Sunday, June 17, 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
Rays lose again to Yankees, this time 4-1

Rays lose again to Yankees, this time 4-1

NEW YORK — Kevin Cash was not going to go all Lou Piniella on his Rays, raging and ripping and roaring over their latest mess, a 4-1 Saturday loss to the Yankees that didn't feel that close.Which is too bad because Piniella, the volcanic former...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Rays journal: Arroyo on DL, Hechavarria returns

Rays journal: Arroyo on DL, Hechavarria returns

NEW YORK — Just when it seemed like SS Adeiny Hechavarria might not play another game for the Rays, he will rejoin them on Sunday.The Rays announced after Saturday's 4-1 loss that INF Christian Arroyo was placed on the DL due to an oblique stra...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Yankees

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Yankees

RHP Ryne Stanek did his job as the opener just fine in getting four outs on Saturday, but for the Rays' unorthodox pitching plan to work it takes a team effort. And LHP Ryan Yarbrough's inability to throw strikes quickly put them in a hole.The experi...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Peering into the crystal baseball to see what Rays could look like in 2019

Peering into the crystal baseball to see what Rays could look like in 2019

The Rays are still talking, as they should, about playing for something this season. The reality is that almost every move they've made, going back to the end of last season, and in some cases further, has been about 2019 and beyond.Clearing out vete...
Published: 06/16/18
For starters: Rays at Yankees, trying to break through

For starters: Rays at Yankees, trying to break through

UPDATE, 11:49: Cash said he played Cron at 1B in an effort to get him more involved in the game, indicated he may do so again Sunday (with Bauers off vs. LH Sabathia) and should have done so more as Cron struggled. … Cash reiterated that CF Kev...
Published: 06/16/18
Rays owner Stuart Sternberg frustrated, but optimistic

Rays owner Stuart Sternberg frustrated, but optimistic

NEW YORK — So what does the boss — lowercase, of course, around here — think of this up-and-down, hot-and-cold Rays season so far? Appropriately, a variety of things.In a 30-minute chat with the Tampa Bay Times before Friday's 5-0 l...
Published: 06/15/18
Rays journal: Nathan Eovaldi pitches well against his ex-team but gets no help

Rays journal: Nathan Eovaldi pitches well against his ex-team but gets no help

NEW YORK — RHP Nathan Eovaldi made an impressive return to Yankee Stadium on Friday to face his high-powered former teammates.It's too bad he didn't get any help from his current mates, in what ended up a 5-0 Rays loss.Eovaldi was in command an...
Published: 06/15/18
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Yankees

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Yankees

Give RHP Nathan Eovaldi credit for not letting emotions get in the way in his return to Yankee Stadium. He said he planned to treat it as all business, despite memories and friendships and he did just that, working impressively into the eighth.The Ra...
Published: 06/15/18
For starters: Rays at Yankees, with Eovaldi back on a familiar mound

For starters: Rays at Yankees, with Eovaldi back on a familiar mound

Coming off Thursday's 4-3 loss, the Rays will face the Yankees again tonight, and they are starting a pitcher quite familiar with the Yankee Stadium mound, RHP Nathan Eovaldi.Having spent 2015 and 2016 with the Yankees until sustaining the elbow inju...
Published: 06/15/18
The golden age of baseball movies dawned 30 years ago this week

The golden age of baseball movies dawned 30 years ago this week

"Walt Whitman once said, 'I see great things in baseball. It's our game, the America game. It will repair our losses and be a blessing to us.' You can look it up.'' – Annie SavoyThirty years ago this week — June 15, 1988 — the ...
Published: 06/15/18