Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Myers stars again out of leadoff spot

SARASOTA — Manager Joe Maddon made it clear that RF Wil Myers batting leadoff is just a "spring training thing."

But Maddon shook his head in the dugout when Myers, in the top spot for the second straight game, led off Wednesday's 7-4 win over the Orioles with a mammoth homer to center.

Myers, who also singled and stole a base, is 5-for-7 with four extra-base hits in two games at leadoff after going 4-for-26 with no extra-base hits prior.

"The ball is in the air a little bit more, and that's really important because he's that kind of a hitter," Maddon said. "He's going to hit the doubles and homers by the ball being in the air more than likely. That first ball was absolutely crushed. But again, he's gaining confidence and feeling better about himself."

LOWE DOWN: Veteran RHP Mark Lowe continued his case for a bullpen spot with Wednesday's start. Lowe allowed two unearned runs on four hits in 21/3 innings and liked how he battled out of jams. "He was really good," Maddon said.

Lowe, 30, on a minor-league deal, said the Rays are a "perfect fit" and he wants to stay. If he doesn't make the team, he'll likely take his first March 28 opt-out instead of heading to Triple A, hoping for another big-league opportunity. He has given up one earned run in six appearances (81/3 innings). "Physically, I'm as strong as I've ever been," he said.

MEDICAL MATTERS: OF Matt Joyce left after the first inning as a precaution due to a stiff neck. "Probably a couple heat packs and a rubdown and he'll be all right," Maddon said.

failure to communicate: The Rays had two errors, but the only thing that bothered Maddon was the bad infield coverage in the first that allowed CF Adam Jones a rare double steal. With Jones on first, the Rays had their usual infield shift on for left-handed hitting 1B Chris Davis. Jones stole second without a throw from C Curt Casali and, noticing third base wasn't covered, kept going. Maddon said there was a communication error: "That should not happen."

GAME DETAILS: After Tuesday's 20 hits — a spring record in the Rays era (since 2008) — Tampa Bay (13-4-2) had 14, eight for extra bases. "Let's not peak too soon," INF Sean Rodriguez quipped. … Rodriguez, who missed a week due to hamstring tightness, hit a two-run homer. INF Jayson Nix had a solo shot. … Ex-Orioles INF Wilson Betemit had two doubles against his former team. … RHP Josh Lueke had a 1-2-3 fourth on 12 pitches while pitching the second of back-to-back days. LHP Jake McGee, also on a back-to-back, said his Wednesday was more of a "game-like situation." He entered in the third to face Davis and was happy he got him to swing and miss on a curveball.

MINOR MATTERS: Rays closer Grant Balfour was pleased with how he felt and how he threw in a 12-pitch 1-2-3 inning in a minor-league game Wednesday, clocking at 90-91 mph. But his performance tonight against the Twins — in his first back-to-back outings of the spring — will be more telling. "There will be a little more intensity and you're bouncing back with no rest," Balfour said. "That's always a good test."… Rays RHP Chris Archer worked into the sixth inning of a minor-league game, though not particularly happy with how he did during the 91-pitch outing. He went 51/3 innings and allowed three runs on six hits, including a two-run homer. "I could've definitely executed some pitches better," he said. "But just simple things I could fix, nothing too overwhelming."

Times staff writer Marc Topkin contributed to this report. Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected]

     
 
Comments
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...
Updated: 5 hours ago
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
Rays opener will be late-afternoon affair

Rays opener will be late-afternoon affair

The Rays' March 29 season-opener against the Red Sox has been set for a 4 p.m. first pitch at Tropicana Field.This will be the ninth straight year the Rays have opened at home, and the third time they have opened against the rival Red Sox.  The ...
Published: 01/17/18
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 -- itís TV tidbits time

Jones: Besties, Ball and bloopers -- itís 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 ó 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 Raysí arbitration-eligible players

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

ST. PETERSBURG ó 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 clubís 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