Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

MLB denies Rays' protest over Blue Jays game

BALTIMORE — Major League Baseball heard, deliberated, ruled on and Tuesday ultimately denied the Rays' protest of Saturday's loss in Toronto. But it sounds like they never had much of a chance.

That's because MLB apparently ignored the actual points of the Rays' protest over what they felt was the improper use of replay by citing rules that say neither replay issues nor umpires' judgment calls are subject to protest.

And that, naturally, didn't sit well with Rays manager Joe Maddon, who nevertheless was quite calm in his reaction to the decision by MLB VP Joe Torre.

"I can't tell you exactly why," Maddon said. "I'm not going to make stuff up. Apparently there's something about they're still calling it a judgment, and (you're) unable to protest a replay of some sort. … I could sit here all day long and tell you how much I disagree with it, but also tell you at the end of the day as much respect as I have for Joe Torre, so for me it's over and done with."

The Rays felt crew chief Bob Davidson let the Jays improperly challenge a fourth-inning play because it was too late, as clearly specified in the replay rules, since their pitcher was on the rubber and the Rays batter in the box, indicating the next play was starting.

"The clearest point of all has been … disputed and overturned; that's what I don't understand," Maddon said.

But Torre and MLB gave more weight to other rules, deciding the issue fell under broader umbrellas since it was related to replay and judgment — right or wrong — by Davidson, neither of which can be protested.

"I didn't think we were protesting replay, we were protesting the right to go to replay; I think there's two different moments that are there," Maddon said.

Torre was not available to discuss the ruling; the statement from MLB simply said Torre "has denied the formal protest."

Maddon said he hopes there is more discussion to at least clarify the issue.

Longoria sore, limited: 3B Evan Longoria was the DH for a second straight night for a reason — his right forearm hurts when he throws.

Longoria said he played through the soreness for about five days, saying it "just hurt" but wasn't limiting when he threw, and was not an issue when he hit.

He said he expects to be back at third base tonight, though Maddon said he might DH another day, and is confident it is not an indication of a serious problem, not even concerning enough for an MRI exam.

"It's something I won't go on the DL for, I won't miss any time for," he said. "I'm just trying to give it a rest, let it calm down."

Longoria said there was no "pop" or trauma or even a single moment when it started bothering him. "I didn't really feel it on any specific play or anything, it just kind of crept up on me, and was pretty sore throwing the ball," he said.

Hanigan back, Casali gone: C Ryan Hanigan was activated off the disabled list after missing nearly seven weeks with an oblique strain and was behind the plate.

Hanigan said he felt good physically but acknowledged that his timing at the plate is likely to be off since he played only three minor-league rehab games, going 3-for-10.

"I felt like I've been out too long, I need to be on this team, I need to be helping the team," he said. "I can help the team defensively as well."

Hanigan, acquired in an offseason trade with the expectation he would greatly upgrade the Rays catching, had played only 61 games, hitting .212.

Curt Casali, who Maddon said did a "wonderful" job filling in, was optioned to the advanced Class A Stone Crabs, a move which lets him rejoin the Rays Monday when roster can be expanded.

The normal rule required a demoted player to spend 10 days in the minors is waved if the minor-league team's season is over; Charlotte is done Sunday.

Callups: Maddon said they hadn't decided who else would be called up Monday, but, especially with Triple-A Durham headed to the playoffs, it's "not a lot right now." He mentioned adding a starter, two relievers and "a real speed dude" but acknowledged they might not have that player in the organization.

Minor matters: Seven Rays minor-leaguers were chosen to play in the prospect-heavy Arizona Fall League: Ps Zach Cooper, Matt Lollis, Colton Reavis, Jaime Schultz; C Justin O'Conner; INF Patrick Leonard; OF Kes Carter.

Miscellany: OF Kevin Kiermaier said his stiff neck was improving and he expected to be ready tonight. … Maddon's mom, Beanie, got the day off from the Third Base Luncheonette in Hazleton, Pa., and came to the game. … There were two crew chief reviews, on potential blocking of the plate in the first (3:16) and to verify the count on Nick Markakis in the third (1:47).

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