Sunday, June 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Guyer healthy, hopes to stick

BRADENTON — When Rays outfielder Brandon Guyer attends an Ultimate Fighting Championship event, his spectator style is more passion than passive.

Guyer, 27, always buys a shirt, and he'll usually spend the extra $30 for a set of headphones so he can listen to commentators' play-by-play. Sometimes, Guyer shares an earpiece with his wife, Lindsay, who is slowly starting to appreciate the massively popular mixed martial arts fights. He says she even looks forward to watching The Ultimate Fighter reality show on Tuesdays.

"I think I've got her into it," he says.

Guyer got his "fix" this offseason, going to two UFC events, one in Chicago and another in Las Vegas with Lindsay. He loves the ultracompetitive nature of the sport, which includes strategically using different disciplines of fighting.

"There's two men in there, and I guess both are walking out, but really it's just one who's walking out," Guyer said. "It's mano a mano. …

"But it's more than just fighting. It's a chess match. They're predicting what the next move is. The ordinary person may say, 'Oh, it's just two guys in there, whoever hits the other guy first.' But there's really a lot more that goes into it."

Guyer said if he had trained earlier in his life, he would have loved to give UFC a shot.

"But I think I picked a more healthy sport," Guyer said, smiling. "Even though I seem to get injuries and (have) surgeries, it's not concussions or anything, so I'll take that."

Guyer believes staying healthy is one key to him claiming a spot on the Rays roster. One of the prospects acquired from the Cubs in the 2011 Matt Garza trade, Guyer has shown flashes in a couple of callups to Tampa Bay, including a homer in his first big-league at-bat, and has played both corner outfield spots. But his beat-up left shoulder finally gave out on him in May in Toronto, leading to season-ending surgery on the torn labrum.

Guyer said the procedure was a long time coming, considering he hurt the shoulder four separate times, dating to his days at the University of Virginia.

Guyer's shoulder is feeling good now, but leg soreness delayed his spring debut until Tuesday. He'll likely begin the season in Triple-A Durham, but he's hoping he'll get another chance this season to impact the big-league roster.

"I'm just trying to control what I can control and that's to try to put my best foot forward," Guyer said. "Just try to stay healthy. That's my No. 1 thing. Because when I'm healthy, I was blessed with a lot of talent, and I think I can put that all out there."

Guyer is already having a better spring than last year, when his Dodge Durango was driven by his former teammate and roommate, ex-Rays minor-league pitcher Matt Bush, in a March DUI hit-and-run incident. Bush pleaded guilty in December to DUI with serious bodily injury and will be in jail for at least three years. Both Bush and Guyer are being sued for $5 million by the family of the victim, 72-year-old Tony Tufano.

Guyer doesn't want to talk, or think, about the situation, preferring to keep his focus on the field. He is happy, though, that he got his Durango — "my baby" — back in October. The black SUV had been held as evidence for more than six months, with Guyer squeezing into a much smaller Toyota Yaris, the cheapest rental he could find.

"I went from a big Dodge truck to that thing," Guyer said. "But it's back and healthy, just like me."

Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected]

     
Comments
Rays team up to beat Yankees again 4-0

Rays team up to beat Yankees again 4-0

ST. PETERSBURG — With all that's been said, tweeted, ranted and written on these pages and elsewhere about the Rays' odd, unorthodox, weird and some days downright wacky pitching plan, this might be the craziest thing yet:It's working.Like, rea...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Rays Tales: Why ‘trades’ and ‘prospects’ are always in same conversation

Rays Tales: Why ‘trades’ and ‘prospects’ are always in same conversation

Besides the continual evolution of their intriguing pitching plan, the primary topics of conversation for the Rays over the next several weeks will be trades and prospects. And not mutually exclusively.Some sooner than others, the Rays are going to c...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Rays journal: New confidence carries over for Willy Adames

Rays journal: New confidence carries over for Willy Adames

ST. PETERSBURG — The key to SS Willy Adames rapping two of the biggest hits in the Rays' 4-0 win Saturday actually took place the night before.An RBI single that snapped an 0-for-12 and a second hit two winnings later in Friday's game restored ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Saturday’s Rays-Yankees game

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

INF Daniel Robertson has only played two games after a short DL stint, but it seems like he has already made a half dozen great plays. Willy Adames and Jake Bauers get the attention, but Robertson has the skills to steal the show any night.It is obvi...
Updated: 9 hours ago
For starters: Rays vs. Yankees, looking for two straight

For starters: Rays vs. Yankees, looking for two straight

UPDATE, 2:38: Clarifying what was a communication error with the team PR staff, Rays manager Kevin Cash said LHP Blake Snell was slated for an extra day's rest all along and will face the Nationals on Monday not the Yankees on Sunday. The Rays will u...
Published: 06/23/18
Rodney Page’s takeaways from Rays-Yankees

Rodney Page’s takeaways from Rays-Yankees

1. SS Willy Adames had a nice night, and there appear to be many more in his future. He had two hits, an RBI and an inning-ending leaping catch on a line drive by Didi Gregorius in the fifth.2. DH C.J. Cron needs to shake things up. Take a different ...
Published: 06/22/18
Marc Anthony pays a visit to the Trop

Marc Anthony pays a visit to the Trop

By Allana BarefieldTimes Staff WriterST. PETERSBURG — Latin pop star Marc Anthony visited Tropicana Field on Friday to see his beloved Yankees play the Rays.Anthony spent nearly an hour on the field before the game as fans and players surrounde...
Published: 06/22/18
Rays journal: Daniel Robertson’s return crowds up infield

Rays journal: Daniel Robertson’s return crowds up infield

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays reinstated INF Daniel Robertson from the 10-day disabled list (left hamstring strain). To make room, RHP Austin Pruitt was sent to Triple-A Durham."It's out of my mind. I don't think about (the hamstring) when I'm bend...
Published: 06/22/18
Rays hang on for a 2-1 win over Yankees

Rays hang on for a 2-1 win over Yankees

ST. PETERSBURG – Many times this season the Rays' strategy of opening the game with a short reliever and using the bullpen to finish hasn't had much success.Friday wasn't one of those nights.A total of six pitchers held the Yankees and their va...
Published: 06/22/18
Missed time a good mental reset for Rays’ Matt Duffy

Missed time a good mental reset for Rays’ Matt Duffy

ST. PETERSBURG — Missing all of 2017 might have been the absolute worst thing for Matt Duffy.Frustratingly idled as he eventually recovered and rehabbed from ongoing left heel issues, he couldn't play the game he loved, couldn't show the Rays o...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18