Thursday, November 23, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

David Price records 1,000th strikeout

RECOMMENDED READING


ST. PETERSBURG — LHP David Price had another career achievement Friday night, recording his 1,000th strikeout.

His milestone came in the top of the second, when he struck out DH Chris Carter on three pitches for his third of the night. A sign flashed on the scoreboard to honor Price, and the announced crowd of 13,961 responded with a standing ovation.

"It's cool," Price said. "It is, absolutely. You can't deny that."

Price joins former teammate James Shields as the only pitchers in club history with at least 1,000 strikeouts. Price accomplished that feat in 12 fewer appearances and 16 fewer starts than Shields.

Price smiled but didn't have much time to thank the crowd — he had a runner in scoring position to worry about. Price got two outs on the next two batters to escape the jam.

CLOSING TIME: A day after RHP Grant Balfour threw a perfect, three-strikeout ninth inning, Maddon didn't hold back praise for his former closer.

"(Thursday) was the best he's thrown all year," Maddon said. "Period."

Though Balfour has pitched well since losing the closer's title after giving up five runs for the second time earlier this month, Maddon said he doesn't plan to abandon his closer-by-committee approach and that any save opportunities Balfour gets will come on their own and will be unplanned.

"If he just follows his lead from (Thursday), he'll be okay very quickly," Maddon said.

BACK TO BASICS: The Rays wrapped up this week's spring training in June with more fielding and hitting drills. They ranged from hitting smaller balls shot from a shorter distance to 3B Evan Longoria taking grounders from his knees.

"It's just a matter of sharpening the mental sword, and I liked it," Maddon said.

"Let's see if there's any carryover, a little bump from it."

COSTLY STEAL: The Rays' rally in the eighth ended quickly after C Jose Molina hit a leadoff single. Pinch-runner Sean Rodriguez saw a pitch in the dirt and took off for second but was thrown out.

Maddon said he doesn't have a problem with his players stealing in that situation as long as they know they'll make it.

"You have to be safe," he said. "It's not a maybe play. It's a definite play."

MEDICAL MATTERS: The Rays expect OF David DeJesus to return around the All-Star break after he landed on the DL on Thursday with a fractured left hand. RHP Jeremy Hellickson's rehab start Sunday for Triple-A Durham is scheduled to last six innings or 90 pitches. RHP Taylor Guerrieri, a 2011 first-round pick, said via Twitter he threw to hitters Friday for the first time since having Tommy John elbow surgery in July.

MISCELLANY: Both teams will cele­brate tonight's Turn Back the Clock Night with retro-style uniforms. … George Springer's third-inning home run for Houston was the 23rd in Tropicana Field history to hit the D-ring catwalk and first since Texas' Mitch Moreland in May 2011. … SS Yunel Escobar has the Rays' only two hits with runners in scoring position over the past three games. … Molina had his second multi-hit game of the season and stole his first base since June 2013. … With the Rays formally announcing the signing of their third-round pick, LHP Brock Burke, they've inked all 11 of their picks from the first 10 rounds and 32 of their 41 draftees overall.

Times staff writer Matt Baker can be reached at [email protected]

Rays' strikeout leaders

Player No. Sea.Inn.

James Shields 1,250 7 1,4542/3

David Price 1,0097 1,0882/3

Scott Kazmir 874 6 834

Matt Garza 467 3 5921/3

Jeremy Hellickson 409 4 5761/3

Jeff Niemann 409 5 5441/3

Comments
Presenting the 2017 Sports Turkey of the Year

Presenting the 2017 Sports Turkey of the Year

Happy Turkey Day!Today is a day of tradition.The Macy’s parade. Turkey and stuffing. The Lions and Cowboys.And our annual "Turkey of the Year.’’It’s a tradition started by my former colleague at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the brilliant columnist P...
Published: 11/22/17
Rays INF Matt Duffy has to say big goodbye to 27-pound cat Skeeter

Rays INF Matt Duffy has to say big goodbye to 27-pound cat Skeeter

When the Rays acquired INF Matt Duffy from the Giants during the 2016 season, we also heard about the giant and somewhat famous cat he had, an up-to-27-pounder named Skeeter.Duffy announced over the weekend on Instagram that the family had to have Sk...
Published: 11/21/17
Rays agonize over which prospects to protect on 40-man roster

Rays agonize over which prospects to protect on 40-man roster

ST. PETERSBURG — That the Rays went right up to Monday’s 8 p.m. deadline in deciding to add seven players to the 40-man roster, and that a couple they left off seem to be potential Rule 5 draft losses, was apparently a good thing."There’s always some...
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/21/17
UPDATE: RHP Brent Honeywell among 7 added to Rays 40-man roster

UPDATE: RHP Brent Honeywell among 7 added to Rays 40-man roster

UPDATE, 8:11: RHP Jose Mujica was an additional addition to the roster, beyond the six previously reported. Mujica, 21, was 14-8, 3.04 ERA in 27 starts between Class-A Charlotte and Double-A Montgomery.So among those left unprotected and potentially ...
Published: 11/20/17
Former Devil Ray Aubrey Huff among newcomers to Baseball Hall of Fame ballot

Former Devil Ray Aubrey Huff among newcomers to Baseball Hall of Fame ballot

Aubrey Huff isn't going to make the Baseball Hall of Fame.But at least the former Devil Rays standout has the satisfaction of making the cut to get onto the ballot, one of 19 first-timers up for election this year.Other newcomers with Rays ties are O...
Published: 11/20/17
Topkin: As Rays start dealing, how far will they go?

Topkin: As Rays start dealing, how far will they go?

After collecting intelligence at last week’s GM meetings, the Rays soon will launch their offseason mission of trading at least a couple of veterans to reduce payroll.The question is how far they will go — how many players they deal, and how big of n...
Published: 11/18/17
Rocco Baldelli’s promotion on Rays coaching staff now makes him major league field coordinator

Rocco Baldelli’s promotion on Rays coaching staff now makes him major league field coordinator

The Rays completed the reorganization of their coaching staff by giving Rocco Baldelli the title of major league field coordinator.In being promoted from first-base coach, Baldelli will implement ideas and information from the staff, while assisting ...
Published: 11/17/17
Rays hope to cash in on Alex Cobb leaving

Rays hope to cash in on Alex Cobb leaving

LAKE BUENA VISTA — The Rays were banking on pitcher Alex Cobb declining their one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer based on the lure of a longer-term and more lucrative deal elsewhere as a free agent.With that decision official Thursday, now the ...
Published: 11/16/17
Commissioner Rob Manfred likes Ybor City stadium site, but must see more support to keep baseball in Tampa Bay

Commissioner Rob Manfred likes Ybor City stadium site, but must see more support to keep baseball in Tampa Bay

LAKE BUENA VISTA — MLB commissioner Rob Manfred didn’t want to talk Thursday about what might happen if the current effort to build the Rays a new stadium at the Ybor City site falls through."I’m more focused on working with the community to figure o...
Published: 11/16/17
A message to Rays fans from Alex Cobb

A message to Rays fans from Alex Cobb

Here is a message from RHP Alex Cobb after he officially left the Rays Thursday in declining their one-year, $17.4-milllion qualifying offer to seek a bigger and longer pact elsewhere:"Getting to this point in my career is truly bittersweet."Twelve y...
Published: 11/16/17