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Matt Moore set to start Thursday for Rays

Matt Moore threw a 35-pitch bullpen on Monday at the Trop, the last hurdle to his return from April 2014 Tommy John surgery.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Matt Moore threw a 35-pitch bullpen on Monday at the Trop, the last hurdle to his return from April 2014 Tommy John surgery.

LHP Matt Moore is set to rejoin the Rays rotation on Thursday.

Moore threw a 35 pitch bullpen on Monday at the Trop, the last hurdle to his return from April 2014 Tommy John surgery.

"Definitely ready to go,'' Moore said.

The Rays already made room in the rotation for Moore by optioning RHP Matt Andriese to Durham on Sunday. They will need to make room on the active roster for Moore, likely at the expense of a position player.

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For starters, Rays vs. Indians, with Kiermaier back in lineup

Kevin Kiermaier is back in the Rays lineup after a two-game absene, playing center field and batting leadoff.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Kevin Kiermaier is back in the Rays lineup after a two-game absene, playing center field and batting leadoff.

UPDATE, 6:13: INF Alexi Casilla, who had been at Triple-A Durham, was traded to the Tigers for cash considerations. He joined Triple-A Toledo, which - conveniently - is hosting Durham tonight.

UPDATE, 5:47: RHP Alex Cobb is heading to Arizona next week to spend the next six months rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. He will work at a private facility, that comes highly recommended and approved by the Rays, so he can he get primary attention throughout the process.
 …

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Red Sox go deep on Archer, top Rays

ST. PETERSBURG – In a season of mostly staggering pitching lines, Chris Archer had a screwy one Sunday.

Six innings pitched, 10 strikeouts, one walk, three home runs.

For the first time in his career, Archer gave up the long ball in triplicate in a single game in the Rays' 5-3 loss to the Red Sox (34-43) before a Tropicana Field crowd of 21,963.

The three home runs equaled the total Archer had allowed in his previous 10 starts. He also gave up two home runs in an inning for the first time, surrendering solo blasts to Pablo Sandoval (left field) and Alejandro De Aza (right center) in the second.

Sandwiched between them was called third strike to Mike Napoli, ejected after arguing the call with home plate umpire Tripp Gibson. And so went the feast-or-famine afternoon for Archer; of the 24 batters he faced, 14 either struck out or got an extra-base hit.

The third homer came courtesy of Archer nemesis David Ortiz, whose two-run shot to the right center field bleachers in the fourth gave Boston a 4-0 lead. The Sox made it 5-1 in the sixth when Xander Bogaerts hit a one-out double, moved to third on an Archer wild pitch and scored on Sandoval's sacrifice fly to the left field warning track. …

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For starters, Red Sox vs. Rays, 1:10 p.m.

Today's Rays lineup vs. the Red Sox

Asdruabal Cabrera, SS
Grady Sizemore, DH
Evan Longoria, 3B
David DeJesus, LF
Logan Forsythe, 2B
Steven Souza Jr., RF
Marc Krauss, 1B
Brandon Guyer, CF
Rene Rivera, C

Chris Archer, P (9-4, 2.01)

...and the Red Sox

Mookie Betts, CF
Brock Holt, 2B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
David Ortiz, DH
Pablo Sandoval, 3B
Mike Napoli, 1B
Alejandro De Aza, LF
Blake Swihart, C
Jackie Bradley Jr., RF

Justin Masterson, P (2-2, 6.37)

11:15 a.m.
The Rays have selected the contract of veteran OF Grady Sizemore, to whom they signed to a minor league deal on June 15. To make room, RHP Matt Andriese, who allowed one hit in six innings against the Red Sox on Saturday, was optioned to Triple-A Durham.

Additionally, OF Desmond Jennings (left knee) has been moved to the 60-day DL.

"Can't say enough about what (Andriese) did, especially coming off the performance (Saturday)," said manager Kevin Cash, who could have both LHP Matt Moore and RHP Jake Odorizzi back in the rotation within the next two weeks.

"He looks like he's really figuring some things out. His last three outings were really good, and to do what he did (Saturday) against a very good team was pretty impressive." …

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For starters, Rays vs. Red Sox, seeking to get back on a roll

UPDATE, 3:08: RHP Erasmo Ramirez got through his bullpen session on Friday with no issues from the groin strain that forced him from last  Saturday's game and is set to start Tuesday.

UPDATE, 2:55: The Rays announced the changes reported in the Saturday Times, that scouting director R.J. Harrison will move up to be senior adviser for scouting/baseball operations and Rob Metzler will take over the drafts as director of amateur scouting. …

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Scouting director R.J. Harrison moving up to senior advisor

UPDATE, 2:59: The Rays announced the moves today, official on July 17.

Baseball operations president Matt Silverman said, in a statement:

"These changes reflect both our confidence in the direction of our amateur scouting department and our hope for its continued evolution. I am grateful for R.J.'s leadership of the department through this year's draft and for the past 10 seasons. It's only because of his guidance and mentorship that we are in position to take these next steps."

Harrison said: "Very few people get to have as long a run in the director role as I have had, and I am very thankful to the organization for their faith in me over the years. I look forward to many more years helping grow our baseball organization and plan to enjoy the challenges ahead."

The team also changed three other titles: James Click is now director, baseball opertations; Matt Arnold is now director, player personnel; and Bobby Heck, special assistant baseball operations.

DEVELOPING: After running the Rays last 10 drafts, scouting director R.J. Harrison is moving up to be a senior advisor for scouting and baseball operations, the Times has learned. …

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For starters, Rays vs. Red Sox, with Marc Krauss' Tampa Bay debut

Alex Colome (3-3, 4.50) will start tonight for the Rays.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Alex Colome (3-3, 4.50) will start tonight for the Rays.

UPDATE, 4:51: New 1B Marc Krauss is in the lineup after arriving at about 2 a.m. Krauss heard he was being traded from the Angels' system to the Rays yesterday and took a flight from Triple-A Salt Lake City to Las Vegas before arrving in Tampa Bay about 2 a.m. 

"Kind of out of the blue," Krauss said. "Just another day in the life of a ballpplayer, and then things just kind of change." 

In injury news: RHP Erasmo Ramirez (right groin strain) said he felt no pain after throwing a bullpen session today. He could return to the Rays' rotation Tuesday. 

1B/DH John Jaso took batting practice and did infield work today. If there are no setbacks, he's scheduled to begin his rehab assignment with Port Charlotte tomorrow as a DH.

Today's lineups:

Rays

Kiermaier CF

Butler DH

Longoria 3B

DeJesus LF

Forsythe 2B

Souza RF

Cabrera SS

Krauss 1B

Casali C

Colome RHP

Red Sox

Betts CF

Holt 2B

Bogaerts SS

Ortiz DH

Sandoval 3B

Napoli 1B

De Aza LF

Swihart C

Bradley RF

Porcello RHP

DEVELOPING: 1B Marc Krauss will make his Rays debut tonight in the opening matchup of a three-game home series against the Red Sox. …

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Rays acquire 1B/OF Marc Krauss, option Nick Franklin to Durham

The Rays opted for a better left-handed hitting option at first base, acquiring Marc Krauss from the Angels and optioning Nick Franklin to Triple-A Durham.

Krauss, 27, has spent most of his career in the minors. In part of three seasons with the Angels and Astros, he has hit .194 with 11 homers and 39 RBIs in 130 games.

"Marc is a disciplined hitter who brings left-handed power to our club,'' Rays baseball operations VP Erik Neander said in a statement. "He's a good fit for our present roster and we expect him to help us against right-handed pitching, primarily at first base." …

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Senior VP Mark Fernandez resigns, says it was 'time for something new"

Rays senior vice president/chief sales officer Mark Fernandez resigned Thursday after 10 years with the team.

Fernandez said he has no new job lined up and wished the Rays well.

"For me, it was time for something new,'' he said.

Fernandez said the Rays struggles with majors-low attendance and the lack of progress in getting a new stadium did not factor into his decision.

"Oh gosh, I never even thought about that,'' he said. ""Truly, truly that wasn't a factor. ... Completely a non-factor.''

Fernandez said there was no one specific reason for his decision or the mid-season timing of it.

"We were at a point where for me it just felt like the right time,'' he said. "That was after conversation with the team and with my family. It was just the time. That's all I can tell you. I wish I had a more thoughtful answer to give you.''

Fernandez, a Tampa native, said he plans to stay in the Tampa Bay area and will remain heavily involved in community and charitable causes. He said he is no rush to find a new job. …

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Rays a hit on the Runway to benefit Children's Dream Fund

Rays INF Jake Elmore and Mark, one of the Dream Children, showed off their runway moves,

STEVE KOVICH / TAMPA BAY RAYS

Rays INF Jake Elmore and Mark, one of the Dream Children, showed off their runway moves,

18 Rays players, coaches Rocco Baldelli and Derek Shelton, and baseball operatoins president Matt Silverman, plus several of their significant others, took part Wednesday in the Rays on the Runway fashion show, strutting their stuff to benefit the Children's Dream Fund. The event was held at the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront and drew a large crowd.

 

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Prospects Richie Shaffer, Blake Snell chosen for Futures Game

Richie Shaffer, pictured batting for Class-A Charlotte in 2013, has been a hit since a recent promotion to Triple-A Durham, hitting .309 with 9 homers and 18 RBIs in 23 games for the Bulls.

Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Richie Shaffer, pictured batting for Class-A Charlotte in 2013, has been a hit since a recent promotion to Triple-A Durham, hitting .309 with 9 homers and 18 RBIs in 23 games for the Bulls.

Two of the Rays top prospects - 3B Richie Shaffer and LHP Blake Snell - were named to the U.S. roster for the All-Star Futures Game on July 12 in Cincinnati.

Shaffer, their 2012 first-round pick, has been a hit since a recent promotion to Triple-A Durham, hitting .309 with 9 homers and 18 RBIs in 23 games for the Bulls. He started the season back at Double-A Montgomery, where he hit .262 with 7 homers and 27 RBIs in 39 games.

Snell, a 2011 compensation round pick, earned headlines when he began this season with a 46-inning scoreless streak that started at advanced Class A Charlotte and continued with a promotion to Double-A Montgomery. Overall, he is 7-2 with a 1.22 ERA in 13 games (11 starts) with 88 strikeouts in 73 2/3 innings.

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Watch Josh Donaldson's spectacular catch in foul territory

Third baseman Josh Donaldson of the Toronto Blue Jays throws out Brandon Guyer  during the third inning.

Getty Images

Third baseman Josh Donaldson of the Toronto Blue Jays throws out Brandon Guyer during the third inning.

After Blue Jays pitcher Marco Estrada had retired the first 21 Rays in order Wednesday afternon, Toronto third baseman Josh Donaldson made a spectacular play on a foul ball, putting Estrada one out closer to a potential perfect game.

With no outs in the eighth inning, Donaldson ran and dove — Derek Jeter style — several rows into the stands to snare David DeJesus' foul pop.

One batter later, Donaldson made another fine play, barehanding Logan Forsythe's bouncer down the line and firing to first. But Forsythe barely beat the throw (a call confirmed by replay review), giving the Rays their first baserunner of the game.

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For starters, Rays vs. Jays in a high noon showdown

UPDATE, 11:29: Cash said it was just a day off for Souza, wanting to give him the benefit of Thursday's off-day as well. ... The Rays are 2 games ahead in the AL East for the first time since May 17, 2011 ...  The Rays set their rotation for the Red Sox series, with RHP Alex Colome on Friday, RHP Matt Andriese on Saturday and RHP Chris Archer on Sunday.

Jays lineup:
Reyes ss
Donaldson 3b
Bautista rf
Encarnacion 1b
Navarro c
Martin dh
Colabello lf
Pillar cf
Goins 2b
Estrada p

DEVELOPING: Coming off Tuesday night's dominating performance by Chris Archer, the Rays wrap up their series with the Jays today with a 12:10 game.

RHP Nathan Karns will be on the mound for the Rays, who have a two-game lead in the AL East. The Jays are starting RHP Marco Estrada.

OF Steven Souza Jr. is not in the Rays lineup today, with Brandon Guyer starting in RF.

Today's game is not being televised by Sun Sports.

Rays lineup:

Kiermaier cf
Butler dh
Longoria 3b
DeJesus lf
Forsythe 2b
Cabrera ss
Guyer rf
Elmore 1b
Casali c
Karns p

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Matt Moore to make one more rehab start, could rejoin Rays rotation next week

Matt Moore, a 2013 All-Star, tried to convince the Rays he was ready after he threw 92 pitches Sunday for Durham in his fourth rehab start.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Matt Moore, a 2013 All-Star, tried to convince the Rays he was ready after he threw 92 pitches Sunday for Durham in his fourth rehab start.

LHP Matt Moore is scheduled to make one more rehab start Friday for Triple-A Durham before rejoining the Rays' rotation for his first start since April 7, 2014.

"I'm ready right now," Moore said after throwing a bullpen session Tuesday afternoon at Tropicana Field.

Moore, a 2013 All-Star, tried to convince the Rays he was ready after he threw 92 pitches Sunday for Durham in his fourth rehab start. Moore said he told the team that he would be ready to start Friday or Saturday, if needed. But Moore could tell from the look in team officials' eyes that they wanted to be cautious as he nears his return from Tommy John surgery.

"That's why we have people to manage us," Moore said. "That's why we have that group that leads our organization. There's certain things that they see that I can't."

Manager Kevin Cash said the team is excited that Moore feels ready to go. If all goes well in Moore's next rehab start, he would be in line to start next Wednesday against the Indians.

"That'll probably be the biggest boost we've had all year, getting one of our pitchers back," Cash said.

 

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For starters, Rays vs. Jays, with Chris Archer on the mound

All-Star candidate Chris Archer (8-4, 2.18 ERA) will start for the Rays.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

All-Star candidate Chris Archer (8-4, 2.18 ERA) will start for the Rays.

UPDATE, 5:21: The Rays recalled RHP Kirby Yates from Triple-A Durham. He takes the roster spot of LHP Enny Romero, who was optioned back to Durham after Monday night's game.

RHP Erasmo Ramirez did not throw his bullpen session today, as originally planned. Manager Kevin Cash said Ramirez will throw his next bullpen in two or three days. Thursday's day off allows the Rays to use pitchers on normal rest. Cash said Ramirez could rejoin the back end of the Rays' rotation early next week.

It's an interesting day for Tampa Bay athletes at the Trop. Lightning players Ben Bishop, Steven Stamkos, Alex Killorn and Braydon Coburn took batting practice before the game, and Bucs star defensnive lineman Gerald McCoy was also hanging around.

Today's lineups:

Rays

Kevin Kiermaier CF

Joey Butler DH

Evan Longoria 3B

Logan Forsythe 2B

Steven Souza Jr. RF

Asdrubal Cabrera SS

Brandon Guyer LF

Jake Elmore 1B

Rene Rivera C

Chris Archer RHP

Blue Jays

Jose Reyes SS

Josh Donaldson 3B

Jose Bautista RF

Edwin Encarnacion 1B

Dioner Navarro DH

Russell Martin C

Ezequiel Carrera LF

Kevin Pillar CF

Ryan Goins 2B

R.A. Dickey RHP …

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