Sunday, April 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Jayson Nix impresses Maddon in Rays camp

PORT CHARLOTTE — Jayson Nix spent the past three seasons in the American League East, so Rays manager Joe Maddon was very familiar with the versatile infielder.

And Maddon liked what he saw from Nix — who played for the Blue Jays in 2011 and the Yankees 2012-13 — calling him a solid pro who "does good work wherever they had put him."

With Nix in camp on a minor-league deal and hoping to earn a bench spot, Maddon's observations have been reinforced.

"This guy is an uber professional," Maddon said. "That's all he's about. He just wants to play the game, play it right, be part of a group and understand what the overall philosophy is. I've known him for a week, I feel like I've known him for the last 10 years. Any manager, any organization would love to have him within the group. He is that guy."

Nix, 31, who has played for five teams over parts of six big-league seasons, said he has heard great things about Maddon and the Rays clubhouse. He has experience at shortstop, second base and third and is hoping he can stay in the mix for a roster spot.

"Seeing them from the other side, the way Joe uses the bench and uses everybody and moves guys around, obviously that's something I've been doing for a while," Nix said. "I'm comfortable doing so, so it fits well."

CATCHING ON: Maddon held an onfield meeting during Wednesday's workout to brief position players on the nuances of the new rules regarding collisions at home plate. In general, the team's philosophy won't change much. "I want to keep it simple right now," Maddon said.

FOR STARTERS: The Rays switched back to their original plan of having LHP Erik Bedard start Friday's exhibition opener. Bedard, competing for the fifth rotation spot, will face his former team, the Orioles.

BACK ON TRACK: 2B Ben Zobrist took onfield batting practice for the first time since being sidelined last week with back soreness and said he felt good. He also fielded grounders and said he expects to run the bases by this weekend. Maddon said Zobrist will probably play his first game early next week.

STAYING READY: RHP Juan Sandoval, who had been stuck in the Dominican Republic due to visa issues, flew into the country Wednesday and is expected to be at camp today. RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo and INF Wilson Betemit are still delayed, though Maddon heard they've been working out regularly. That's especially important for Oviedo, who is slated to be part of the bullpen and spent last year rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. "Obviously guys aren't going to be negligent right now with a chance of making the club," Maddon said. "They want to come here ready, and Oviedo has put in all this time."

GOOD CAUSE: The team will hold its annual charity golf tournament today at the Ritz-Carlton Members Golf Club in Bradenton, with all members of the 40-man roster and coaching staff expected to attend. Proceeds benefit the Rays Baseball Foundation.

Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
Rays thoughts are with ex-teammate Danny Farquhar

Rays thoughts are with ex-teammate Danny Farquhar

Members of the Rays organization sent their thoughts and prayers to former teammate Danny Farquhar, who was hospitalized Saturday night in Chicago in stable but critical condition after suffering a brain hemorrhage caused by a ruptured aneurysm.Farqu...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays on Sunday: 1:10 vs. Twins

Rays on Sunday: 1:10 vs. Twins

Sunday vs. Twins1:10, Tropicana FieldTV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 760-AM (Spanish)Tickets: $20-$300; available at Tropicana Field box office, raysbaseball.com, surcharge of up to $5 within five hours of game.Promotion: Mascot socks for kids 14 a...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Marc Topkinís takeaways from Raysí 10-1 Saturday win over Twins

Marc Topkinís takeaways from Raysí 10-1 Saturday win over Twins

* Is it time to take the leap and believe this is the real Blake Snell? He talked a good game this spring and pitched well in his debut, but that rough second outing raised old doubts. But a good outing in Chicago and two dominant ones on the homesta...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Rays Tales: How low can this team go compared to those Devil Rays days?

Rays Tales: How low can this team go compared to those Devil Rays days?

When the Rays, in the opening weekend of their 20th anniversary celebration season, brought back and honored the inaugural 1998 Devil Rays squad, it got us thinking unexpected thoughts, such as which was a better team:The first one, or the current on...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Rays Journal: Team effort pays off in 10-1 win over Twins

Rays Journal: Team effort pays off in 10-1 win over Twins

ST. PETERSBURG – Let's be clear here, the Rays still have a long way to go, and a lot of ground to make up.But seeing them play like they did Saturday in beating the Twins 10-1, putting on a solid all-around show in cobbling their first three-g...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Rays will go forth with four starters

Rays will go forth with four starters

ST. PETERSBURG — Three weeks was enough for the Rays to officially ditch their three-man rotation plan.Starting Sunday, they will go forth with Yonny Chirinos as their fourth starter.Which is a five-star idea.The flaws in the three-man plan ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
For starters: Rays vs. Twins, with a familiar look

For starters: Rays vs. Twins, with a familiar look

UPDATE, 4:17: CF Kevin Kiermaier was back at the Trop, and at one point on the field with a glove on his left hand and protective wrapping on his right, the day after surgery to repair a torn UCL in his right thumb. He said the surgery went "as good ...
Published: 04/21/18
Rays will go forth with Chirinos as fourth starter

Rays will go forth with Chirinos as fourth starter

The Rays have made it official – or as official as things can be with them – in naming RHP Yonny Chirinos as the fourth starter in their rotation.The Rays had been using three, and two "Bullpen Day" slots when playing five straight days.B...
Published: 04/21/18
Archerís sparkling start precedes surreal finish

Archerís sparkling start precedes surreal finish

By now, we presume you've had a few hours to digest the Rays' improbable 10-inning triumph Friday night.So instead of rehashing the whole bizarre body of work, how 'bout a closer look at the workmanship. Specifically, Chris Archer's.Partially lost in...
Published: 04/21/18
Now Batting in Double A: Biggio, Bichette and Guerrero

Now Batting in Double A: Biggio, Bichette and Guerrero

HARTFORD, Conn. — Craig Breslow is 37 years old, with a dozen years of experience as a left-handed reliever in the major leagues. He is pitching now for the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats, just getting to know his teammates. In their openin...
Published: 04/21/18