Saturday, June 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays happy that Loney finds new club in Padres

BALTIMORE — When 1B James Loney was officially told last week there was no room for him on the Rays roster, he said he expected things to end up working out well for him.

That appears to be the case, as Loney, after being released with the Rays responsible for his $8 million salary, signed with San Diego, which just happens to be where he lives.

Technically, he signed a minor-league deal, but he is expected to be called up and become part of the Padres lineup in the relative near future.

"I feel great where I'm at now and so ecstatic to be able to play the game I love," Loney, 31, told the Tampa Bay Times. "I did not like missing opening day, but I am embracing this new journey I am on. I will go down there and play and let the Padres determine when they are ready to call me up."

After being released by the Rays on Sunday and clearing waivers Wednesday, Loney was free to sign with any team, and it would have to pay him only the prorated share of the $507,500 minimum salary, with the Rays covering the rest.

"I was looking for the most playing opportunities," Loney said. "So the dialogue the Padres conveyed to me was something I was comfortable with."

The Rays bumped the slick-fielding Loney, their starter the previous three seasons, out of a position by acquiring more offensive-oriented Logan Morrison and Steve Pearce to play first, and Corey Dickerson to DH.

Several players said Friday that they were glad to see he got a new gig. So was manager Kevin Cash.

"I'm very happy for J-Lo," Cash said. "That was a difficult decision for all of us. He's a big-league player, we all know that. He'll go there, and he'll help that club quite a bit. He has a veteran presence, and he's a guy that can hit."

GOING LONGO: Evan Longoria's first-inning blast extended the Rays' club-record streak to 19 straight games with a homer, longest by any team since the 2013 Mariners did 23. … It also was Longoria's seventh homer off Orioles RHP Chris Tillman, his most against any pitcher (CC Sabathia, six).

WELL-ARMED: As expected, Major League Baseball arranged for additional security to accompany the Rays after an incident in Bradenton stemming from their trip to Cuba.

Jim Previtera, one of their MLB resident security agents, who also serves as assistant St. Petersburg police chief, is on this trip, and there will be a presence on others. During a March 26 game in Bradenton, a man was arrested after running onto the field, screaming obscenities related to Cuba and throwing a can of beer into their dugout.

CHANGED UP: LHP Drew Smyly starts tonight, weather permitting, planning to continue making more use of his changeup after mostly positive feedback in his Monday season debut.

Smyly worked during the spring on gaining command of and confidence in the changeup, which he throws with a circle grip, saying, "I think I finally got it down." It gives him another option against right-handers, though he said it won't supplant his curve and slider as primary alternatives to his fastball.

"I think it can be a pretty good weapon for me," he said.

FAMILIAR FACES: Friday provided for two reunions. Pearce returned to Baltimore, where he played the previous three-plus seasons and was a favorite of Orioles manager Buck Showalter. And CF Joey Rickard, a Rule 5 draft pick by Baltimore, played against his former Rays minor-league teammates, going 2-for-4 while batting leadoff. He is 7-for-15 with hits in each of his first four big-league games.

MISCELLANY: The first-pitch temperature was announced at 50 degrees. … Morrison, after hitting into a first-inning double play on a ball he, and Cash initially, thought was foul and striking out, got his first Rays hit. SS Brad Miller was 0-for-4 and ran his season-opening hitless streak to 14 at-bats.

Comments
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 ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
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...
Updated: 3 hours ago
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...
Updated: 3 hours ago
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...
Updated: 4 hours ago
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
Rays journal: Jake Bauers proves he’s up to speed on bases

Rays journal: Jake Bauers proves he’s up to speed on bases

ST. PETERSBURG – Rookie 1B Jake Bauers has impressed at the plate and in the field since his June 7 promotion.Also, with his hustling on the bases."I knew he played hard; everybody said that at every level,'' manager Kevin Cash said. "I di...
Published: 06/21/18
Rays journal: 7 pitches, 3 straight homers prove too much in loss to Astros

Rays journal: 7 pitches, 3 straight homers prove too much in loss to Astros

HOUSTON — The Rays were engaged in a third straight tight, go-either-way battle with the defending champ Astros on Wednesday.Until they were not.A brutal seven-pitch sequence by starter Nathan Eovaldi changed everything, as he gave up three con...
Published: 06/21/18
Rays see the results of keeping a good, young core group together

Rays see the results of keeping a good, young core group together

HOUSTON — The Rays saw a lot on the weeklong trip that ended with Wednesday's game against that Astros, beyond the street hustlers prowling in Times Square and the urban cowboys and girls parading through H-town.There was an impressive debuting...
Published: 06/20/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Astros game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Astros game

RHP Nathan Eovaldi said before his rough start Wednesday against the Astros that he was pitching better than his numbers showed. Well … In four starts since his six no-hit innings debut, he's 0-3 with a 6.17 ERA, allowing eight homers, four Wed...
Published: 06/20/18
For starters: Rays at Astros, with a different look

For starters: Rays at Astros, with a different look

UPDATE, 6:43: Cash said the key to how the pieced the lineup together was the opportunity to give Cron (who is struggling) and Duffy (who is doing well) back to back days off. … Looking ahead to the weekend, the Rays will use RHP Ryne Stanek as...
Published: 06/20/18