me.'' …
Shawn Tolleson is working his way back from back issues.
With RHP Brad Boxberger injured, RHP Shawn Tolleson working his way back from back issues and RHP Jumbo Diaz still making his way to camp from the WBC, the Rays have plenty of reasons to be concerned about a bullpen that needed improvement to begin with.
But having RHP Alex Colome back healthy from the WBC and seeing good things this spring from non-roster veteran RHP Tommy Hunter help.
And the performance of several others who were not considered prime candidates give manager Kevin Cash reason to feel better about things.
That group includes Chase Whitley, Austin Pruitt, Justin Marks, Jaime Schultz, Diego Moreno and Andrew Kittredge.
"I think where we are right now we're probably a lot more optimistic about some of the candidates, the way they've showed up this spring,'' Cash said. "When you come in you don't have a really good sense of those guys. You see them throw their 10 innings-12 innings and they've thrown the ball really well.''
As for Hunter, Cash said a couple of adjustments the Rays suggested seem to have helped. …
Matt Duffy remains limited to drills and strengthening exercises on his left heel and will be sidelined into April.
The Rays are trying to seek answers about the slow rehab pace of SS Matt Duffy, who remains limited to drills and strengthening exercises on his left heel and will be sidelined into April.
"I hope in the next few days we get a little more clarity,'' manager Kevin Cash said Tuesday. "I know we're talking to doctors and stuff like that trying to get a sense. I think we're to the point now that some of these issues might not even be from the actual surgery, and I'm saying that in a good way. Maybe we get him checked out and it's something we can do something different with and treat a little differently.''
Duffy had heel issues when acquired Aug. 1 from the Giants for Matt Moore, and underwent surgery Sept. 9 with the expectation he would be limited a bit in spring training but ready for opening day. That has not been the case, as Duffy has not started running yet. much less played in any games.
Cash said Duffy may go to Charlotte to see Dr. Bob Anderson, who did the surgery.
In Duffy's absence, Tim Beckham is expected to be the starting shortstop.
Alex Cobb, who last worked in a minor-league game on Thursday, will be on the mound for the Rays.
UPDATE, 10:39: Pirates lineup, with ex-Ray John Jaso at 3b: Frazier ss Goseelin 1b Jaso 3b Cervelli c Osuna lf Ortiz cf Wood rf Moroff 2b Kuhl p
UPDATE, 9:07: Colome has rejoined the Rays from the WBC, said he enjoyed the experience a lot, his arm feels good and he is excited to be back with his team to get ready for the season. ... Boxberger acknowledged that he won't be ready for opening day and doesn't know how far behind he will be due to the lat strain but still maintains it is not serious. ... RHP Jumbo Diaz had not yet reported as of this morning.
Here is the Rays lineup: Smith cf, Weeks DH, Souza RF, Gillaspie 1b, Bauers LF, Franklin 2b, Casali c, Robertson ss, Leonard 3b, Cobb p …
Kevin Kiermaier drives home Jesus Sucre with a single in the fifth.
3 takeaways from Rays 5-4 loss to Pirates:
* CF Kevin Kiermaier isn't going to slow down one bit after getting a big contract. In his first at-bat after the deal was formally announced Monday morning, Kiermaier busted down the line to beat out an infield hit, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch, then scored on a hit. On a day negotiations were coming to a head last week, he made a running and leaping catch in centerfield. "That's him,'' manager Kevin Cash said. "That's probably part of the reason he put himself in those talks to begin with.''
* LHP Blake Snell needs to settle down and sharpen up quickly. Though Cash said Snell was "a little better" on Monday, the second year lefty has not been sharp throughout the spring, and it's getting old to hear him keep saying he knows what he has to do to get better. With just one more long outing on Sunday vs. the Yankees and then a short one before the start of the season, the Rays would feel a lot better to see Snell, their likely No. 4 starter, pitch better. …
Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) answers questions during a press conference announcing his six-year, $53.5 million deal with the team at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Fla. on Friday, March 17, 2017.
Rays CF Kevin Kiermaier had plenty of reasons to be happy on Monday as the team formally announced the new contract that guarantees him $53.5-million over six years and could be worth up to $66.15-million over seven.
"This is a day that I can't say its unbelievable because I've always dreamed of this and I've worked my butt off ever since I got to junior college to try and make this moment happen, and here it is. I couldn't be more thankful and grateful for this opportunity and everything else that comes along with it. A lot of hard work and dedication can make a lot of great things happen.
"I'm telling you, I'm the happiest man on the planet right now.''
Rays baseball operations president Matt Silverman and agent Larry Reynolds joined Kiermaier for the announcement, and both spoke to his character and dedication, certian that the big bucks won't change anything about him.
Signing on long-term and giving up potential greater earnings in the future can be difficult for some players, but not Kiermaier, who said, "This was an easy decision for me to be honest and I'm so glad it's done now.'' …
Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Brad Boxberger looks to cover first base on a drill during a spring training workout at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte on Feb. 16.
Rays manager Kevin Cash confirmed this morning what has seemed increasingly obvious, that RHP Brad Boxberger is not likely to be ready for opening day.
Boxberger has been bothered by a strain in his back/lat area, which has not responded as they had hoped. He has yet to pitch in a spring game, and has now been scratched from a planned Tuesday game.
So while not totally ruling Boxberger out for the April 2 opener, Cash said: "I just don't see how it's going to happen. I'm not saying it won't, but it's very tough for me - where are we at, the 20th? Realistically, key piece in our bullpen, we're going to do right by him and want him to get his innings and reps. It's going to be very difficult to do that.''
The Rays are counting heavily on Boxberger to regain his 2014-15 form and join closer Alex Colome as part of a bullpen dynamic duo. Boxberger missed much of last season with injuries, and reported to camp lighter and saying he was healthy, but was slowed by the soreness that he said it not arm-related.
"The lat is just not responding the way he feels or we feel it needs to so we'll take another couple days and revisit it here again,'' Cash said. …
Colby Rasmus is playing after making his debut on Sunday coming off two off-season surgeries.
UPDATE, 10:32: The long-awaited Rays lineup, which was waiting on status of Rasmus, who is playing after making his debut on Sunday coming off two off-season surgeries, and Longoria, who was scratched with a stiff neck:
Morrison 1b, Kiermaier cf, Longoria 3b, Miller 2b, Rasmus dh, Dickerson lf, Beckham ss, Bauers rf, Sucre c, Snell p
And the Pirates lineup: Frazier 2b Mercer ss Bell 1b Freese 3b Osuna rf Gosselin lf Meadows cf Stewart c Taillon p
DEVELOPING: LHP Blake Snell is slated to be on the mound for the Rays today as they take on the Pirates in Port Charlotte at 1:05.
Snell, who has had a rough spring thus far, was listed as the Sunday starter but that appeared to be a mixup on the game notes as he said he was slated all along for Monday.
Snell, after showing promise during an inconsistent rookie season, is lined up to be the Rays No. 4 starter.
No. 2 starter Jake Odorizzi, meanwhile, will pitch in a minor-league game today in Port Charlotte.
This will be the first of three games against the Pirates in the next five days.
* RHP Tommy Hunter looks like he will be part of the bullpen. The hard-throwing veteran had what manager Kevin Cash called "probably his best outing we've seen" on Sunday, showing consistent velocity (in the 93-95 range) and command, working two innings. Hunter has now made six appearances over 6 2/3 innings without allowing a run.
* 1B Rickie weeks continues to look good, or at least good enough, at first. Weeks still has moments where he looks like a guy who has never played first before, but all those years as a really good second baseman is making the transition smoother. There will be some issues with footwork and positioning and handling pickoffs, but the Rays can feel good with him starting there, as he likely will vs. lefty pitchers. "Rickie Weeks made some tremendous plays,'' Cash said. …
Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier blows a bubble as he warms up in the dugout during the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte on Wednesday.
Here are the details on the contract extension CF Kevin Kiermaier agreed to with the Rays acquired by the Times, with official announcement Monday.
The deal guarantees him 6 years and $53.5-milllion, and includes a 2023 option:
Signing bonus: $1,000,000 2017: $3,000,000 2018: $5,500,000 2019: $8,000,000 2020: $10,000,000 2021: $11,500,000 2022: $12,000,000 2023: $2,500,000 buyout or team option for $13,000,000, that can escalate based on performance during deal.
Rays OF Mallex Smith went all in, assisted by Cooper Vollmer, and stylist Amalia Arado.
Rays players and staff took part Sunday in the sixth annual Cut for a Cure event benefitting the Pediatric Cancer Foundation, raising more than $13,000 and counting, with donations being accepted at cutforacure.org.
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