Saturday, February 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Drew Smyly ready for All-Star break

ST. PETERSBURG — After another bad outing in Wednesday's 7-2 loss to the Angels, Rays LHP Drew Smyly appears to be the player most in need of the physical and mental respite of the upcoming All-Star break.

"Can't wait," Smyly said.

He and the Rays can only hope the time off helps. Smyly logged his ninth straight winless start and 10th loss, joining teammate Chris Archer as the only AL pitchers in double digits, 2-10, 5.47 overall.

As bad as Smyly's stat line looked, allowing seven runs (four earned) on eight hits with no strikeouts in four-plus innings, he did have his seemingly usual share of bad breaks, starting with the bases being loaded on two bloops and a ground-ball single, and a double play not being made, in a four-run third.

"I have to own it and take blame, but I feel like I'm making good-quality-type pitches," Smyly said.

Manager Kevin Cash, noting Smyly has been "snakebit,'' said they remain confident in him and hope the break helps. But they also extended RHP Matt Andriese to three innings Wednesday, which could be a sign he will soon be rejoining the rotation.

FRESH ARM: Having cycled through several pitchers without getting much relief, the Rays opted for a fresh choice, calling up RHP Dylan Floro.

A 13th-round draft pick in 2012, Floro worked his way to Triple A as a starter but was moved to the bullpen this season. He has adapted well, posting a 1-2 record and 2.81 ERA with seven saves.

"From what we've heard, he's a strike thrower, sinkerballer, gets the ball on the ground quite a bit," Cash said.

Floro got news of his promotion in memorable fashion from Durham manager Jared Sandberg, who announced it while they were on the field during a youth camp. (See the video at tampabay.com/blogs/rays.)

Veteran LHP Dana Eveland was designated for assignment for the second time in a month to make room. RHP Ryan Webb, who was paid $1 million, was released after clearing waivers. Also, they have interest in bringing back RHP Kevin Jepsen if he clears waivers after being DFA'd by the Twins.

LONGO VOTE: The Rays are trying various means, including T-shirts, social media hashtags and giveaways, to get fans to vote for 3B Evan Longoria in the race for the final spot on the AL All-Star team. In initial returns, he was last among the five finalists, with voting through Friday on mlb.com. Longoria, who won the final-man vote in 2008, said: "This is kind of the rallying cry for all those Rays fans we have out there, and hopefully they can show they are just as strong and vote me in."

Longoria is competing with 2B Ian Kinsler (Tigers), 2B Dustin Pedroia (Red Sox), OF Michael Saunders (Blue Jays) and OF George Springer (Astros).

COBB UPDATE: RHP Alex Cobb felt good, which was more important than poor results in his first minor-league rehab start since Tommy John elbow surgery. He allowed two hits and two walks and didn't get out of the first inning for the advanced Class A Stone Crabs in Port Charlotte. Cobb, pitching in his first game since spring 2015, threw 21 pitches, eight for strikes, to the six batters he faced. He walked two of the first three, then with two outs allowed an RBI single and a double.

REHAB REPORT: OF Kevin Kiermaier (left hand fracture) took his first live swings, stepping in while RHPs Brad Boxberger (oblique strain) and Chase Whitley (Tommy John surgery) threw off the Tropicana Field mound. Kiermaier hopes to go on a rehab assignment next week and return in the July 15-17 series. "(Kiermaier) looks healthy," Cash said. "Now it's getting his timing under way."

MISCELLANY: C Curt Casali left after the sixth inning with a bruise on the left side of his head. Cash said Casali saw the doctor "and seems to be okay, he's a little beat up." … Team officials are finalizing the post-break rotation, Cash hinting that LHP Blake Snell might get pushed to the back end as they monitor his workload. … Snell said he was good with today's 12:10 p.m. start, figuring "a lot of the hitters aren't really awake and ready for it, so I've got to take advantage."

Comments
Inside the Raysí plan to prove the tanking truthers wrong

Inside the Raysí plan to prove the tanking truthers wrong

PORT CHARLOTTE – The Rays know tanking."We tanked in 2006 and '07, if you want to call it that," principal owner Stuart Sternberg said. "We were the original tankers. Or tankees. It seems to be all the fad now."In losing 101 and 96 games in the...
Updated: 5 minutes ago
Rays Journal: Duffy not just playing but playing well, Faria struggles, more

Rays Journal: Duffy not just playing but playing well, Faria struggles, more

FORT MYERS – Just playing on back-to-back days was significant for Rays 3B Matt Duffy.Playing well has made the start of spring training even better."Really liked the way Duffy has continued to play," manager Kevin Cash said after a 4-3 loss to...
Updated: 3 hours ago
That guy standing by Cash in the dugout? All part of Raysí plan

That guy standing by Cash in the dugout? All part of Raysí plan

Jonathan ErlichmanFor a moment Friday, it looked as if a young businessman, accountant or computer guy had won one of those charity auctions to spend a game in uniform in the Rays dugout.Actually, it was Rays analytics director Jonathan Erlichman, a ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
For starters: Back to back starts for Duffy as Rays face Red Sox, 1:05

For starters: Back to back starts for Duffy as Rays face Red Sox, 1:05

UPDATE, 11:36: Manager Kevin Cash said the plan is to play Duffy on back to back days a couple times early in spring, believing the short bursts of activity will best help him build up after missing all of 2017. … Matt Andriese will come out of...
Updated: 10 hours ago
The truth about the Tampa Bay Raysí reset

The truth about the Tampa Bay Raysí reset

The Tampa Bay Rays are not going to be very good this year.We already knew that.They have gutted a team that won 80 games last season. Among those sent packing: Evan Longoria, Corey Dickerson, Jake Odorizzi and team MVP Steven Souza Jr.Yeah, this thi...
Published: 02/24/18
Rays spring training info: Saturday at Red Sox, 1:05

Rays spring training info: Saturday at Red Sox, 1:05

Rays Saturday scheduleAt Red Sox1:05, JetBlue Park, 11500 Fenway South Drive, Fort MyersPitchers: Rays – RH Jake Faria, RH Matt Andriese, RH Dustin McGowan, LH Ryan Yarbrough, RF Chaz Roe, LH Jose Alvarado, RH Evan Scribner, RH Jose Mujica; Red...
Published: 02/24/18
Impact of Tommy John surgery cuts deeply for Brent Honeywell, Rays

Impact of Tommy John surgery cuts deeply for Brent Honeywell, Rays

PORT CHARLOTTE – Two things that tell you a lot about Rays cocksure top prospect Brent Honeywell given Friday's crushing news that he indeed tore a ligament in his prized right arm and is headed for Tommy John surgery that will sideline him wel...
Published: 02/23/18
Rasmus says he ditched Rays to spend time with family

Rasmus says he ditched Rays to spend time with family

SARASOTA — Colby Rasmus is making a new start with the Baltimore Orioles after taking an eight-month break from baseball.Rasmus signed a minor-league contract with the Orioles this week, after abruptly leaving the Rays in midseason. The contrac...
Published: 02/23/18
Rays open exhibition season with 6-3 win over Pirates

Rays open exhibition season with 6-3 win over Pirates

The Rays won the home game of their opening-day, split-squad set, beating the Pirates, 6-3.1B Brad Miller, with an opposite-field double off the wall, and CF Kevin Kiermaier, with a bloop single to shallow center, provided the early offense.2B Daniel...
Published: 02/23/18
Rays journal: Miller time could be a good time, and more from openers

Rays journal: Miller time could be a good time, and more from openers

PORT CHARLOTTE — One of the key story lines in Rays camp is seeing what kind of bounce-back season they can get out of a healthy Brad Miller, coming off October core muscle repair surgery.And while Miller isn't feeling 100 percent — he st...
Published: 02/23/18