Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Carlos Peña feels right about return to Tampa Bay Rays

PORT CHARLOTTE — Carlos Peña felt good at the plate and comfortable at first base.

But most of all Tuesday, he felt at home.

Peña played his first game since re-signing with the Rays, and the two well-struck flyouts and the handful of plays in the field in the 3-2 loss to the Twins were bonuses. As was the ovation from the crowd before his first at-bat.

"It felt really good to be out there," he said.

Manager Joe Maddon held Peña, 33, out of the first three days of games so he could be sure he was ready, and Peña, who starred for the Rays from 2007-10, said he was.

He worked counts, he moved briskly around the infield, he went to the mound to calm pitchers. "It just felt good getting back in the action," he said.

NIEMANN'S DEBUT: RHP Jeff Niemann didn't start well, allowing two singles then throwing away a pickoff attempt, but was pleased to limit the damage to one run. He ended up throwing 30 pitches (18 strikes) over two innings.

"I think it went very well," he said. "It was good to go out there and get the full two innings."

Niemann and Wade Davis are battling to stay in the rotation, though Maddon said again Tuesday that rookie LHP Matt Moore is not assured a spot, either. "I thought Jeff threw the ball really well," Maddon said. "I liked him a lot today."

WHAT, HIM WORRY? Maddon said he was not concerned at all by the first-ever 0-4 spring start: "Once the hitting comes around we're going to be just fine."

LONGO "IMPATIENT": 3B Evan Longoria took dry (no ball) swings to test his bruised right hand but is resigned to needing at least a few more days before getting into games.

"It's slowly going in the right direction," he said. "I'm as impatient as everybody. My tendency is to push it, but I think right now the smart decision is to just let it run its course. All it is is swelling, getting the swelling out of there."

Longoria, hit on the hand by a pitch March 1, said there are no plans for additional X-rays or concern of further injury. "There's no breaks," he said.

He hopes to progress to hitting off a tee and swinging at flipped balls today but would still need to go through a full batting practice before playing.

SHIELDS UP: RHP James Shields seems likely to start the April 6 season opener against the Yankees; today he'll make his spring debut against them in Tampa. "I'm just going to work on what I need to work on," he said. "I've still got a few kinks to work out as far as my mechanics go."

GAME DETAILS: Niemann's errant pickoff and an ill-advised flip toss by SS Sean Rodriguez led to an early 3-0 deficit. "He had other options and he just chose the most difficult play to make," Maddon said of Rodriguez. … The Rays closed to 3-2 in the eighth when Stephen Vogt doubled, Elliot Johnson's fly to left was misplayed and Jose Lobaton singled. … Prospects Ryan Reid and Marquis Fleming teamed for four innings of one-hit relief.

MISCELLANY: The first summer concert was announced — a triple bill of ZZ Top, Gretchen Wilson and 3 Doors Down following the June 17 game. … Attendance was 4,023. … Three of the Rays' four losses have been to the Twins, but Maddon noted with nine spring meetings "we still have a chance to win the season series."

Carlos Peña takes a throw at first base in his first spring game since his return to the Rays. “It felt really good to be out there,” said Peña, who hit the ball hard twice and got an ovation before his first at-bat.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times

Carlos Peña takes a throw at first base in his first spring game since his return to the Rays. “It felt really good to be out there,” said Peña, who hit the ball hard twice and got an ovation before his first at-bat.

Carlos Peña feels right about return to Tampa Bay Rays 03/06/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 6, 2012 11:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays morning after: An up-and down day for Jose De Leon

    Blogs

    Rays RHP Jose De Leon had a busy Monday - getting called up to join the Rays for the first time and making his way from Pawtucket, R.I., to Boston and the flying to Texas, working 2 2/3 eventful innings to get the W in the 10-8 victory over the Rangers, and then getting optioned back to Triple-A.

    Jose De Leon follows through in the sixth inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, on May 29, 2017.
  2. Tiger Woods says medication, not alcohol, led to DUI arrest in Florida

    Public Safety

    Players arriving for a tournament this week at Muirfield Village might notice a framed picture of Tiger Woods with a resplendent smile and bright red shirt. He's posed there with the trophy, an image that embodies the excitement he once brought to golf.

    This image provided by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office on Monday, May 29, 2017, shows Tiger Woods. Police in Florida say Tiger Woods was been arrested for DUI.  [Palm Beach County Sheriff's office via AP]
  3. Four key games that could decide Bucs' success in 2017

    Blogs

    The Bucs finished so close to making the playoffs in 2016 -- literally flip-flop the last two results and have them beat the Saints and lose to the Panthers and they're in as a wild card with the same 9-7 record -- that it's difficult to say with any certainty what will happen in the 2017 season.

    Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston, shown celebrating a touchdown against the Giants in 2015, will face New York again this fall in Week 4 in Tampa.
  4. Frank Deford wrote with sincerity, giving depth to complicated sports figures

    Human Interest

    Frank Deford practically invented the notion of multimedia: He exported his voice to radio, TV and film, and if you didn't know him you might have thought he was an actor, because he wore purple suits and looked like Clark Gable. But Frank, who died Sunday at age 78, was a writer above all things, and an important …

    In a 1991 photo, Frank Deford holds a proof of The National Sports Daily, of which he was editor and publisher [Associated Press]
  5. Clarity coming this week on Florida Gators, Malik Zaire

    Blogs

    After months of speculation, we could finally get some clarity this week on the Florida Gators and graduate transfer quarterback Malik Zaire.

    SEC flags outside the hotel of last year's spring meetings in Destin. This year's meetings could have a huge impact on the Florida Gators' season.