Thursday, February 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Moore muddles through debut

PORT CHARLOTTE — The best thing about LHP Matt Moore's spring debut Thursday was he got through it.

Moore didn't throw very hard or very well, allowing three hits and two walks in throwing 33 pitches to get four outs in an 11-2 loss to Detroit.

"I was real happy with being able to get out there and feel pain-free, feel nice," Moore, 23, said. "Let's just get this thing going, let's get some work going."

Moore said he hasn't built up to throwing his usual fastball, clocked typically in the lower 90s.

"I think that's just a result of getting my arm in velocity shape as camp goes on, at least I hope," he said.

He also said he didn't have a good feel on some of his offspeed pitches. On the plus side, he did get to work on his slide-step in holding on runners.

Manager Joe Maddon said Moore, who was 11-11 with a 3.81 ERA as a rookie, was healthy and that was all that mattered.

"It was not what you would call sharp, but it was effective in the sense that he got his requisite number of pitches in," Maddon said. "Not as sharp as he can be but will be."

LHP Jake McGee also had a rough outing, allowing three hits and a walk. He too wasn't throwing at his usual upper-90s velocity, and he said he was working specifically on his cutter.

GREENER PASTURES: DH Luke Scott started in rightfield, his first outfield action since July 3, 2011, just after the right shoulder injury that required surgery and hampered him last season.

Scott did well in limited exposure — one fly ball and a couple of base hits — and said he feels healthy enough and comfortable enough to play in the field occasionally. Maddon said the team is open to using him in leftfield, and at first base at times, thinking it could make him more productive as a DH.

Kelly Johnson started in left for the second straight day and didn't have any major issues, part of the program to increase his versatility.

GAME DETAILS: RHP Roberto Hernandez, making a strong bid for a rotation spot, overcame a two-walk first to work 2⅓ innings on 33 pitches. … RHP Joel Peralta made his spring debut with a one-hit seventh. … OF/1B Leslie Anderson had two more hits, hiking his average to .538. … 3B Evan Longoria got hits in his first two at-bats, making him 4-for-4 since the birth of daughter Elle. Then he grounded out.

KIRBY WITH A K: Maddon said he was impressed for a second time by RHP Kirby Yates, a 5-10 reliever who signed as a nondrafted free agent and has worked his way to Double-A Montgomery, going 4-2 with 16 saves and a 2.65 ERA for the Biscuits. "You got to keep your eye on that guy," Maddon said. "He's one of those guys who comes into a camp and nobody talks a lot about but — great composure, good stuff, knows how to throw a strike. He's been nice."

MISCELLANY: Players, coaches and team officials on March 15 will again shave their heads to raise funds for the Pediatric Cancer Foundation. … RHP Jeff Niemann turned 30, joking he was glad former teammate James Shields had already broken the team streak of consecutive starts by pitchers under 30.

Comments
Brent Honeywell injury could be worst Rays news yet

Brent Honeywell injury could be worst Rays news yet

PORT CHARLOTTE – It may have seemed that things couldn't get worse for the Rays after an opening week of spring training that included the dumping of two veterans to harshly negative reviews including from their own players, the trade of the te...
Updated: 4 hours ago

How the Rays’ DFA of Dickerson paid off, with a reliever and a prospect from Pirates

PORT CHARLOTTE – The Rays' surprising and controversial decision to designate for assignment 2017 All-Star OF/DH Corey Dickerson to prompt a trade paid off Thursday in a deal with the Pirates.Assuming you consider it a good return to get vetera...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rays find taker for Corey Dickerson, get Daniel Hudson, prospect from Pirates

Rays find taker for Corey Dickerson, get Daniel Hudson, prospect from Pirates

The Rays found a taker for OF/DH Corey Dickerson, trading him Thursday to the Pirates for veteran reliever Daniel Hudson, minor-league INF Tristan Gray and $1-million cash.Hudson, 30, will compete for a spot in the Rays bullpen, coming off a rou...
Updated: 10 hours ago
New pitcher Anthony Banda already “loving the vibe” with Rays

New pitcher Anthony Banda already “loving the vibe” with Rays

Acknowledging the "whirlwind" that comes with being traded, LHP Anthony Banda said he is excited to come over from Arizona because he figures to have a better opportunity with the Rays.And he already likes the fit."I'm very excited to be here and con...
Published: 02/22/18
Spring is in the air as games start today

Spring is in the air as games start today

After a week of players stretching, doing mundane drills and practicing practice, spring training moves to the next phase today with the start of exhibition games.Ah, baseball in the sunshine.Consider it a soft opening in this part of the state, with...
Published: 02/22/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays are adding players?

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays are adding players?

The Rays signed veteran outfielder Carlos Gomez to a one-year contract one day after trading Steven Souza Jr. to Arizona. In his latest podcast, Rick Stroud discusses reaction to the moves from players, as well as super fan Dick Vitale.Plus, the Bucs...
Published: 02/22/18
Grapefruit League 2018 day-by-day schedule

Grapefruit League 2018 day-by-day schedule

Here is the 2018 day-by-day Grapefruit League schedule. Check out the Tampa Bay Times’ 2018 Spring Training Guide for stadium locations, contact information, team-by-team schedules, ticket information and more.Thursday, Feb. 22U. of Tampa vs. Philade...
Published: 02/22/18
Dick Vitale to Rays owner Stu Sternberg: Sell the team

Dick Vitale to Rays owner Stu Sternberg: Sell the team

PORT CHARLOTTE – Dick Vitale, the Rays' most visible and, as of late, vocal fan, took to Twitter and the 620-AM airwaves Wednesday morning and later in the day in a phone call to the Tampa Bay Times to blast his local baseball team.Vitale, ESPN...
Published: 02/21/18
Updated: 02/22/18
What if the Rays actually have a good plan?

What if the Rays actually have a good plan?

PORT CHARLOTTE — Going against popular opinion, here's an odd thought to ponder:What if the Rays actually know what they're doing?The deal agreed to Wednesday afternoon with veteran outfielder Carlos Gomez — one year for a hefty-for-them ...
Published: 02/21/18
Updated: 02/22/18
Denard Span on new Ray Anthony Banda: ‘Guy is pretty legit’

Denard Span on new Ray Anthony Banda: ‘Guy is pretty legit’

PORT CHARLOTTE — 2B Nick Solak reported to camp Wednesday, while LHP Anthony Banda, the other player acquired in the Steven Souza Jr. trade, is on his way.Banda, whose fastball hits the mid-90s, pitched in eight games last season with the Diamo...
Published: 02/21/18