Thursday, June 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Burke Badenhop pulling ahead of Brandon Gomes for final spot in Tampa Bay Rays bullpen

FORT MYERS — With the rotation resolved, the Rays are now close to picking between Burke Badenhop and Brandon Gomes for the final spot in their bullpen.

Gomes is making it an easy decision. He had another rough outing in Tuesday's 8-0 loss — six batters, four walks, one hit — while Badenhop continued his strong spring with two solid innings.

"There's never a good time to have three outings in a row and not throw well, but especially toward the end," Gomes said. "But I'm feeling good and I'm confident I'm still very close to where I need to be."

Gomes, a key contributor last season as a rookie, had offseason back surgery and has not regained full velocity nor command. In 5 1/3 innings over six games, he has allowed eight hits and seven walks and has a 15.19 ERA.

"He's just a little bit off; that's the best way I can describe it," manager Joe Maddon said. "His velocity is probably down a tick and the breaking ball, they're not chasing it."

Badenhop, acquired from the Marlins, has pitched 9 2/3 innings in big-league exhibitions, allowing 12 hits, striking out 11, walking two, with a 2.79 ERA. "I felt like I've been in pretty decent control of my innings," he said.

FULD OUT: OF Sam Fuld will seek a second opinion on a tendon issue in his right wrist from specialist Dr. Thomas Graham at the Cleveland Clinic, then decide between rehab and surgery. Either way, he is unlikely to start the season but expects to be back at some point. "There's a couple ways we can do it," he said.

UPTON UPDATE: CF B.J. Upton (sore back) said he feels better and is confident he will be ready for the April 6 opener. Maddon said he was glad to hear that but that Upton, who has played only part of one minor-league game since his March 14 collision with Desmond Jennings, has to rejoin the lineup soon.

"He's got to get out there and we have to deem him ready to play, too, medically and physically," Maddon said. "He just can't go play. He's had very little spring training. We've got to get him actually playing the game of baseball." Though Upton was swinging well before the injury, Maddon said, "that platform's gone."

MORE MEDICAL: Jennings (sore shoulder) has been throwing the past two days and, after returning to big-league action as the DH Tuesday, said he expects to be back in the outfield tonight or Thursday. … SS Reid Brignac (plantar fasica issue, right foot) played in a minor-league game again Tuesday and said he hopes to rejoin the Rays tonight.

MISCELLANY: Opening day starter RHP James Shields worked seven innings in a Triple-A game, allowing one run on five hits and striking out 12. … The Rays were held to three hits in falling to 7-15-3 for the spring. … There was no action yet on moving RHP Matt Bush, jailed on DUI charges, off the 40-man roster and onto the restricted list.

Comments
Missed time a good mental reset for Rays’ Matt Duffy

Missed time a good mental reset for Rays’ Matt Duffy

ST. PETERSBURG — Missing all of 2017 might have been the absolute worst thing for Matt Duffy.Frustratingly idled as he eventually recovered and rehabbed from ongoing left heel issues, he couldn't play the game he loved, couldn't show the Rays o...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Rays journal: 7 pitches, 3 straight homers prove too much in loss to Astros

Rays journal: 7 pitches, 3 straight homers prove too much in loss to Astros

HOUSTON — The Rays were engaged in a third straight tight, go-either-way battle with the defending champ Astros on Wednesday.Until they were not.A brutal seven-pitch sequence by starter Nathan Eovaldi changed everything, as he gave up three con...
Published: 06/21/18
Rays see the results of keeping a good, young core group together

Rays see the results of keeping a good, young core group together

HOUSTON — The Rays saw a lot on the weeklong trip that ended with Wednesday's game against that Astros, beyond the street hustlers prowling in Times Square and the urban cowboys and girls parading through H-town.There was an impressive debuting...
Published: 06/20/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Astros game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Astros game

RHP Nathan Eovaldi said before his rough start Wednesday against the Astros that he was pitching better than his numbers showed. Well … In four starts since his six no-hit innings debut, he's 0-3 with a 6.17 ERA, allowing eight homers, four Wed...
Published: 06/20/18
For starters: Rays at Astros, with a different look

For starters: Rays at Astros, with a different look

UPDATE, 6:43: Cash said the key to how the pieced the lineup together was the opportunity to give Cron (who is struggling) and Duffy (who is doing well) back to back days off. … Looking ahead to the weekend, the Rays will use RHP Ryne Stanek as...
Published: 06/20/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Kevin Kiermaier returns to the Rays

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Kevin Kiermaier returns to the Rays

Times sports columnist Tom Jones joins Rick Stroud to discuss Kevin Kiermaier's return to the Rays, whether Victor Hedman should win the Norris Trophy for the NHL's best defenseman, Bucs expectations for this season and Barry Trotz's next c...
Published: 06/20/18
How the Rays really won Tuesday’s game over Astros

How the Rays really won Tuesday’s game over Astros

There was some interesting inside baseball elements that factored into the late innings of Tuesday's 2-1 Rays win.* First, on Matt Duffy's double off reliever Hector Rondon to lead off the eighth.Duffy said he doesn't like "to guess" what a pitcher i...
Published: 06/20/18
Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier returns, with energy to spare

Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier returns, with energy to spare

HOUSTON — Energy.That's what Kevin Kiermaier said he felt he'd provide most in rejoining the Rays Tuesday against the Astros after missing two-plus months recovering from thumb surgery."I like to think I bring energy on both sides of the ball, ...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Rays journal: Blake Snell outlasts Justin Verlander in 2-1 win

Rays journal: Blake Snell outlasts Justin Verlander in 2-1 win

HOUSTON — The starting pitcher walked seven over seven otherwise solid innings Tuesday. That seemed weird enough for the Rays. Then the next pitcher they brought in was the one who started Monday's game. Even more bizarre.And then there was thi...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Astros

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Astros

This is how odd LHP Blake Snell's night was — he became the first pitcher to work seven or more innings and walk at least seven since Edwin Jackson threw his 149-pitch, eight-walk no-hitter at the Rays on June 25, 2010.If you weren't aware of t...
Published: 06/19/18