Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rays' Jeremy Hellickson to get extra work in minors

Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson (58) throwing in the second inning of the Kansas City Royals at the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, July 8, 2014.


Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson (58) throwing in the second inning of the Kansas City Royals at the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, July 8, 2014.

ST. PETERSBURG — Instead of relaxing during the All-Star break, RHP Jeremy Hellickson will get some extra work.

The Rays optioned him to Double-A Montgomery before Sunday's game to create a roster opening for LHP Jake McGee, who was activated from the paternity list.

Hellickson had elbow surgery in January and has made one major-league start this season, lasting 4⅓ innings Tuesday, so the club moved him to the minors to give him more time to get back into rhythm.

"He was fine the last time, but I think this should really sharpen the edge up a little bit," manager Joe Maddon said.

The upcoming schedule gives the team more flexibility with Hellickson. With two off days next week plus the All-Star break, it won't need a fifth starter until July 29.

Hellickson is scheduled to start at Pensacola today and make another minor-league start — likely with Class A Charlotte — before rejoining the Rays for the next homestand, which begins July 25.

"I wasn't opposed to it," Hellickson said. "It's not too big of a hassle. I need to keep getting work in."

The team set the first part of its post-All-Star break rotation, with Alex Cobb, David Price and Chris Archer scheduled to pitch the three-game series in Minnesota.

Animated Escobar: Maddon has seen a more energetic Yunel Escobar since the shortstop returned from the disabled list, and the results have been promising.

Escobar had a streak of 64 consecutive plate appearances without a strikeout end Sunday, but he finished 1-for-4 with a stolen base. He also was part of turning both double plays and passionately encouraged Maddon to challenge his slide into home for the game's second run.

"This guy needs to be animated," Maddon said. "He does not need to be this stoic, one-size-fits-all kind of thing. He needs to be animated. He needs to be himself."

Self-assessment: For a player known for his defense, OF Kevin Kiermaier sums up his rookie season curiously: happy with his offense (10-for-21 with seven RBIs over the homestand) but displeased with his defense.

Kiermaier's speed and dives have turned out a few highlight-reel plays, but he's also admittedly made several mistakes. One was costly Saturday, when he missed on a head-first dive for a Colby Rasmus hit to centerfield. Kiermaier barely missed the catch — he said his glove was just a little off the ground — and Rasmus turned it into a triple and, one batter later, a Blue Jays run.

Kiermaier said he should have slid feet-first, so his body would have blocked the ball if he missed, likely holding Rasmus to a single.

"I've got all the tools; I've got to be a little smarter," he said. "It's instinctive, but at the same time I have to know when a time and a place is to be aggressive."

Medical Matters: CF Desmond Jennings wasn't in Sunday's lineup but said he is healthy after bruising his knee with a foul ball Friday night. C Ryan Hanigan wasn't in the lineup, either. He has battled soreness in his left side. The team expects both to be healthy after the All-Star break.

Miscellany: 3B Evan Longoria's sac fly in the seventh moved him four away from tying Carl Crawford's club record of 592 RBIs. … Maddon's successful challenge on Escobar's play at the plate in the sixth was the 11th time (in 31 challenges) he has had a call overturned. … McGee had two strikeouts in the ninth for his seventh save.

Contact Matt Baker at [email protected]m. Follow @MBakerTBTimes.

Rays' Jeremy Hellickson to get extra work in minors 07/13/14 [Last modified: Sunday, July 13, 2014 10:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning needs to hold onto Sergachev


    Here’s hoping the Lightning holds onto Mikhail Sergachev.

    Mikhail Sergachev has scored his first three NHL goals in his last two NHL games.
  2. Rick and Tom podcast: Defensively, Bucs have regressed to early 2016 stages


    The Bucs lose another game they should have won because in less than a minute they went from everything is back on track to blowing it. In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones break down the …

    Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) is pressured by Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) during the second half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  3. Abominable Bucs Missing Their Chance


    Of course, they can still win the division.

    They can still make the playoffs.

    Another Sunday, another celebration for the other guys
  4. Justin Timberlake in Super Bowl halftime show for first time since 'wardrobe malfunction'


    Justin Timberlake has finally been invited back to the Super Bowl halftime show, 14 years after the "wardrobe malfunction" with Janet Jackson caused a national controversy.

    Singer Janet Jackson covers her breast as Justin Timberlake holds part of her costume after her outfit came undone during the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston in 2004. The NFL announced Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, that Timberlake will headline the Super Bowl halftime show Feb. 4 in Minnesota, 14 years after the "wardrobe malfunction" with Janet Jackson cause a national controversy. [Associated Press]
  5. No more looking at Jim Harbaugh, but should we look at Notre Dame?


    STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Overheard Sunday morning in a hotel elevator, among two Penn State fans: "Did you see Coach Harbaugh's interview? He looked shellshocked. One of those coaches with his job on the line."

    Jim Harbaugh and Michigan are falling out of the national conversation; Sunday they fell out of the AP rankings after a blowout loss to Penn State. [Detroit Free Press/TNS]