Saturday, December 16, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Longoria snubbed in fans' final All-Star vote

BOSTON — 3B Evan Longoria appreciated the support he did get from fans and the Rays organization while finishing last among the five candidates for the final spot on the American League All-Star team.

Jays OF Michael Saunders won the fan Internet and Twitter balloting, collecting more than 17 million votes. Totals were not released, but Longoria was at the bottom in all updates, also trailing Houston OF George Springer, Boston 2B Dustin Pedroia and Detroit 2B Ian Kinsler. Giants 1B Brandon Belt got the NL spot.

"Personally I'm happy with what I've done the first half," Longoria said. "You'd love to get some recognition for what you've done, but ultimately it comes down to the respect that my teammates have for me, and the coaching staff, and the fans.

"I can't force people to vote. I can't force myself into the game. So for me personally, knowing that the team was in support of me going to the All-Star Game, that they acknowledged that I had a good first half, is really all I can ask for."

Longoria, who after a four-hit game Friday is hitting .287 with 19 homers and 47 RBIs, could still be named to the team if one of the chosen players were hurt or otherwise withdrew, though he might have to get out of a hotel pool to make it.

"I would love to go, there is no doubt about that," he said. "If I got a phone call … that there was an opportunity to go, I would definitely take it. … But at this point I think the focus has changed to some vacation time with my family."

STARRY-EYED: RHP Alex Colome is headed to San Diego for Tuesday's game and will travel in style, hitching a ride with David Ortiz and the five other Red Sox All-Stars on an MLB-arranged chartered jet after Sunday's game. "It might be funny," Colome said. "We'll be talking some (trash) you know."

NICK MEETS WALL: Nick Franklin made the Friday start in tricky, Green Monster-inhabited leftfield, with Oswaldo Arcia on the bench and Corey Dickerson at DH.

Cash said they have been impressed overall how he has taken to the outfield, boosting his chances to become a super-utility type player. "We're trying to balance a look at Arcia and Franklin both," Cash said. "Both of them have done some good things. Nick Franklin has had a lot of good at-bats. I think he's earned the opportunity to get out there somewhat consistently."

Franklin got a pregame tutorial on the nuances of the wall from outfield coach Rocco Baldelli, with no major issues during the game. And he did get two more hits and another RBI, giving him 12 in his last 10 games.

REHAB REPORT: CF Kevin Kiermaier (left hand fracture) "looked great" taking a full round of batting practice early Friday, Cash said, and will hit with the team today and on the field again Sunday, then start a minor-league rehab assignment Monday or Tuesday. … RHP Alex Cobb (Tommy John surgery) threw a bullpen session at the Trop Friday and is slated for two-three innings Monday with advanced Class A Charlotte in his second rehab start. … RHPs Brad Boxberger (oblique strain) and Chase Whitley (Tommy John surgery) will throw bullpens today and then live batting practice Tuesday in Port Charlotte.

MINOR MATTER: RHP Casey Coleman, a 29-year-old who has time with the Cubs and Royals, signed and joined Triple-A Durham. The son of former Bulls pitching coach Joe Coleman and a third-generational big-leaguer was released July 1 from Seattle's Triple-A team.

MISCELLANY: Cash said they were close to setting the post-break rotation and should announce it today. … C Curt Casali, struck on the side of the head by a backswing Wednesday, said he felt good and ready to return. … First-pitch temperature was a brisk 62 degrees. … OF Andrew Toles, the Rays 2013 minor league player of the year who was released in March 2015 following personal/discipline issues, was called up by the Dodgers. … RHP Ryan Webb, released this week, signed a White Sox minor-league deal.

Comments
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
Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 3 – updated with news

Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 3 – updated with news

UPDATE, 5:55: Trade talks apparently picked up this afternoon, perhaps related to previous activity by other teams, and for first time Rays officials sound like something could happen tonight."At this point today, some of those conversations are movi...
Published: 12/13/17