Sunday, June 17, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays days from decision on No. 5 starter

FORT MYERS — Manager Joe Maddon said the Rays will pick their No. 5 starter after watching the three candidates pitch once more each this week.

And one of those three, LHP Erik Bedard, said he likely will leave if not chosen and pursue a starting job elsewhere.

Though Maddon has said for several days that they were close to picking, the decision was made to have LHP Cesar Ramos start and RHP Jake Odorizzi work in relief Thursday, then have Bedard start Friday.

Bedard said if he doesn't make the Rays rotation he likely will exercise a March 31 opt-out clause in the minor-league contract he signed Feb. 14 rather than go to Triple A, noting a recent spate of injuries to starters around baseball.

"Every day it seems like a starter goes down," Bedard said. "So there's a lot of opportunities out there if I'm not on the team."

The Rays likely would let him go sooner anyway as a courtesy, plus they have to pay him $100,000 on March 25 if he's not added to the roster or released.

"We would not want to hold him back if he's not chosen," Maddon said.

MOORE PITCHING: LHP Matt Moore had another mixed outing in the 11-3 win over the Twins, clocked at 96 mph or better 10 times while working into the fifth, allowing one run on four hits but walking six, including four with two outs.

"Everything did feel good so minus the six walks a solid day, but those are definitely a black mark,'' he said.

Maddon called it "a great step forward,'' saying it was "the best stuff'' Moore has had since the 2011 playoffs and they'll take it figuring command will improve. Moore said simplified mechanics led to the increased velocity.

MORE PITCHING: RHP Chris Archer will throw in a minor-league game today rather than face the AL East rival Orioles. RHP Mark Lowe, pushing for a relief job, starts. … With Bedard starting Friday, ace LHP David Price avoids pitching against the same Blue Jays team he'll face 10 days later in the season opener and instead will work in a simulated game. … LHP Jake McGee and RHP Josh Lueke worked in minor-league games and will face the Orioles today in their first back-to-back outings. … RHP Joel Peralta also threw in a minor-league game and RHP Grant Balfour, who had a deal with the Orioles collapse over a failed physical, will do so today. … RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo came through his first BP session and is on track to make his game debut Friday or Saturday.

IF THERE'S A WIL: Maddon employed one of his regular-season tactics by moving struggling OF Wil Myers to the leadoff spot. Myers, who came into the game with four spring hits (all singles), doubled his first three times up.

"I want him just to think differently," Maddon said. "I know it's spring training but we're getting to the end and I want him to feel good about himself going into the season."

Myers, still a little sore from fouling a ball off his right leg Saturday, said he woke up feeling like he'd have a good day and enjoyed the opportunity. "It was good just to put a good swing on a couple balls," he said.

GAME DETAILS: The Rays (a Grapefruit League best 12-4-2) rapped four hits, including three doubles, in a three-run first and posted 20 for the night. … 1B James Loney had three RBIs, giving him eight in two games.

MISCELLANY: C Eddy Rodriguez and OF Jeremy Moore were reassigned to minor-league camp. … INF/OF Sean Rodriguez, out a week with left hamstring tightness, played in a minor-league game and should be in the lineup today. … Tuesday was the Rays' 12th game of at least three hours.

Comments
For starters: Rays at Yankees, looking to avoid a four-game sweep

For starters: Rays at Yankees, looking to avoid a four-game sweep

UPDATE, 11:37: Interesting decision by the Rays to move Adames to 2B today and reinstall Hechavarria at SS as he came off DL following Arroyo injury.Here is the Rays lineup:Duffy 3bBauers 1bRamos cCron dhAdames 2bHechavarria ssGomez rfRefsnyder lfFie...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Peering into the crystal baseball to see what Rays could look like in 2019

Peering into the crystal baseball to see what Rays could look like in 2019

The Rays are still talking, as they should, about playing for something this season. The reality is that almost every move they've made, going back to the end of last season, and in some cases further, has been about 2019 and beyond.Clearing out vete...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays lose again to Yankees, this time 4-1

Rays lose again to Yankees, this time 4-1

NEW YORK — Kevin Cash was not going to go all Lou Piniella on his Rays, raging and ripping and roaring over their latest mess, a 4-1 Saturday loss to the Yankees that didn't feel that close.Which is too bad because Piniella, the volcanic former...
Published: 06/16/18
Rays journal: Arroyo on DL, Hechavarria returns

Rays journal: Arroyo on DL, Hechavarria returns

NEW YORK — Just when it seemed like SS Adeiny Hechavarria might not play another game for the Rays, he will rejoin them on Sunday.The Rays announced after Saturday's 4-1 loss that INF Christian Arroyo was placed on the DL due to an oblique stra...
Published: 06/16/18
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Yankees

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Yankees

RHP Ryne Stanek did his job as the opener just fine in getting four outs on Saturday, but for the Rays' unorthodox pitching plan to work it takes a team effort. And LHP Ryan Yarbrough's inability to throw strikes quickly put them in a hole.The experi...
Published: 06/16/18
For starters: Rays at Yankees, trying to break through

For starters: Rays at Yankees, trying to break through

UPDATE, 11:49: Cash said he played Cron at 1B in an effort to get him more involved in the game, indicated he may do so again Sunday (with Bauers off vs. LH Sabathia) and should have done so more as Cron struggled. … Cash reiterated that CF Kev...
Published: 06/16/18
Rays owner Stuart Sternberg frustrated, but optimistic

Rays owner Stuart Sternberg frustrated, but optimistic

NEW YORK — So what does the boss — lowercase, of course, around here — think of this up-and-down, hot-and-cold Rays season so far? Appropriately, a variety of things.In a 30-minute chat with the Tampa Bay Times before Friday's 5-0 l...
Published: 06/15/18
Rays journal: Nathan Eovaldi pitches well against his ex-team but gets no help

Rays journal: Nathan Eovaldi pitches well against his ex-team but gets no help

NEW YORK — RHP Nathan Eovaldi made an impressive return to Yankee Stadium on Friday to face his high-powered former teammates.It's too bad he didn't get any help from his current mates, in what ended up a 5-0 Rays loss.Eovaldi was in command an...
Published: 06/15/18
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Yankees

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Yankees

Give RHP Nathan Eovaldi credit for not letting emotions get in the way in his return to Yankee Stadium. He said he planned to treat it as all business, despite memories and friendships and he did just that, working impressively into the eighth.The Ra...
Published: 06/15/18
For starters: Rays at Yankees, with Eovaldi back on a familiar mound

For starters: Rays at Yankees, with Eovaldi back on a familiar mound

Coming off Thursday's 4-3 loss, the Rays will face the Yankees again tonight, and they are starting a pitcher quite familiar with the Yankee Stadium mound, RHP Nathan Eovaldi.Having spent 2015 and 2016 with the Yankees until sustaining the elbow inju...
Published: 06/15/18