Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays add speedy Guzman to roster

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays addressed their need for speed by adding OF Freddy Guzman to the roster.

And they will add more depth, calling up INF Tim Beckham to make his first big-league appearance tonight and planning to add RHP Jake Odorizzi on Friday.

Guzman, 32, gives the Rays the speedy pinch-runner and base-stealer they have been lacking. He has been playing in Mexico, where he stole 73 bases (in 82 attempts) in 99 games this year for Ciudad de Carmen. In 11 seasons between the minors and Mexico he has 587 steals in 997 games.

"He can really run,'' manager Joe Maddon said.

The Rays quietly signed Guzman to a minor-league contract Aug. 30 (making him eligible for the postseason roster) and stashed him at their Port Charlotte complex, where he was working out. He last played in the majors in 2009 for the Yankees, and briefly before that with the Padres and Rangers.

"I bring the speed for the team,'' he said. "I'm very excited.''

The Rays made room on the 40-man roster by moving OF Brandon Guyer, who was rehabbing a broken finger with Durham, to the 60-day DL.

Beckham, the top pick of the 2008 draft, will make his long-awaited arrival in the majors. Odorizzi has been up several times this season.

The Rays will decide today whether RHP Jesse Crain, who was a "good" sore after testing his shoulder Monday facing hitters for the first time, is ready to be activated for his first Rays appearance, which would require another 40-man roster move, or will work out again. Crain was acquired July 29 with a shoulder strain.

NOT-SO-MINOR MATTERS: The International League Bulls lost 2-1 to Pacific Coast League champion Omaha (Royals) in the Triple-A national championship in Allentown, Pa. Odorizzi, acquired from the Royals along with Wil Myers, started for Durham, allowing one run on five hits over four innings, striking out eight. Pinch-hitter Leslie Anderson homered in the eighth for Durham's run. … The Rays extended their working agreement with Double-A Montgomery for four years, through the 2018 season, and scheduled a March 29 exhibition there next spring, two days before the season opener. … The Rays' minor-league award winners will be on hand tonight and will sign autographs from 5:45-6:30 along the rightfield line.

CONSOLATION PRIZE: Maddon gave RHP Joel Peralta a pat on the back and a bottle of French wine — with "Good Happens" written on the bottle — to help him get over Sunday's tough loss, in which he allowed two eighth-inning homers.

Maddon presented the bottle before Monday's game and told Peralta he was welcome to drink it then since he was going to have the day off. Peralta declined — he and his wife are saving it for the weekend — and said he appreciated the support but was still stung.

"It's tough; (Monday) I was still frustrated and hurt by what happened," Peralta said. "I'm just waiting for the next time I'm out there and try to perform good. … But it's not easy to get past that, it's still in the back of your mind."

ARCHED UP: Maddon doesn't have any special handling in mind for rookie RHP Chris Archer when he starts tonight but will be mindful of limiting his workload to about 90 pitches, hoping that gets him six innings or so. "Just watching him closely," he said.

MISCELLANY: The seven pitchers used by the Rays matched the season high for a nine-inning game. … RHP Jeremy Hellickson's 40 pitches were his fewest in a non-injury situation. … Radio man Andy Freed hopes to return tonight after missing the past two games with laryngitis. … The annual Shirts Off Our Backs event will be held this weekend benefitting the Rays Baseball Foundation. … Maddon endorsed Myers for the American League rookie of the year award and SS Yunel Escobar for the Gold Glove.

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