Thursday, January 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Beckham debuts at first base, continues hot hitting

OAKLAND, Calif. — Playing first base for the first time at any level turned out not to be the most noteworthy thing Tim Beckham did Thursday.

That's because by homering in his first at-bat and singling in his second against the A's, he tied the Rays franchise record by rapping eight consecutive hits; he had one Monday and five Wednesday. Beckham then popped out to end his streak.

"I didn't know about it until after the game — it's a pretty cool thing to be a part of,'' Beckham said. "Just trying to put the ball in play.''

The hit record was shared by Aubrey Huff (2004) and Ty Wigginton (2007). Beckham (who walked after his triple Monday) also tied the team mark of reaching base nine straight times, shared by Logan Forsythe (2015) and B.J. Upton (2011).

Beckham ended up at first due to ongoing inflammation in Logan Morrison's right forearm and slight fatigue in Steve Pearce's right hamstring.

Morrison saw a doctor Thursday night in Oakland as a result of inflammation in the forearm/wrist area that started bothering him July 15 in the first game after the All-Star break and did not improve with two days' rest.

"It slowly started building and getting worse and worse," he said.

Manager Kevin Cash said they got the good news head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield anticipated, with Morrison receiving an injection and potentially returning in the next day or two. Cahs said they did not anticipate him going on the disabled list.

Morrison's status factored into the decision to bring Pearce back Tuesday after just two rehab games following a monthlong DL stint for a hamstring strain. Pearce said after playing two games in Colorado he was feeling something in the hamstring — "not barking, just tired" — so the Rays opted to be cautious. Pearce said he was available to come off the bench Thursday and expects to play tonight against A's LH starter Sean Manaea.

"It made sense to give him a day," Cash said. "He had a very short, abbreviated rehab. I'm sure he has some general overall body soreness."

Beckham, normally a middle infielder, handled himself well at first base. He did some pregame work with infield/bench coach Tom Foley after getting the news upon arrival at the Coliseum and said he didn't consider it a big challenge.

"I'll be fine," Beckham said. "The biggest thing is the comfort level. I'm looking forward to it."

He presented well, taking batter-by-batter positioning instruction and making the plays he had the chance to.

"I kept telling myself to trust in my abilty, and to be comfortable over there,'' he said.

Another option would have been to move second baseman Forsythe, who has played first before but was not comfortable doing so. Cash said they did not want to weaken their up-the-middle defense by doing so.

SAFE AT HOME: Cash called MLB officials for clarification on the odd ruling Wednesday in Colorado, in which an out call for the Rays was overturned when replay showed the Rockies runner was not tagged but also did not touch the plate. Cash said he was told the umpires got it right under rules governing replay challenged calls, that the runner could be safe even though he didn't touch the plate. Cash said Rays catchers will check with the umpire on close plays, then step on the plate to initiate an appeal.

REHAB REPORT: RHP Alex Cobb (Tommy John surgery) came through his 28-pitch Wednesday bullpen well and next will throw a live batting practice Saturday in Port Charlotte. Cash said the next step could be to resume pitching in minor-league games, as Cobb was returned from his first rehab assignment after experiencing fatigue in his second start. … RHP Brad Boxberger (oblique) was "really good" Thursday in his second rehab appearance for the advanced Class A Stone Crabs, striking out two in a 10-pitch inning, Cash said. He will make at least a third appearance Saturday. … OF Desmond Jennings (hamstring) will be among the hitters facing Cobb.

GOOD DEEDS: RHP Chris Archer will visit and talk with kids today in the RBI program at the YMCA in nearby Richmond, Calif., as he has done in Cleveland, New York, Toronto this season. "Oakland was at the forefront of my brain," he said. "We rarely come here, I'm not pitching (this series) so I have a lot of time and I know some of the communities here are rough, so all those things went into consideration."

GOOD DEEDS: RHP Alex Colome converted his 21st save in his 21st opportunity, their longest streak since Fernado Rodney ran offf 22 straight 2012. ... First pitch temperature was 66 degrees, a dropoff of 25 degrees from Wednesday in Denver. .. Forsythe logged his third straight multi-hit game.

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