Sunday, January 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Luke Maile looking to stick around as Rays catcher

ST. PETERSBURG — C Luke Maile certainly enjoys being praised for his defense, especially since that's why he was recalled Friday to replace Hank Conger, who was optioned to Triple-A Durham.

But the rookie is hoping his recent success at the plate continues against major-league pitching and leads to an extended stay with the Rays.

"No question," Maile said before Saturday's game against the Orioles. "I don't ever have the expectations to set the world on fire, necessarily. Not that I don't want to do that or strive to do that. But I don't want to be a one-way guy either. I want to be able to produce on the offensive front and not be an automatic out or a base-clog.

"I want to be a guy who can do it all, move runners, make contact, drive the ball every once in a while and drive some runs in, that makes your defense stand out even more."

Maile, who hit .305 with two home runs since June 1 in Durham, followed his two-hit night Friday at Tropicana Field with a double in his first at-bat Saturday that hopped over the centerfield wall. He said he feels more confident at the plate, and it shows. The only change he made in his swing was a commitment to getting his hands to the ball quicker.

"And something clicked about six weeks ago," he said.

With the success has come more confidence, and with more confidence has come more success.

"Just to walk up to the plate the last month and see that your numbers are slowly getting better, mix in a home run or two, have a couple of extra-base hits, I think mentally that confidence goes a long way," he said.

Fellow catchers Curt Casali and Conger have hit a combined .190 this season with a .268 on-base percentage and a .327 slugging percentage, so the bar is not high. Any offense Maile provides would be a boost for him and the team's slumping offense.

"Without a doubt," manager Kevin Cash said. "That goes along with any player that we bring up. But the last thing that we want is for Luke to come up here and put too much pressure on himself and be something that he's not. But any additional hitting (helps). This is something that's he's worked on and had reaped some rewards as of late, and we expect that to continue."

Odo searches for Odo of yore: RHP Jake Odorizzi, who has pitched past the fifth inning twice in his past seven starts, is striving to recapture the form that allowed him to pitch at least six innings in his first 11 starts of 2015.

That run was stopped by an oblique strain suffered in Seattle.

"(Get) back to being consistent, reliable and be capable of what I'm doing," Odorizzi said. "It starts (today), and I just need to keep it going for the next two-plus months, and I'll be a happy guy."

Medical matters: A timetable has not been set for the return of DH Steve Pearce (hamstring), who began his minor-league rehab assignment Saturday with Class A Charlotte. Pearce was the DH and was 2-for-4 with a double a two runs. The scheduled second half of a doubleheader was rained out. … LF Desmond Jennings (hamstring) began his running program and took batting practice with the team. … RHP Brad Boxberger (oblique) and RHP Chase Whitley (Tommy John surgery) both played catch. The team plans to make a decision today on the next step for both pitchers.

Comments
Why free agency hasnít turned out fun (yet) for ex-Rays pitcher Alex Cobb

Why free agency hasnít turned out fun (yet) for ex-Rays pitcher Alex Cobb

RHP Alex Cobb never expected to be going into late January without knowing where he was going for spring training.The longtime Ray's first foray into free agency hasn't gone as planned, much like the 150-plus others waiting for something to give in a...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rays infielder Daniel Robertson lends a hand to help families dealing with cancer

Rays infielder Daniel Robertson lends a hand to help families dealing with cancer

Rays infielder Daniel Robertson has much to be excited about heading into his second season in the majors.But before packing for spring training, he took some time last weekend to provide help for families needing assistance in dealing with cancer.Hi...
Published: 01/19/18
Ex-Rays star Longoria dons Giants jersey, looks forward to full-stadium environment in San Francisco

Ex-Rays star Longoria dons Giants jersey, looks forward to full-stadium environment in San Francisco

Longtime Rays star Evan Longoria was formally introduced in San Francisco today, adding the visual of him pulling on his new Giants jersey, switching to No. 10 since 3 is retired.Longoria said he welcomed the chance to play on a contending team stock...
Published: 01/19/18
What do Rays look like now? What will they look like March 29?

What do Rays look like now? What will they look like March 29?

ST. PETERSBURG — Since entering an off-season planning major change and pledging to be open to "anything and everything,'' the Rays have made a few minor moves and one massive one in trading franchise cornerstone Evan Longoria to San Francisco....
Published: 01/19/18
Reminder: Rays spring tickets go on sale today at 10 a.m.

Reminder: Rays spring tickets go on sale today at 10 a.m.

The Rays will put single game tickets for spring training home games on sale today at 10 a.m. via raysbaseball.com.The Rays are playing 14 home games in Port Charlotte, starting with the Feb. 23 opener vs. Pittsburgh. Tickets will be available at the...
Published: 01/19/18
Tampa Bay Rays 2018 spring training schedule

Tampa Bay Rays 2018 spring training schedule

Charlotte Sports Park, 2300 El Jobean Rd., Port Charlotte, 33948Get tickets here: (941) 206-4487Pitchers report: Feb. 13. Squad reports: Feb. 19TEAM SCHEDULE(games at 1:05 unless noted)(ss - split squad)Feb 23 at Orioles (ss) (Sarasota)Feb 23 PIRATE...
Published: 01/19/18
Ex-Phillies, Indians manager Charlie Manuel to get Ted Williams Museum award

Ex-Phillies, Indians manager Charlie Manuel to get Ted Williams Museum award

Former Phillies and Indians manager Charlie Manuel will receive the Ted Williams Lifetime Achievement Award on Feb. 10 in Clearwater.The honor is bestowed by the Ted Williams Museum at its annual Hitters Hall of Fame induction, moving this year from ...
Published: 01/19/18
Former Rays OF Matt Joyce to hold annual charity baseball camp at North Brandon complex

Former Rays OF Matt Joyce to hold annual charity baseball camp at North Brandon complex

Armwood High product Matt Joyce, the current A's and former Rays outfielder, hosts his ninth annual Sweet Swingin' charity baseball camp for kids 6-12 on Sunday at the North Brandon youth baseball complex (2929 S Kingsway Rd, Seffner).Registration st...
Published: 01/18/18
Rays spring tickets go on sale Friday

Rays spring tickets go on sale Friday

The Rays will put single game tickets for spring training home games on sale Friday at 10 a.m. via raysbaseball.com.The Rays are playing 14 home games in Port Charlotte, starting with the Feb. 23 opener vs. Pittsburgh. Tickets will be available at th...
Published: 01/17/18
A look at Rays 40-man roster with spring training starting in less than a month

A look at Rays 40-man roster with spring training starting in less than a month

With the start of spring training now less than a month away, here is what the Rays roster looks like, with the most glaring hole at first base, which at this point seems likely to be manned by Brad Miller, and some questions about the pitching staff...
Published: 01/17/18