Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

MLB reverses course on transfer rule

CHICAGO — The way Rays 2B Ben Zobrist saw it, he was just one of many "innocent victims" of a new interpretation of an old rule regarding when an out is made as a fielder transfers the ball from his glove to his throwing hand.

And Friday, when MLB essentially reversed course, with the out now to be called before the transfer is tried, Zobrist was one of many applauding.

"Anybody who plays up the middle knows how quick you have to make that transfer to try and make a double play," Zobrist said.

"And you don't want to have to think about having to try to pull it out of the glove perfectly clean every time or you're not even going to get the first out."

On April 8 at Kansas City, Alcides Escobar was called safe — and Zobrist charged with an error — when Zobrist dropped the ball trying to throw to first. Zobrist sent a text message, then spoke with players union officials, who met with MLB.

The rule also applies to outfielders.

Rays manager Joe Maddon welcomed the move, saying it will allow players to think less.

"I think it's more realistic regarding the way this game has been played for many years," he said. "I commend them for having the strength and courage to make a change."

Zobrist said he wanted no credit for the change: "Hopefully they'll get it right now and we won't have any more of those incidents."

Pine tar: MLB said it will study if the rule preventing pitchers from using pine tar should be changed after the season. The Yankees' Michael Pineda was banned 10 games Thursday, a day after umpires found pine tar on his neck against the Red Sox. Pineda said he was trying to get a better grip on balls on a cool night.

Angels: Joe Smith was named closer. He replaces Ernesto Frieri, who has blown two of his four saves, has a 9.35 ERA and has allowed five homers over 10 appearances.

Astros: RH reliever Matt Albers went on the DL with tendinitis in his right shoulder.

Orioles: 1B Chris Davis left in the fifth with a strained left oblique. His status is unknown.

Padres: 3B Chase Headley went on the DL with a strained right calf. LF Seth Smith, who left Thursday's game with a sore groin, said he's day to day. And RHP Mike Quacken­bush, a standout at USF and Tampa's Jesuit High, was called up. He had four saves and a 1.80 ERA in nine appearances at Triple A.

Pirates: Closer Jason Grilli is expected to go on the DL with a strained left oblique today. Mark Melancon would assume his role.

Rangers: 3B Adrian Beltre, out since April 9 with a strained left quad, was activated.

Reds: An unidentified woman sued RHP Alfredo Simon for $15 million, alleging he sexually assaulted her in a Washington hotel a year ago. The team declined to comment. Also, 3B Todd Frazier (left leg tightness) and C Devin Mesoraco (strained left hamstring) left Friday's game against the Braves.

Red Sox: 3B Will Middlebrooks, out since April 6 with a strained right calf, was activated.

McGrady to pitch: Tracy McGrady, who played 16 seasons in the NBA, made the independent Sugar Land Skeeters as a pitcher. He did not appear in Thursday's opener or Friday's game.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

Comments
For starters: Rays at Astros, with Kiermaier back and an ace-high matchup

For starters: Rays at Astros, with Kiermaier back and an ace-high matchup

UPDATE, 4:49: Kiermaier is batting leadoff and playing center as expected, while Willy Adames is on the bench so Adeiny Hechavarria can play short in potentially a showcase for teams the Rays may hope to interest in a trade.Here is the Rays lineup:Ki...
Updated: 6 minutes ago
So, how exactly did the Rays end up losing Monday?

So, how exactly did the Rays end up losing Monday?

The Rays lost Monday's game when Sergio Romo failed them in the ninth inning.Called on to protect what was whittled to a one-run lead from 4-0, Romo got off to a bad start, walking the first batter on four pitches and then allowing a single to the se...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays continue to struggle in close games

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays continue to struggle in close games

The Rays blow a four-run lead in Houston and lose on a walkoff hit to the Astros in the opener of their three-game series. It's the 19th one-run loss for the Rays this season as they continue to struggle in close games. Fortunately, reinforcements ar...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Rays DFA Rob Refsnyder to make room for Kevin Kiermaier

Rays DFA Rob Refsnyder to make room for Kevin Kiermaier

The Rays made official after Monday's game that CF Kevin Kiermaier would be activated on Tuesday.And to make room on the 40- and 25 man rosters, they designated for assignment OF Rob Refsnyder.Acquired from the Indians for cash considerations just be...
Published: 06/19/18
Rays journal: A 4-0 lead disappears in loss at Houston

Rays journal: A 4-0 lead disappears in loss at Houston

HOUSTON — The Rays brought up several of their top prospects so they can get as much experience as possible.And Monday that included seeing how the relentless defending champion Astros worked their way back from an early four-run deficit to sco...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella pondered upside-down pitching in 2005

Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella pondered upside-down pitching in 2005

HOUSTON — Well before the idea of using a reliever to open games, as the Rays did against the Astros Monday for the 12th time, and then bringing in a starter was even a gleam in the eyes of the current Rays staff, former manager Lou Piniella wa...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Astros

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Astros

RHP Ryne Stanek continues to look comfortable and confident as the game opener, retiring all five batters he faced. His six starts now cover a complete game, and he has allowed only two runs in the nine innings.OF Carlos Gomez's feelings about not li...
Published: 06/18/18
For starters: Rays at Astros, trying to stop a streaking champion

For starters: Rays at Astros, trying to stop a streaking champion

UPDATE, 6:40: Cash said he had a good talk with Hechavarria, and that he understood the situation. Cash said Hechavarria will get to play some, and when he does it will be at short. … RHP Chris Archer (abdominal strain) is slated to throw a bul...
Published: 06/18/18
Kevin Kiermaier set to rejoin Rays Tuesday

Kevin Kiermaier set to rejoin Rays Tuesday

CF Kevin Kiermaier is here in Houston and will work out with the Rays today, and said that if all goes well he will be activated on Tuesday.That would be a couple days ahead of his most recent timetable, which had him slated to return to Friday.Kierm...
Published: 06/18/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays drop three of four in New York

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays drop three of four in New York

The Rays lose three of four games in New York as Rick Stroud says they fail to figure out the Yankees' pitching. With Christian Arroyo injured, they activate Adeiny Hechavarria — one of the stars of Sunday's win — from the disabled list a...
Published: 06/18/18