Monday, June 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Crain striving to return quickly

MINNEAPOLIS — RHP Jesse Crain felt so good throwing in the bullpen Friday that he said in a best-case scenario he could be pitching in games by the middle of next week. Rays manager Joe Maddon was a bit more cautious, suggesting the target was the end of the week.

Either way, this is clearly the most optimistic all parties have been that the veteran reliever indeed will get on the mound and lend a hand.

"Right now his face can't hide how well he feels," Maddon said.

Crain, recovering from a shoulder strain, threw 35 pitches in the bullpen using his full repertoire. If he feels good today and Sunday, the tentative plan is to face what he called the last hurdle on Monday: facing hitters in a simulated game.

"It depends on how I feel and how it goes," Crain said. "It's something I can probably tell the most how I feel and if I'm ready or not, and I won't know that until I go out there and face those guys. I think if it goes real well, I think I can be ready maybe a day or two after that. It depends on what they want to do, and it depends on how it goes."

Maddon said he'd wait for a report today before announcing the next step for Crain, whom he said "could be quite a force" if he returns to top form.

"We'll see how he feels (today), and then we'll take it to the next level," Maddon said. "Hopefully it's going to lead to something good by the end of next week."

Crain was chosen for the All-Star team based on his first three months for the White Sox (2-3, 0.74 ERA), but he has not pitched since June 29. The Rays acquired him July 29.

PRIME TIME: The Rays are featured in the new episode of Mission October, an MLB Productions inside-access show that will air at 7:30 p.m. Monday on Fox Sports 1.

A crew of up to a dozen has been embedded with the team since Thursday, with one cameraman accompanying the Rays on their flight. It pretty much has open access in the clubhouse. Maddon said he didn't mind having the crew around. "It's exciting," he said. "We did that last year in Anaheim (a previous version of the show) with good results, so hopefully that can bring us good luck again."

MOLINA BACK: C Jose Molina rejoined the team after spending Thursday in St. Louis with his mother, Gladys, as she recovered from surgery for a bacterial infection in her left leg. "The recovery will be slow, but she will be fine; she's in good spirits," Molina said. She felt good enough to tell Jose and brother Yadier, who plays for the Cardinals, to get back to work. "She said, 'I'm tired of seeing you guys, go to your jobs, you've got to go,' " Molina said. "I don't think she meant it, but she knows this is our job and we have to go do it." Molina, who started Friday, said he would keep tabs via phone: "I'll probably take it to home plate with me."

NOT-SO-MINOR MATTERS: Triple-A Durham beat Pawtucket (Red Sox) 2-0 in 14 innings to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five International League final. The Bulls can win the title tonight in Game 4.

MISCELLANY: The Rays beat the Twins on Friday for the 10th straight time. … Kelly Johnson started at DH based on strong numbers vs. Twins starter Kevin Correia (9-for-25 with five homers) but was hitless in three at-bats. … 2B Ben Zobrist drew his 461st walk, moving past Carlos Peña for the most in franchise history. … Though Sun Sports passed on televising tonight's game, MLB Network will pick up the Twins feed and show it in the Tampa Bay market. … With the day off, Rays TV man Todd Kalas is calling the Prairie View-Southern college football game in Baton Rouge, La.

Comments
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...
Updated: 27 minutes ago
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...
Updated: 5 hours ago
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...
Updated: 5 hours ago
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
Rays journal: Adeiny Hechavarria returns and plays short, but now what?

Rays journal: Adeiny Hechavarria returns and plays short, but now what?

NEW YORK — The Adeiny Hechavarria situation is going to be interesting for the Rays. The veteran seemed destined to be traded or even released as he completed his recovery from a hamstring strain rather than play again for the Rays after last ...
Published: 06/18/18
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Sunday’s Rays-Yankees game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Sunday’s Rays-Yankees game

The Rays remain committed to using an "opener" three times in five game stretches, but that seems to tax the bullpen too much. Wilmer Font showed Sunday that he should be able to handle starting, at least until Chris Archer returns.It was only one wi...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/18/18
Rays journal: Adeiny Hechavarria returns and plays short, but now what?

Rays journal: Adeiny Hechavarria returns and plays short, but now what?

NEW YORK — The Adeiny Hechavarria situation is going to be interesting for the Rays.The veteran seemed destined to be traded or even released as he completed his recovery from a hamstring strain rather than play again for the Rays after last week’s p...
Published: 06/17/18

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Sunday’s Rays-Yankees game

The Rays remain committed to using an "opener" three times in five game stretches, but that seems to tax the bullpen too much. Wilmer Font showed Sunday that he should be able to handle starting, at least until Chris Archer returns.e_SClBIt was only ...
Published: 06/17/18
Rays leave New York with a smile after beating Yankees 3-1

Rays leave New York with a smile after beating Yankees 3-1

NEW YORK — You had seen this game before.So had the radio guys, the coaches, the manager, the players and, certainly, the bosses.The Rays grab an early lead over the Yankees. They look like they are headed to a rare win in the Bronx. And then when th...
Published: 06/17/18
Rays leave New York with a smile after beating Yankees 3-1

Rays leave New York with a smile after beating Yankees 3-1

NEW YORK – You had seen this game before.So had the radio guys, the coaches, the manager, the players and, certainly, the bosses.The Rays grab an early lead over the Yankees. They look like they are headed to a rare win in the Bronx. And t...
Published: 06/17/18