Chris Archer, coming off his first win of the season on Monday, will be on the mound for the Rays against a Jays lineup that beat him on opening day.
UPDATE, 4:17: Cash said he needs to find ways to get Guyer involved more since he has been swinging well and a number of Rays are struggling. ... He also said he is leaning towards making Souza the No. 5 hitter, which means dropping Jennings to 7 when they face a lefty. .... Boxberger threw a 30-pitch bullpen and will throw another early next week and then advance to two live batting practice sessions. ... Cobb and Whitley also threw bullpen sessions.
Blue Jays lineup: Saunders lf Donaldson 3b Bautista rf Encarnacion dh Tulowitzki ss Smoak 1b Pillar cf Goins 2b Thole c Happ p
DEVELOPING: After another frustrating loss on Friday, the Rays take on the Blue Jays again tonight at 6:10.
All-Star ace RHP Chris Archer, coming off his first win of the season on Monday, will be on the mound for the Rays against a Jays lineup that beat him on opening day.
LHP J.A. Happ, who has given the Rays trouble in the past, is starting for the Jays,
The Rays have their usual heavy right-handed lineup in place, though with Desmond Jennings (0-for-16, 1-for-20) dropped behind Steven Souza Jr., who is getting a DH day.
Former AL All-Star reliever Grant Balfour has decided to officially retire, ending a 19-year pro career.
"I had a pretty good career,'' Balfour told the Tampa Bay Times on Friday. "I was lucky to play for such a long time. .. I got to do a lot of things. ... It was definitely a lot of fun.''
The Australian native pitched parts of 12 seasons in the majors, making the 2013 AL All-Star team when with Oakland and five trips to the postseason, including the Rays' 2008 run to the World Series. He last pitched for the Rays in April 2015, and after being released made a brief comeback attempt with Triple-A Durham.
Balfour, 38, read some remarks he had composed:
"I want to thank firstly my family for their support throughout my career. If not for them I would never have had the opportunities that I got.
"Secondly I want to thank every organization who I played for during my career - the manager and coaches who helped me develop into the player that I was, and also the teammates I played with. …
Tampa Bay Rays right fielder Steven Souza Jr. flips his helmet after grounding out to end the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Baltimore Orioles in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg on Wednesday. The Baltimore Orioles beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1.
Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. made a spectacular running/diving/flying through the air catch in Wednesday's game against the Orioles, earning high praises from his teammates. Manager Kevin Cash provided the ultimate compliment with a nod toward Gold- and Platinum Glove award-winning CF Kevin Kiermaier, saying it was "KK-esque.'' And Kiermaier told Souza Jr. it was "Platinum-ish.''
Here, thanks to mlb.com, is video of the catch with the calls by Dewayne Staats on Fox Sports Sun and Dave Wills on WDAE 620-AM and the rest of the Rays radio network:
UPDATE, 4:55: RHP Brad Boxberger threw 25 pitches off the mound in what he considered his first real bullpen session, aiming for a mid-May return from core muscle repair surgery. ...
Cash said he has been pleased with how the offense has come around though it needs to be more efficient. ...
With a win tonight, the Rays would be over .500 for the first time since Aug. 22. ...
The Rays, per Elias, have scored 15 of their last 18 runs with two outs, and overall 42 of 70, the highest percentage (60) in the majors.
Here is the Orioles lineup: Rickard rf Machado 3b Jones cf Davis 1b Trumbo dh Wieters c Hardy ss Reimold lf Schoop 2b Tillman p
UPDATE, 3:10: Hank Conger is back behind the plate for the Rays, making his first start since Saturday. Overall, Curt Casali has started 9 of the last 11 games, and replaced Conger for defensive purposes on Saturday. Controlling the running game has been an issue for Conger, as he has allowed 11 stolen bases this season and 48 straight going to early last season with Houston.
Here is the Rays lineup:
Miller ss, Longoria 3b, Dickerson dh, Jennings lf, Morrison 1b, Souza rf, Kiermaier cf, Conger c, Moore p …
UPDATE, 5:40: Manager Kevin Cash decided to make a change in the lineup, moving SS Brad Miller, who is hitting .130, to the No. 2 spot and dropping 1B Logan Morrison, hitting .080, to 6th. Cash said he would try it that way for an undetermined amount of time, hoping the different look gets one or both going. ... Miller said he was excited by the opportunity because he sees himself as a catalyst-type player. ... RHP Brad Boxberger saw his surgeon on Monday in Philadelphia and was cleared to resume full baseball activity in his return from core muscle surgery, seeking a mid- to late-May return. ... Although C Curt Casali has gotten the bulk of the playing time, Cash said Hank Conger will continue to play and is likely to start in Wednesday.
Rays lineup: Forsythe 2b Miller ss Longoria 3b Dickerson dh Jennings lf Morrison 1b Souza rf Kiermaier cf Casali c Odorizzi p
Orioles lineup: Rickard lf Jones cf Machado 3b Davis 1b Trumbo rf Hardy ss Alvarez dh Schoop 2b Joseph c Jimenez p
DEVELOPING: After Monday's 2-0 win, the Rays take on the Orioles again tonight at 7:10.
RHP Jake Odorizzi will be on the mound for the Rays, RHP Ubaldo Jimenez for the Orioles.
UPDATE, 4:45 P.M. A day after Kevin Cash indicated versatile INF Steve Pearce was making it tough on him to keep out of the lineup, the Rays manager is starting the Lakeland High alumnus -- and his right-handed bat -- against Orioles RHP Kevin Gausman.
Pearce, who had his first multi-hit game in Sunday's rout of the Yankees, starts at first in place of left-handed hitting Logan Morrison, 4-for-50 as a Ray. Cash said the thought process all along was to try and periodically finesse Pearce into the lineup against right-handers.
"Not making an excuse, but the off-days kind of put a wrinkle in things, and then we had the rainout (April 9 at Baltimore)," Cash said. "Pearce is a big part of our lineup, Logan Morrison is a big part of our lineup...it's on me to kind of balance that a little bit."
Meantime, RHP Chris Archer will try to emerge from his season-opening slump with new battery mate Curt Casali. Hank Conger, whose offensive (.182) and defensive struggles have been well-chronicled, caught Archer's first four starts of the season.
UPDATE, 12:30: Cash said it is a tough decision but in a close game he will again consider using Casali as a defensive replacement for Conger. ... Using Pearce more often - he is playing for a 4th straight day (at 3 different positions) was part of the plan - once they got past some of the early off-days, Cash said.
Yankees lineup: Ellsbury cf Gardner lf Beltran rf Teixeira 1b A-Rod dh McCann c Headley 3b Castro 2b Gregorius ss Pineda p
UPDATE, 10:03: RHP Jhan Marinez joined the team today, wearing No. 50. RHP Alex Cobb was moved to the 60-day DL to create a spot on the 40-man roster for Marinez, who was at Durham.
DEVELOPING: After a pair of frustrating losses, the Rays are playing to avoid a three-game sweep today when they face the Yankees at 1:05.
LHP Drew Smyly, who has pitched very well, will be on the mound for the Rays, hard-throwing Michael Pineda for the Yankees.
As expected, Logan Forsythe is at DH today as Steve Pearce makes a fourth straight start, today at second base.
Here is the Rays lineup:
Forsythe dh, Morrison 1b, Longoria 3b, Dickerson lf, Pearce 2b, Miller ss, Souza rf, Kiermaier cf, Casali c, Smyly p
Rays top prospect Blake Snell made an impressive big-league debut Saturday at Yankee Stadium, allowing one run over five innings and leaving with a 2-1 lead. He would not get a win however as the Yankees tied the game in the seventh.
Snell, 23, was called up to fill an open spot in the Rays rotation and showed in his cameo appearance he is worthy of the hype.
Mixing an easy 95-mph fastball with a deep-bending curve, Snell allowed just two hits and a walk while striking out six.
He looked a bit unsettled in the first, getting two outs but then walking Carlos Beltran on four pitches and allowing a 1-2 single to Mark Teixeira on the corners. He got ahead of Alex Rodriguez 0-and-2, but then bounced a 1-2 pitch to Alex Rodriguez that eluded catcher Hank Conger and let Beltran score. He had another scare when Rodriguez flied to deep left, but Desmond Jennings made a leaping catch.
Snell came out much calmer and in command in second, striking out the side. For record-keeping, his first was Brian McCann looking at one of those nasty curves.
Snell got in a little bit of trouble in the third, when Jacoby Ellsbury reached on single up the middle and went to second on another wild pitch, and then out of it by retiring Brett Gardner and then Beltran.
For the day, Snell - wearing his favorite No. 4 - threw 90 pitches, 53 strikes, a quality show for the 12 relatives and friends, including his mom and girlfriend, who made the trip from Seattle.
He was the first Ray to make his big-league debut at Yankee Stadium as a starter, and the 33rd visiting pitcher overall. And he was the third Rays pitcher to make his debut in the Bronx, following Bobby Seay (2001) and David Price (2008). …
* He will be the first Ray to make his big-league debut at Yankee Stadium as a starter, and the 33rd visiting pitcher overall.
* He is the third Rays pitcher to make his debut in the Bronx, following Bobby Seay (2001) and David Price (2008).
* At 23, he is the youngest Rays starter since Enny Romero, who was 22.
* He will be the 27th pitcher to start for the Rays since 2008, fewest in the majors during that span. The Giants are next at 29. The Dodgers have used the most at 59.
* He will wear No. 4 - his longtime favorite - and is the first Rays pitcher to sport single digits. Hideo Nomo had the previous lowest number at 11.
* He will have 12 friends and relatives in the stands, all making the trip from Seattle.
UPDATE, 11:55: Cash said he wanted to give Longoria either Friday or Saturday as a DH day and opted for the day game. Logan Forsythe may be the DH on Sunday. ... Cash continued to say there wasn't much the Rays could have done about the steal of home last night except for Moore to check on Ellsbury before starting his windup because they have to let the pitchers do what is most comfortable. ... Here is the Yankees lineup: …
The Rays are calling up top prospect LHP Blake Snell to make his major-league debut at Yankee Stadium on Saturday.
UPDATE, 5:33: Manager Kevin Cash said the plan is for Snell to make one start and then go back to Triple-A. Cash said he earned the call-up, and doesn't expect him to be rattled.
Also, Snell will wear No. 4, the first Rays pitcher in single digits. The lowest previous number for a Tampa Bay pitcher was 11, worn by Hideo Nomo.
DEVELOPING: The Rays are calling up top prospect LHP Blake Snell to make his major-league debut at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, the Tampa Bay Times has learned.
Snell is 1-1, 2,51 in three starts for Triple-A Durham, striking out 21 in 14 1/2 innings while allowing 15 hits and seven walks.
In the midst of playing nine straight, the Rays needed a fifth starter for Saturday. They had been planning on using RHP Erasmo Ramirez, but he was needed in relief on Thursday in Boston.
Snell, 23, made a rapid rise through the Rays system last year, moving from advanced Class A Charlotte to Double-A Montgomery to Durham, and was being considered for a September callup but the Rays fell out of the playoff race.
Snell, responding to a text on his flight to New York, said he was thrilled to make this debut on such a big stage. …
The Rays actually have done well against Price since trading him to the Tigers in July 21, 2014, as he has a 1-2, 4.26 mark against them,
UPDATE, 12:01: Archer said today he is not worried about his slow start and confident the "root" of his problems are tied to trying to be too fine with his pitches. ... Cash said both Guyer and Pearce eventiually will get some starts vs. RHPs, but at this point he wants to stick to the original plan because it is so early in the season and there have been so many off-days.
UPDATE, 10:33: Rays lineup, as expected, heavy with right-handed hitters:
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