Friday, July 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Ben Zobrist looks to be the Tampa Bay Rays' full-time shortstop

SEATTLE — What began as an "experiment" is looking more like it will be a standard assignment as Ben Zobrist started at shortstop Monday for the fourth time in five games.

As well as Zobrist has played, as much as he has enjoyed the move back to his original position and as improved as it makes the Rays' overall lineup, why wouldn't manager Joe Maddon keep putting him out there on at least a semi-regular basis?

"There's no reason to not," Maddon said.

Maddon's only concern seems to be if Zobrist can maintain his level of play over several days.

"Zo's done a nice job; he's made the plays for me," Maddon said. "I've got to watch him. To this point, he seems to really like it. That's what I'm getting out of it. He looks really comfortable. I'm almost thinking, he's back home, that's where he began.

"With Zo, if there's any balking to be done, you can tell just conversationally with him that he's not really into it (as when he was asked to try first base). I'm not hearing any of that. He's totally into it."

Having a switch-hitting shortstop in the middle of the lineup is rare, and Maddon likes thinking about the possibilities if and when Evan Longoria returns to third base and Luke Scott to DH.

"If he's able to do that and Longo gets well, we have some nice problems," Maddon said.

DH DUTY: After deciding to not have Longoria in the lineup Monday, Maddon had to decide on a DH. He wanted Sam Fuld to play so one of the other outfielders could get off his feet, so he decided to ask, starting with CF B.J. Upton, and he agreed.

MORE MOORE: Rookie LHP Matt Moore, who starts tonight, has pitched increasingly well, going 3-0 and allowing one earned run in his past three starts. "It's a semi-snowball effect," he said. "You start out with a good game and then you roll into another one. You expect to get into that same kind of rhythm because it's easier to fall into because you just did it the last start and the start before that."

REHAB REPORT: After getting 10 at-bats over two days at advanced Class A Charlotte, Scott was free of the soreness that had been an issue in his recovery from a mild oblique strain. But he doesn't feel comfortable with his timing and swing and will play again at least tonight for Charlotte (at Bradenton), pushing his return back to the weekend series in Anaheim at the earliest.

RHP Jeff Niemann is scheduled to throw about 60 pitches tonight for the Stone Crabs in the second of four scheduled rehab starts. Niemann, out since mid May with a broken right leg, is targeted for a late August return.

MISCELLANY: With two outs Sunday, LHP J.P. Howell extended his scoreless streak to 222/3 innings, breaking the team relief record set last week by RHP Fernando Rodney. … Maddon expressed his condolences over the passing of Red Sox legend Johnny Pesky: "What a gentleman. It's a sad day in baseball and especially in Red Sox nation."

Comments
Marc Topkin: Rays should trade Chris Archer

Marc Topkin: Rays should trade Chris Archer

ST. PETERSBURG — Chris Archer wants the Rays to get going.Trade more veterans. Bring back Willy Adames and bring up the next group of kids. Get on with getting better, and get back to reaching the postseason, as they did four times over six yea...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Rays journal: Catcher needed with Wilson Ramos on DL

Rays journal: Catcher needed with Wilson Ramos on DL

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays did not have any answers Thursday about the state of their catching situation as to how long Wilson Ramos will be out and who will be added to replace him Friday against the Marlins.Ramos was placed on the DL Wednesday...
Published: 07/19/18
Dodgers land All-Star shortstop Manny Machado from Orioles

Dodgers land All-Star shortstop Manny Machado from Orioles

The Los Angeles Dodgers won the Manny Machado sweepstakes, getting the prized All-Star shortstop from the Baltimore Orioles in a trade Wednesday night. The Orioles received five prospects: outfielder Yusniel Diaz, right-handers Dean Kremer and Zach P...
Published: 07/19/18
Rays place Wilson Ramos on DL for potential extended absence, seek replacement

Rays place Wilson Ramos on DL for potential extended absence, seek replacement

ST. PETERSBURG – The Rays made the inevitable move Wednesday of placing catcher Wilson Ramos on the disabled list while still looking for a replacement.Ramos, 30, strained his left hamstring Saturday in Minnesota, which forced him out of Tuesda...
Published: 07/18/18
An all-or-nothing All-Star Game

An all-or-nothing All-Star Game

WASHINGTON — Tuesday's All-Star Game was exciting, dramatic, historic — and perfectly representative of the 2018 season, what with the unprecedented power show, display of blazing arms creating a fan club (25 strikeouts), and the emotion ...
Published: 07/18/18
Rays reinstate discount pizza promotion with Papa John’s after corporate action

Rays reinstate discount pizza promotion with Papa John’s after corporate action

The Rays reinstated the discount pizza promotion with Papa John's based on actions taken by corporate officials after the ouster of founder John Schnatter following reports he used a racial slur.The Rays had suspended the promotion, which offers half...
Published: 07/18/18
MLB: Brewers’ Josh Hader must take sensitivity training after tweets

MLB: Brewers’ Josh Hader must take sensitivity training after tweets

WASHINGTON — Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Josh Hader will be required to go through sensitivity training after years-old racist and homophobic tweets of his resurfaced during the All-Star Game, Major League Baseball said Wednesday. MLB announced that th...
Published: 07/18/18
MLB player poll: Rays (and Marlins) fans are ‘the worst’

MLB player poll: Rays (and Marlins) fans are ‘the worst’

Rays fans and Tropicana Field are routinely ripped by media and out-of-towners, and the usual defense is the critics don't really know what they're talking about.Well, now the major-league players have spoken.Or at least some of them.Rays fans shared...
Published: 07/18/18
Record 10 homers as AL wins All-Star Game, 8-6, in 10 innings

Record 10 homers as AL wins All-Star Game, 8-6, in 10 innings

WASHINGTON — A record 10 home runs . A slew of strikeouts. The all-or-nothing All-Star Game mirrored what baseball has become. Astros teammates Alex Bregman and George Springer homered on consecutive pitches to begin the 10th inning, and the American...
Published: 07/18/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Blake Snell’s All-Star debut

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Blake Snell’s All-Star debut

The Rays' Blake Snell makes his All-Star debut with a memorable first pitch, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says he likes the Rays' new stadium plans, and there is controversy at the Home Run Derby.Plus, Florida head coach Dan Mullen says the Gators ha...
Published: 07/18/18