Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays journal: Boxberger says he'll be ready for opener, Cash isn't so sure

DUNEDIN — RHP Brad Boxberger said he "definitely" will be ready to pitch by opening day. The calendar and the Rays training staff might say otherwise.

Boxberger, who is expected to be the setup man and fill-in closer, has not pitched this spring because of a lat/back injury. He did pitch live batting practice Saturday at Port Charlotte and said other than his timing being a little off, he felt good health-wise. He expects to pitch Tuesday in a minor-league game.

It's hard to imagine Boxberger getting enough outings over the final 12 days of camp to be ready by the April 2 opener, even though he needs only to build himself for one inning of work.

Manager Kevin Cash admitted after Saturday's 3-2 win over the Blue Jays that Boxberger is "cutting it close."

"We'll just have to wait and see," Cash said. "The last thing we want him to do is feel like he's got to rush something. We want Box healthy for most of the season. If he's a little behind, we can deal with that. I think we all saw what took place when that didn't happen last year. We got to get him healthy."

That guy Bauers

INF/OF Jake Bauers homered again, driving a ball into the netting that protects the offices behind the rightfield wall at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. It was his team-leading fourth home run of the spring. He is tied with 1B Rickie Weeks for the team lead in RBIs with 10.

"This is actually really unusual for me," Bauers said. "I'm not usually a spring training guy, but obviously, I made it a point this offseason, coming into big-league camp … just to try and be comfortable and be ready, and I kind of took a little more swings and a little more time to get ready. So I think I'm a little further ahead than I normally would be."

Manager Kevin Cash said he is more impressed with the way Bauers works an at-bat than how far the home runs have traveled. His tape-measure home run in Friday's game followed a streak of five walks over two games. Then Bauers drew a walk in his next trip to the plate.

The rookie is earning rave reviews from his teammates, witnessed by this tweet from CF Kevin Kiermaier: "To all the baseball fans out there..remember the name Jake Bauers..dude is an absolute stud. Show hair. Show swing. Very impressive"

What about Chase?

RHP Chase Whitley, competing for a spot in the bullpen, pitched four scoreless innings Saturday.

"You know, we're not ruling out him starting, either," manager Kevin Cash said. "It depends on how the numbers and how the injuries pan out, but right now, we saw last year what he can do coming out of the bullpen. There's a lot of value to that."

Game stuff: Rays 3, Blue Jays 2

CF Dayron Varona followed an opposite-field triple by 3B Patrick Leonard in the fifth inning with an opposite-field double to score what proved to be the difference in the game. … Jake Bauers put the Rays ahead 2-0 with his fourth-inning home run. … RHP Austin Pruitt turned in another strong outing with a spring-high three innings.

California dreaming

RHP Chris Archer has a flight booked this morning for Los Angeles, where he will rejoin Team USA if it beat the Dominican late Saturday night in the World Baseball Classic.

Times staff writer Marc Topkin contributed to this report.

Comments
Tony Perez, Dick Allen to highlight    Ted Williams museum inductions

Tony Perez, Dick Allen to highlight Ted Williams museum inductions

Hall of Famer Tony Perez and longtime Phillies/White Sox star Dick Allen will be inducted into the Ted Williams Hitters Hall of Fame next month in Clearwater.Former Yankees Cy Young Award winner Ron Guidry and longtime Astros ace J.R. Richard also wi...
Published: 01/16/18
Jones: Besties, Ball and bloopers -- it’s TV tidbits time

Jones: Besties, Ball and bloopers -- it’s TV tidbits time

Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.Best comebackExcuse Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp for getting so carried away that he dropped the queen bee of curse words on live television Sun...
Published: 01/14/18
Jesuit High product Lance McCullers gets big raise, avoids arbitration

Jesuit High product Lance McCullers gets big raise, avoids arbitration

Astros right-hander Lance McCullers, a Tampa native and former Jesuit High standout, reached a one-year deal for $2.45 million on Friday, avoiding arbitration. McCullers, 24, made $548,000 last season.
Published: 01/12/18
Jake Odorizzi, Adeiny Hechavarria lone Rays set for arbitration

Jake Odorizzi, Adeiny Hechavarria lone Rays set for arbitration

ST. PETERSBURG — For the second straight winter, pitcher Jake Odorizzi is taking the Rays to arbitration.Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria will join him.They were the only two of the nine arbitration-eligible Rays to not agree to a one-year contract by Fr...
Published: 01/12/18
Odorizzi, Hechavarria heading to arbitration

Odorizzi, Hechavarria heading to arbitration

The Rays have reached agreements on 2018 contracts with seven of their nine arbitration-eligible players with pitcher Jake Odorizzi and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria heading to arbitration.Odorizzi made $4.1 million last season after taking the R...
Published: 01/12/18
Alex Colome, Corey Dickerson, Jake Odorizzi among Rays’ arbitration-eligible players

Alex Colome, Corey Dickerson, Jake Odorizzi among Rays’ arbitration-eligible players

ST. PETERSBURG — The payroll for the 2018 season will become clearer this afternoon after the Rays and their nine arbitration-eligible players exchange figures on one-year contracts.Those who do not agree to the club’s offer will head to arbitration ...
Published: 01/11/18
Rays announce minor league coaching staffs

Rays announce minor league coaching staffs

Jim Morrison, the one-time manager of the Class A Charlotte Stone Crabs, will return to his old job in Port Charlotte this season.Morrison, the Tampa product, was named as the Stone Crabs manager Wednesday after spending the past four seasons as the ...
Published: 01/10/18
Denard Span excited to play for hometown Rays — if they keep him

Denard Span excited to play for hometown Rays — if they keep him

ST. PETERSBURG — Wednesday’s trade that brought him from the Giants to the Rays did catch Denard Span by surprise, but it was one he welcomed since playing for his hometown team is something the Tampa native always hoped could happen."I always though...
Updated one month ago
Another way to look at Rays trade of Evan Longoria to Giants

Another way to look at Rays trade of Evan Longoria to Giants

John Romano is the Tampa Bay Times metro columnist, but he's also a lifelong baseball nut who follows the game closely and understands all aspects. Here is his take on the Rays decision to traded franchise cornerstone Evan Longoria to the Giants: Ex...
Updated one month ago

More fan reaction to Rays trading Evan Longoria

As a 5-year-old growing up in St. Pete, I was a die-hard baseball fan. I cheered for all of the teams that had local spring training ties. I can still tell you the starting lineup for the 1980 world champion Phillies. And the ‘86 Mets. All that chang...
Updated one month ago