Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Outfielder Jeff Salazar appears to have made Tampa Bay Rays roster

PORT CHARLOTTE — Manager Joe Maddon wasn't ready to say OF Jeff Salazar had made the team. He can't yet, not with executive VP Andrew Friedman exploring trade and waiver wire pickups in advance of Wednesday's 5 p.m. roster deadline.

But what Maddon could say Saturday was that Salazar was the top candidate left in camp for the final roster spot as the Rays sent OF Jesus Feliciano and INF Will Rhymes back to the minors and were unlikely to promote prospect Brandon Guyer.

"He's obviously the last man standing," Maddon said, "but it's not been decided yet."

Salazar, 31, separated himself recently with his overall play, Maddon said, including the quality of his at-bats (.258 average, 10 walks to six strikeouts), power potential, defense and arm strength. Also, he has the most major-league experience, having played in parts of four seasons.

Salazar said he wasn't assuming anything and would keep doing what he's been doing: "My mind-set won't change."

Without getting specific on alternatives, Maddon said "there's still other things in play." The Rays will open the season without OFs Sam Fuld and B.J. Upton.

Late Saturday, the Rays acquired OF Kyle Hudson from Texas (for future considerations) to provide depth at Triple A. Hudson, 25, played briefly for Baltimore last season.

BLISTERED: RHP Jeff Niemann said the bloodied blister on the tip of his right middle finger is "a small annoyance" but should not cause him to miss his first regular-season start on April 11 or 12.

The blister surfaced after his Monday start in Fort Myers and by Tuesday was swollen and "kind of infected" to where Niemann said "I couldn't really even move my finger."

It has since calmed down, and Niemann said he could get back on the mound for a bullpen session as soon as today, but there is still concern of a recurrence. Though Niemann had to skip Saturday's start, he said his prep for the season shouldn't be impacted since he was already built up to 95 pitches.

PERALTA PUMPED: RHP Joel Peralta didn't hide his emotions after a confidence-building 1-2-3 second inning, pumping his fist as he came off the mound. Peralta had been struggling mechanically and questioning whether skipping winter ball, at the Rays' request, had left him unprepared. But he made some adjustments since his last outing:

"I think I fixed some stuff I was doing wrong, so let's see how it goes from here. … My arm strength is still not there."

GAME DETAILS: The Rays got homers from Carlos Peña (his first of the spring), Evan Longoria (third) and Luke Scott (third) but played to a 7-7 tie with a squad of Boston reserves and minor-leaguers. … At 8-16-5, the Rays have their most spring ties and fifth most losses. … The four errors were the most by the Rays in any game since June 6, 2009, at Yankee Stadium. 3B Longoria made his fifth. … RHP Wade Davis, in his first outing since being moved to the bullpen, allowed five hits and a walk and threw a wild pitch in three innings (with some shaky defense behind him), though Maddon said "he threw the ball pretty darn good."

MISCELLANY: MLB Network's 30 Clubs in 30 Days package, hosted by Sean Casey, runs tonight at 9.

Comments
Steven Souza trade: Instant reaction to the Rays latest deal

Steven Souza trade: Instant reaction to the Rays latest deal

The Rays traded right fielder Steven Souza, Jr., their 2017 team MVP, to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night in a three-team deal for Arizona's No. 2 prospect, lefty Anthony Banda, Yankees infield prospect Nick Solak and two players to be named...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays trade team MVP Steven Souza Jr. in three-team deal that nets prospects

Rays trade team MVP Steven Souza Jr. in three-team deal that nets prospects

The Rays continued the tear down of their current team to build for the future, trading 2017 team MVP Steven Souza Jr. in a three team deal with the Diamondbacks and Yankees that brought them advanced level prospects.In the deal, the Rays got 2B Nick...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Steven Souza Jr. on Rays’ roster moves: ‘This is not a shocker’

Steven Souza Jr. on Rays’ roster moves: ‘This is not a shocker’

PORT CHARLOTTE — RF Steven Souza Jr. returned to camp Tuesday after missing four days while he went home to Seattle to attend to a family matter.When asked if everything was okay, Souza said, "Right now. We'll just leave it at that."S...
Updated: 3 hours ago
After whirlwind few days, C.J. Cron joins Rays

After whirlwind few days, C.J. Cron joins Rays

PORT CHARLOTTE – C.J. Cron knew he was spending Tuesday night in a Punta Gorda hotel. Beyond that, he knew little of his future with the Rays."I haven't talked to anybody about anything really," Cron said.The right-handed hitting first baseman ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Who is new Rays 1B/DH C.J. Cron? 10 things to know

Who is new Rays 1B/DH C.J. Cron? 10 things to know

Acquired Saturday night from the Angels (for a player to be named – a minor-leaguer, and not a top prospect), 1B/DH C.J. Cron is expected to join the Rays today in Port Charlotte.Here are 10 things to know about him:1. Full name: Christopher Jo...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rays tread new turf (literally) for second straight year

Rays tread new turf (literally) for second straight year

PORT CHARLOTTE — Tropicana Field is getting new turf — again.Shaw Sports will replace the surface installed last spring in a mutual decision with the Rays that it did not look as good — from the stands or on TV — as expected.T...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Longtime fan Dick Vitale sounds off on Rays’ latest roster moves

Longtime fan Dick Vitale sounds off on Rays’ latest roster moves

Longtime and extremely popular ESPN college basketball announcer Dick Vitale is arguably the Rays' most prominent fan.The Lakewood Ranch resident has season tickets adjacent to the visitors' dugout at Tropicana Field and is often seen at Rays games.A...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Is ‘The Ray Tank’ a noun, or a verb?

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Is ‘The Ray Tank’ a noun, or a verb?

The name of the Rays’ new blog, "The Ray Tank’’, inadvertently took on new meaning for fans following the departures of Jake Odorizzi and Corey Dickerson this past weekend.Rick Stroud has the latest from Port Charlotte in his latest podcast, as Kevin...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Ray Tank: Fans have fun with name of team’s new blog

Ray Tank: Fans have fun with name of team’s new blog

Rays fans upset about the team's recent moves found the perfect target for their ridicule Monday when the team announced the name of its new blog.The Ray Tank.Announcing... The Ray Tank!Our new blog will have behind-the-scenes stories, photos, and mo...
Updated: 6 hours ago
As Kevin Kiermaier blasts changes, Rays see empowered Kevin Cash as stabilizer

As Kevin Kiermaier blasts changes, Rays see empowered Kevin Cash as stabilizer

PORT CHARLOTTE — The list of those no longer with the team was going to be noteworthy no matter what Monday as the holdovers, newcomers and wannabes gathered for the first full-squad workout in Camp Dis-A-Ray.Then even before Rays manager Kevin...
Published: 02/19/18