Sunday, December 17, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Chris Archer done talking about David Ortiz

BALTIMORE — RHP Chris Archer is typically a man of many words, one of the most thoughtful and loquacious players in the Rays' clubhouse.

But he was pointedly short in his comments about facing Boston DH David Ortiz tonight for the first time since they exchanged words — via media interviews — in late July.

That was when Ortiz flipped his bat after hitting a homer. Archer spoke about Ortiz acting like he was "bigger than the game," and Ortiz questioned whether Archer had been around long enough to speak out.

Archer on Wednesday said — in not so many words — that he hadn't talked to Ortiz since, had "no expectations" of further issues, was over it and didn't know if Ortiz was.

"I'm not going to say anything about it," he said.

His focus, he insisted, will be on pitching: "Like always, 100 percent — intent, focus, pitch execution, period."

The Rays and Red Sox have a long history of brawls, scuffles, accusations and other such on- and off-field incidents. David Price also had issues with Ortiz this year.

Rays manager Joe Maddon said he had not given any thought to the possibility of extracurricular activities from either side in the four-game series. "I have a short-term memory when it comes to stuff like that," he said. "Sometimes players carry it a little deeper, longer; I get that. But I'm not wanting that. I hope it doesn't happen."

SMYLY LIMITED: LHP Drew Smyly has pitched well in his first five starts since coming from Detroit in the Price trade, his 1.50 ERA the best of anyone in his first five Tampa Bay starts.

But the 25-year-old may pitch only two or three more times this season. The Rays want to limit what already is a career-high total of 1411/3 innings. The Rays seek to cap innings increases for young pitchers to 20 to 30 percent in a year; Smyly threw 117 innings in 2012, then 76 in 2013 working exclusively in relief. "This is uncharted territory," Maddon said. "In a perfect world, 150, 160 (pitches) looks like the magic number."

HELP ON THE WAY: Maddon said four-five players — "the usual suspects" — would be added when rosters expand Monday. Two are expected to be OF David DeJesus, coming off the disabled list, and C Curt Casali. Two will be relievers from Triple A. RHP Brandon Gomes seems likely; other possibilities include LHP C.J. Riefenhauser (who is on the 40-man roster), and RHP Steve Geltz and LHP Adam Liberatore (who are not). The Bulls also have RHP Josh Lueke. The Rays plan to add a starting pitcher but may wait because the Bulls are in the playoffs. A few others are likely to be added when the Bulls are done.

'LONGO' LEGGING IT: Maddon said chatter from scouts that 3B Evan Longoria's lack of power is the product of not using his legs or lower half properly, and an accompanying insinuation he may be injured, is not valid.

"I couldn't disagree more," Maddon said, noting a shift in Longoria's approach to "push" the ball more to the right side. "Whenever you do that, your bottom half is not going to work like it would as if you were hitting the ball straightaway or you were pulling the ball.

"What I'm hearing is that they're saying he's hurt or his bottom's not working as well. I think it's been more approach, what he's been thinking. … His legs are fine; his bottom half is fine. I just think the approach was different, and now he's getting back to where he had been." And on cue, Longoria pulled a homer to left in the first inning.

MISCELLANY: Short-season A Hudson Valley secured a playoff spot with a 5-3 win over Connecticut. Class A Bowling Green has to wait another day after an 8-1 loss to South Bend. … Saturday is the annual "mystery ball" fundraiser benefitting All Children's Hospital.

Comments
Rays’ trade silence likely a short-lived phenomenon

Rays’ trade silence likely a short-lived phenomenon

LAKE BUENA VISTA — There were a lot of reasons the Rays didn’t start the process of trading some of their bigger-name, higher-paid players at last week’s winter meetings.Most obvious was them not finding the just-right deal to move closer Alex Colome...
Published: 12/16/17
No big deal for Rays at winter meetings, but it’s still coming

No big deal for Rays at winter meetings, but it’s still coming

LAKE BUENA VISTA — Here’s the one thing we definitely know:Rays officials headed home from the winter meetings and back across I-4 Thursday without making deals to trade any of their bigger-name, higher-paid players. Not closer Alex Colome, not third...
Published: 12/14/17
Are Tampa Bay Rays going to make a major deal involving Alex Colome, others? Well …

Are Tampa Bay Rays going to make a major deal involving Alex Colome, others? Well …

UPDATE, 4:02: It doesn't sound like the Rays and Cardinals will be making a deal today, Derrick Goold writing for the St. Louis Post Dispatch that Cardinals execs "leave the Walt Disney Dolphin resort with good feel for what Tampa Bay would be willin...
Published: 12/14/17
Rays re-sign pitcher Jonny Venters, among 13 invited to spring training

Rays re-sign pitcher Jonny Venters, among 13 invited to spring training

LAKE BUENA VISTA — LHP Jonny Venters got as far as Triple A in September. Now the former All-Star is positioned to make it all the way back to the majors for the first time since 2012, re-signing with the Rays and headlining Thursday’s announcement o...
Published: 12/14/17
Veteran Jonny Venters, prospect Joe McCarthy among 13 Tampa Bay Rays spring invitees

Veteran Jonny Venters, prospect Joe McCarthy among 13 Tampa Bay Rays spring invitees

Inspiring veteran LHP Jonny Venters and intriguing prospect 1B/OF Joe McCarthy are among 13 players invited to major-league spring training camp with the Rays.Others coming as a result of signing minor-league contracts with invites are: RHP R.J. Alan...
Published: 12/14/17
Tampa Bay Rays lose RHP Burch Smith in Rule 5 draft, keep Nick Ciuffo

Tampa Bay Rays lose RHP Burch Smith in Rule 5 draft, keep Nick Ciuffo

The Rays lost RHP Burch Smith in Thursday's Rule 5 draft but were happy to see him get an opportunity in Kansas City.They also were pleased to hang on to C Nick Ciuffo, who was left exposed but not selected.Smith, 27, was acquired from the Padres as ...
Published: 12/14/17
Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 4

Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 4

UPDATE, 11:09: RHP Steve Cishek, who was a very effective addition to the Rays pen last season, has reunited with pitching coach Jim Hickey, agreeing to a deal with the Cubs.UPDATE, 10:40: Like most teams, Rays officials are heading out of the meetin...
Published: 12/14/17
Disney-Fox deal gives ESPN control of local cable rights to Rays, Lightning games

Disney-Fox deal gives ESPN control of local cable rights to Rays, Lightning games

As part of its deal to buy a massive package of 21st Century Fox assets, Disney will acquire Fox Sports Regional Networks, which control the local cable rights to a slew of professional teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa Bay Lightning.Assu...
Published: 12/14/17
Tampa Bay Rays making progress in trade talks

Tampa Bay Rays making progress in trade talks

Without getting into specifics – especially the who and the where – Rays officials are for the first time talking optimistically about making a trade before the winter meetings end Thursday.Speaking at around 5:15, senior VP Chaim Bloom s...
Published: 12/13/17

Winter meetings journal: Rays trade for money to sign top international free agent

LAKE BUENA VISTA — While most of the business conducted at the meetings impacts the big-league team one way or another, the Rays are working to finalize a move they hope pays off big sometime in the 2020s.In trading Wednesday to acquire $1 million in...
Published: 12/13/17