MARC TOPKIN / TAMPA BAY TIMES
Matt Moore throwing to hitters Sunday at the Trop.
Rays LHP Matt Moore said he "felt really good" throwing to hitters for the first time since his April 2014 Tommy John elbow surgery.
Moore threw 25 pitches to Nick Franklin, Jake Elmore and Tim Beckham, mixing in fastballs, curves and changeups. He was clocked in the 89-92 mph range on his fastball, which manager Kevin Cash said was good.
Moore acknowledged there was "a new intensity" facing hitters from the throwing he had been doing.
"I was very happy to be around the zone,'' Moore said.
Moore joked about breaking one of Elmore's bats and said it felt great to be back on the mound with a hitter in the box.
Moore will remain on a five-day schedule, with at least two more batting practice/simulated games planned, then start a rehab assignment.
Though the timetable is not set, Moore said he is now looking at a potential mid-June return to the Rays rotation.
UPDATE, 1:07: Cash said they are comfortable with the diagnosis of bursitis on Jennings and hope he will be back when his DL stint ends May 11 but won't put any pressure or deadline on him. ... In the interim, Cash said to expect to "see a lot" of Butler, who will DH and play LF against LHPs and some RHPs. ... Butler said he was with his Durham Bulls teammates watching the fight last night when he got word and was obviously pleased to be back in the big leagues.
DEVELOPING: After Saturday's 4-0 loss, the Rays wrap up their unscheduled series as the visiting hosts to the Orioles at 1:35 p.m. today.
The Rays this morning placed OF Desmond Jennings on the DL and called up OF Joey Butler, who is in the lineup at DH.
RHP Nathan Karns will be on the mound for the Rays, always tricky LHP Wei-Yin Chen for the Orioles.
Here is the Rays lineup:Full Story
UPDATE, 1:09: Cash said they are comfortable with the diagnosis of bursitis on Jennings and hope he will be back when his DL stint ends May 11 but won't put any pressure or deadline on him. ... In the interim, Cash said to expect to "see a lot" of Butler, who will DH and play LF against LHPs and some RHPs. ... Butler said he was with his Durham Bulls teammates watching the fight last night when he got word and was obviously pleased to be back in the big leagues.
DEVELOPING: The Rays made the expected move this morning in placing OF Desmond Jennings on the 15-day DL due to the bursitis in his left knee. What was somewhat of a surprise was that they called up OF Joey Butler to take his place.
Jennings had not played since leaving last Saturday's game, though the Rays maintained he was available to pinch hit, and he was set to return to the lineup last night, but manager Kevin Cash decided at the last minute he was not ready. He is the 14th different Rays player to go on the DL this seasson.
Butler, 29, was in spring training with the Rays. He has brief big-time with the Rangers in 2013 and the Cardinals in 2014. He played with Cash on the Rangers Triple-A team at Round Rock in 2011. …Full Story
Rays Triple-A C Luke Maile was on the wrong end of a painful play Friday, as Red Sox Triple-A C Humberto Quintero appeared to intentionally hit Maile in the stomach with a throw.
Maile was at the plate when Mahtook stole third, and Quintero fired a sidearm throw directly into Maile's midsection.
Maile said by phone Saturday he was okay, albeit a bit sore and sporting "a pretty good-looking" bruise: "I'm lucky he didn't get me in the ribs or go a little lower. It could have been a lot worse."
Maile said he had no history with Quintero, a former big-leaguer who, after arguing that Maile should have moved, sparked a bench-clearing incident later in the game by sliding late into SS Hak-Ju Lee.
Asked if he believed Quintero hit him intentionally, Maile said, "All that I'll say about that is that at this level, guys who've played as long as we have, you're not going to miss by that much. I don't know why it happened. I don't know how it happened."
The play was the talk of the Rays clubhouse Saturday afternoon, with most players saying they had never seen it before and wondering why Quintero would do so. …Full Story
The Rays will have ace Chris Archer, who has not given up an earned run over his last four starts, on the mound.
UPDATE, 3:07: Desmond Jennings is back in the Rays lineup for the first time since leaving last Saturday's game, hitting sixth as the DH. As a result, David DeJesus is in leftfield tonight.
DEVELOPING: After cruising to a crisp and quick 2-0 victory last night, the Rays are set to host the Orioles again tonight while playing as the visiting team, witch the games moved from Baltimore due to the violence and civil unrest.
The Rays will have ace RHP Chris Archer, who has not given up an earned run over his last four starts, on the mound; the Orioles will have RHP Migual Gonzalez. …Full Story
RHP Grant Balfour, released earlier this week, is signing a minor-league deal to rejoin the Rays with plans to join Triple-A Durham and work his way back to the big leagues.Full Story
"Headed back to Tampa (Bay),'' Balfour texted. "Want to be able to pitch back in the show with the Rays.''
Balfour was designated for assignment April 18, and released, with the Rays responsible for his $7-million salary.
The Cubs and Red Sox were among teams reported to have interest in signing him.
"Yeah, mate, would like to pitch with Tampa,'' he texted. "We weill see how it goes.''
JAMES BORCHUCK | Times
Alex Colome will be on the mound for the Rays, making his season debut after a DL stint due to a spring bout with pneumonia following a visa-delayed arrival to camp.
UPDATE, 5:53: OF Desmond Jennings got a cortisone shot in his left knee and the Rays are expecting him to play on Saturday, with a plan to mix in off days and DH days until the soreness/bursitis goes away.
LHP Jake McGee (elbow surgery) makes his second rehab appearance tonight for Class A Charlotte, but is likely to need six or seven total appearances, and not rejoin the team until the end of May.
LHP Matt Moore will throw to hitters on Sunday, his first time doing so since his Tommy John surgery last year. Based on an updated timetable, Moore could now rejoin the Rays as soon as mid-June.
INF Nick Franklin (oblique) will workout with the Rays through the weekend and expects to start a rehab assignment on Monday that is likely to last at least two weeks.
UPDATE, 5:47: Orioles manager Buck Showalter thanked the Rays for their cooperation in staging the games and accomodating them, and said he fully understood why the Rays were not interested in flipping a home series back to Baltimore.
Orioles lineup, with Steve Pearce making his first pro appearance at 2B:
De Aza lf
After Wednesday's game, the Rays optioned rookie RHP Matt Andriese to Triple-A Durham, clearing a spot on the roster for RHP Alex Colome to be activated off the DL and start Friday.
Andriese, 25, showed well in his first big-league experience, making two starts and three relief appearances, compiling a save, a loss and a 5.54 ERA.
The Rays officially released RHP Grant Balfour on Wednesday, making him a free agent.
Balfour was designated for assignment on April 19. The Rays are responsible for the remainder of his $7-million salary.Full Story
When Joe Maddon agreed to a five-year, $25-million deal with the Cubs, the Rays suspected there had been prior contact, and asked MLB to investigate potential tampering.
UPDATE, 7:55: In Chicago, Maddon and Cubs officials said they were glad it was over.
Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg told the Times: "We make our decisions based on the facts at hand and the processes we trust. We can never be certain of the outcomes.''
DEVELOPING: Six months after Joe Maddon left the Rays and signed with the Cubs, a Major League Baseball investigation found there was "no tampering" in his hiring.
Maddon had one year remaining on his contract when he left the Rays unexpectedly in late October, taking advantage of an opt-out clause in his contract activated by the previous departure of executive VP Andrew Friedman.
Maddon agreed to a five-year, $25-million deal a few days later with the Cubs, and the Rays suspected there had been prior contact, and asked MLB to investigate potential tampering.
Initially aiming to present its finding by opening day, MLB announced Wednesday afternoon that "The investigation produced no finding of a violation of Major League Rule 3(k) on Tampering.''
As part of the process, MLB investigators checked phone and computer records, and interviewed people Maddon spoke with at the time he was making the move. …Full Story
JAMES BORCHUCK | Times
Drew Smyly will make his second start since coming off the disabled list.
UPDATE, 12:07: With the Rays 0-for-5 against the Yankees, Cash said "Today would be a big win,'' but noted the challenge of facing RHP Michael Pineda. "It's kind of pick your poison - it was supposed to be (injured Masahiro) Tanaka, now it's Pineda. I don't know that that's any easier.''
UPDATE, 11:56: Desmond Jennings remains out of the lineup with bursitis in his left knee, though the Rays are hopeful he will play this weekend, although the shift to the Trop could make that tougher due to the turf.
Here is the Rays lineup:
And here is the Yankees lineup, with Alex Rodriguez aiming for his 660th career homer, which would tie Willie Mays for fourth all-time:
DEVELOPING: After losing to the Yankees again on Tuesday night, the Rays are back on the field for a matinee today in the Bronx.
LHP Drew Smyly will make his second start since coming off the DL, going against RHP Michael Pineda, who is stepping in for injured RHP Masahiro Tanaka. …Full Story
It took until late Tuesday night, but the Rays released details on time, ticket prices and parking for the weekend games with the Orioles that were relocated to the Trop:
* The Rays vs. Orioles series schedule and ticket prices (all prices subject to change):
Friday, May 1 7:05 p.m. General Admission $15
Saturday, May 2 7:05 p.m. General Admission $18
Sunday, May 3 1:35 p.m. General Admission $15
* TICKETS: All tickets will be sold as General Admission tickets in the lower level only (excluding the DEX Imaging Home Plate Club) and will go on sale to the public at noon ET on Wednesday, April 29. Tickets are available online at raysbaseball.com, all Ticketmaster outlets, the Rays Tampa Store (400 N. Tampa St.) and the Gate 1 Tropicana Field Box Office or over the phone at 888-FAN-RAYS and 1-800-745-3000. …Full Story
WILL VRAGOVIC | Times
Jake Odorizzi will be on the mound for the Rays against the Yankees' Chase Whitley.
UPDATE, 5:46: The Rays added LHP Xavier Cedeno, acquired on Monday, to their roster, and designated for assignment LHP Everett Teaford. ... Cash said LF Desmond Jennings' sore knee was improved and he was available to pinch-hit last night. ... RHP Alex Colome will make his first start on Friday, having completed his rehab.
Yankees lineup, with A-Rod off but available:
DEVELOPING: The Rays will try to rebound from Monday's loss when they take on the Yankees again tonight.
RHP Jake Odorizzi will be on the mound for the Rays against Yankees RHP Chase Whitley.
Lineups when available.Full Story
Protestors gather outside of Oriole Park at Camden Yards before a baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles after a rally for Freddie Gray, Saturday in Baltimore.
UPDATE, 6:23: Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg said the idea of the Rays shifting a later home series to Baltimore "came up" but they were not interested in doing so.
UPDATE, 5:39: Several Rays players said they were relieved that the series was moved to the Trop given the uncertainty of the situation in Baltimore.
Rays player rep Chris Archer said he thought MLB, the union and the teams came the right decision collectively: "We just didn't want to go to Baltimore."
Several other players said they were used to making adjustments so it wouldn't be that big a deal.
Details are still being worked out on tickets and game times. The Rays will wear their gray road uniforms and bat first, the Orioles home whites and bat last. Expect more of a "generic" presentation at the Trop, likely without the usual Rays-themed promos and in-game actiivities. Rays playters may not get their walk-up songs played,
The Orioles will be responsible for the expenses in staging the games and will get the ticket and concessions revenue. Unclear on who gets parking money. …Full Story
Violence and protests in and around downtown Baltimore led to postponement of the Orioles' Monday night with the White Sox and put the rest of this week's game, against the Sox and Rays in question.
UPDATE, 11:49: The Orioles announced that tonight's game with the White Sox has also been postponed. Discussions about Wednesday's game, and the Rays series, continue.
UPDATE, 8:31: An announcement is expected soon on the plans for tonight's scheduled Orioles-White Sox game.
Concern among the Rays has spread to family members as well. Lindsay Murphy Guyer, wife of Rays OF Brandon and a Washington, D.C., TV sports anchor/reporter had these tweets last night:
"The Rays are in Bmore this wknd I always look fwd to these games but dont see myself going. Its sad. Violence and looting accomplish nothing"
"baltimore is being destroyed it's just so sad...most of those people live there...and they are destroying their own city their own home"
DEVELOPING: Rays officials aree monitoring the violent situation in Baltimore in advance of a scheduled weekend series.
The Rays are scheduled to travel to Baltimore Thursday afternoon and play games Friday and Saturday night, and Sunday afternoon. Players and staff were briefed after their Monday game about the situation by travel director Chris Westmoreland. …Full Story