Sunday, January 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Moore continues to impress in spring debut

FORT MYERS — LHP Matt Moore's first appearance of the spring did not start well Monday, a misplaced curveball launched for a leadoff home run by Boston's Mookie Betts.

But things got better from there, as Moore retired the next six batters he faced in the Rays' eventual 3-2 10-inning win. And that made it another good day overall for the key starter, who came back last season from Tommy John elbow surgery and finished strong.

"I thought he was outstanding," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Really good. It was nice to see. Very, very clean with everything. Threw a bunch of strikes."

Moore, who stuck with fastballs and curves in throwing 17 of his 23 pitches for strikes, said he felt a little too amped given it was his first game, but he has been pleased with his work overall this spring.

"It feels great," he said. "I think that's probably the biggest reason for the smile on my face most of the time when I come through the doors these days. Being away from the game for that long and struggling and getting back to where I want to be at the end of last season, the appreciation is a lot bigger and a lot more on my end of the game. I had a lot of fun out there."

KID GAMES: RHP Taylor Guerrieri, a 23-year-old top prospect, had an impressive two-inning outing, working a fourth inning in which he faced Boston's biggest names. He gave up an RBI single to retiring star David Ortiz..

"It was pretty cool, to say the least, to face a future Hall of Famer in Big Papi," Guerrieri said. "It's something that I'll never forget. And the fact that he got a hit off me — it kind of kills me to say this — it almost makes it better."

Cash was impressed with how Guerrieri, in his first big-league camp, handled himself as he got Dustin Pedroia to fly out, gave up singles to Xander Bogaerts and Ortiz then came back to strike out Hanley Ramirez and get Pablo Sandoval to ground out.

"I think (pitching coach Jim Hickey) challenged him a little bit, stuck him out there against some of their big guys, and he responded really well," Cash said. "It was very impressive, the poise. They did not take him out of the strike zone. He just kind of did his thing. The stuff that he's featuring obviously plays very well."

JONNY ON THE SPOT: LHP Jonny Venters, trying to come back from a third Tommy John surgery, throws his first bullpen session of the spring today in Port Charlotte.

Venters, 31, threw off the mound a few times last fall and is eager to get back at it after an offseason of rest, aiming to progress to rehab games within six weeks and join the Rays this summer. "Everything has been feeling good," the former Braves All-Star said. "I'm excited."

Among the three other Tommy John rehabs: RHP Neil Wagner, on a similar schedule to Venters, is also slated for his first bullpen session today; RHP Alex Cobb is on a planned two-week break from throwing with hopes to start bullpen sessions in late March; and RHP Chase Whitley starts his break next week and will be on a similar schedule to Cobb.

GAME DETAILS: Down 1-0 on Betts' homer, the Rays (3-3) took a 2-1 lead in a two-hit, two-error fourth, then after Boston tied it won it in the 10th. … Nonroster INF Juniel Querecuto knocked in the decisive run after INF Nick Franklin led off with a walk. … After nonroster RHP Ryan Garton, the Mitchell High product, walked four (and got a double play), nonroster RHP Mark Sappington came in to save it, using the cutter he learned last year to get a ground ball from Allen Craig. … 2B Logan Forsythe had two hits. … The Rays played their first error-free game.

MISCELLANY: OF Steven Souza Jr., sidelined since Feb. 21 by an intercostal strain, will accompany the team to Lakeland to take batting practice and is slated to debut Thursday or Friday.

Comments
Why free agency hasnít turned out fun (yet) for ex-Rays pitcher Alex Cobb

Why free agency hasnít turned out fun (yet) for ex-Rays pitcher Alex Cobb

RHP Alex Cobb never expected to be going into late January without knowing where he was going for spring training.The longtime Ray's first foray into free agency hasn't gone as planned, much like the 150-plus others waiting for something to give in a...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Rays infielder Daniel Robertson lends a hand to help families dealing with cancer

Rays infielder Daniel Robertson lends a hand to help families dealing with cancer

Rays infielder Daniel Robertson has much to be excited about heading into his second season in the majors.But before packing for spring training, he took some time last weekend to provide help for families needing assistance in dealing with cancer.Hi...
Published: 01/19/18
Ex-Rays star Longoria dons Giants jersey, looks forward to full-stadium environment in San Francisco

Ex-Rays star Longoria dons Giants jersey, looks forward to full-stadium environment in San Francisco

Longtime Rays star Evan Longoria was formally introduced in San Francisco today, adding the visual of him pulling on his new Giants jersey, switching to No. 10 since 3 is retired.Longoria said he welcomed the chance to play on a contending team stock...
Published: 01/19/18
What do Rays look like now? What will they look like March 29?

What do Rays look like now? What will they look like March 29?

ST. PETERSBURG — Since entering an off-season planning major change and pledging to be open to "anything and everything,'' the Rays have made a few minor moves and one massive one in trading franchise cornerstone Evan Longoria to San Francisco....
Published: 01/19/18
Reminder: Rays spring tickets go on sale today at 10 a.m.

Reminder: Rays spring tickets go on sale today at 10 a.m.

The Rays will put single game tickets for spring training home games on sale today at 10 a.m. via raysbaseball.com.The Rays are playing 14 home games in Port Charlotte, starting with the Feb. 23 opener vs. Pittsburgh. Tickets will be available at the...
Published: 01/19/18
Tampa Bay Rays 2018 spring training schedule

Tampa Bay Rays 2018 spring training schedule

Charlotte Sports Park, 2300 El Jobean Rd., Port Charlotte, 33948Get tickets here: (941) 206-4487Pitchers report: Feb. 13. Squad reports: Feb. 19TEAM SCHEDULE(games at 1:05 unless noted)(ss - split squad)Feb 23 at Orioles (ss) (Sarasota)Feb 23 PIRATE...
Published: 01/19/18
Ex-Phillies, Indians manager Charlie Manuel to get Ted Williams Museum award

Ex-Phillies, Indians manager Charlie Manuel to get Ted Williams Museum award

Former Phillies and Indians manager Charlie Manuel will receive the Ted Williams Lifetime Achievement Award on Feb. 10 in Clearwater.The honor is bestowed by the Ted Williams Museum at its annual Hitters Hall of Fame induction, moving this year from ...
Published: 01/19/18
Former Rays OF Matt Joyce to hold annual charity baseball camp at North Brandon complex

Former Rays OF Matt Joyce to hold annual charity baseball camp at North Brandon complex

Armwood High product Matt Joyce, the current A's and former Rays outfielder, hosts his ninth annual Sweet Swingin' charity baseball camp for kids 6-12 on Sunday at the North Brandon youth baseball complex (2929 S Kingsway Rd, Seffner).Registration st...
Published: 01/18/18
Rays spring tickets go on sale Friday

Rays spring tickets go on sale Friday

The Rays will put single game tickets for spring training home games on sale Friday at 10 a.m. via raysbaseball.com.The Rays are playing 14 home games in Port Charlotte, starting with the Feb. 23 opener vs. Pittsburgh. Tickets will be available at th...
Published: 01/17/18
A look at Rays 40-man roster with spring training starting in less than a month

A look at Rays 40-man roster with spring training starting in less than a month

With the start of spring training now less than a month away, here is what the Rays roster looks like, with the most glaring hole at first base, which at this point seems likely to be manned by Brad Miller, and some questions about the pitching staff...
Published: 01/17/18