Friday, December 15, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays outfielders rob Padres of extra bases

ST. PETERSBURG — CF Sam Fuld is known for making highlight-reel catches the past few years, helping him earn the moniker, "The Legend of Sam Fuld."

But Fuld admitted that Sunday's leaping catch at the wall in the first inning of Sunday's 4-2 win over the Padres was "up there" with his best.

With one out, Padres RF Will Venable hit a long drive to deep right-center, but Fuld raced through the gap to the track, timed his jump perfectly and snagged the ball at the top of the wall.

"It was fun," Fuld said. "I knew it was going to be close right off the bat. I knew I had a long way to go. … It's nice to get a good (catch), probably, the first really good one I've had all year."

The Rays had other ways to describe the play.

"That was unbelievable," OF Matt Joyce said. "Everybody knows Sam's a legend out there with the glove and flashing some leather."

RF Sean Rodriguez, who had a "front-row seat," called the catch "sick."

"It was awesome," Rodriguez said.

Fuld was making his third straight start in center, taking the place of injured CF Desmond Jennings (sore groin), whom manager Joe Maddon said is "almost 100 percent sure" will return Tuesday against the Red Sox. Jennings said they're just being cautious.

"My game is my legs," he said. "And I don't want to do something that could affect me for two months instead of for two days."

Fuld grew up playing center — in high school, college and the minors — and said it was "sort of nostalgic" being out there a few days in a row.

"He's a fearless guy," Maddon said. "He goes to the wall as well as anybody that I've ever had as a manager, as a coach. He's got the propensity for making the big play on defense."

MAYS STYLE: Maddon said Joyce's over-the-shoulder grab in right in the ninth was equally as good as Fuld's.

Joyce, who entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the eighth, said that with CF Chris Denorfia up against closer Fernando Rodney, he wasn't expecting a ball over his head. Joyce moved in a little bit, and Denorfia's fly ball carried over his head.

Joyce said he has had a couple of similar grabs in the past.

"I think that's, for me, my favorite play," Joyce said. "It's fun. It kind of reminds you of a football player catching a touchdown in the end zone. The crowd gets into it and enjoys it. Obviously I don't plan to catch it that way, but it just worked out that way."

CALLING OUT: Maddon, the eternal optimist, rarely calls out a player publicly. But Maddon believes it's always better to do so after a win, and following Saturday's 8-7 walkoff victory over the Padres, he was critical of RHP Jeremy Hellickson for his struggles in holding a lead.

Maddon said he was "way too emotional" to address the issue with Hellickson after Saturday night's game, but they chatted Sunday morning. Maddon said Hellickson took it "tremendously."

"Moving forward, it's all part of the accountability component," Maddon said. "Everybody has got to understand, sometimes you can paint a rosy picture. Other times you just got to paint a picture."

IN A GROOVE: RHP Roberto Hernandez, who picked up the win Sunday, has pitched to a 2.25 ERA over his last two starts, and likes where he's at. "I feel very, very comfortable," Hernandez said. "Keeping the ball down, throwing strikes, ground balls. I'm very, very happy."

miscellany: 1B James Loney, who hit a solo homer in the eighth, has homered in consecutive games for the 10th time in his career. … 3B/DH Evan Longoria has reached base safely at least twice in each of his last seven games, the first time he has done that in his career.

Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
No big deal for Rays at winter meetings, but it’s still coming

No big deal for Rays at winter meetings, but it’s still coming

LAKE BUENA VISTA — Here’s the one thing we definitely know:Rays officials headed home from the winter meetings and back across I-4 Thursday without making deals to trade any of their bigger-name, higher-paid players. Not closer Alex Colome, not third...
Published: 12/14/17
Are Tampa Bay Rays going to make a major deal involving Alex Colome, others? Well …

Are Tampa Bay Rays going to make a major deal involving Alex Colome, others? Well …

UPDATE, 4:02: It doesn't sound like the Rays and Cardinals will be making a deal today, Derrick Goold writing for the St. Louis Post Dispatch that Cardinals execs "leave the Walt Disney Dolphin resort with good feel for what Tampa Bay would be willin...
Published: 12/14/17
Rays re-sign pitcher Jonny Venters, among 13 invited to spring training

Rays re-sign pitcher Jonny Venters, among 13 invited to spring training

LAKE BUENA VISTA — LHP Jonny Venters got as far as Triple A in September. Now the former All-Star is positioned to make it all the way back to the majors for the first time since 2012, re-signing with the Rays and headlining Thursday’s announcement o...
Published: 12/14/17
Veteran Jonny Venters, prospect Joe McCarthy among 13 Tampa Bay Rays spring invitees

Veteran Jonny Venters, prospect Joe McCarthy among 13 Tampa Bay Rays spring invitees

Inspiring veteran LHP Jonny Venters and intriguing prospect 1B/OF Joe McCarthy are among 13 players invited to major-league spring training camp with the Rays.Others coming as a result of signing minor-league contracts with invites are: RHP R.J. Alan...
Published: 12/14/17
Tampa Bay Rays lose RHP Burch Smith in Rule 5 draft, keep Nick Ciuffo

Tampa Bay Rays lose RHP Burch Smith in Rule 5 draft, keep Nick Ciuffo

The Rays lost RHP Burch Smith in Thursday's Rule 5 draft but were happy to see him get an opportunity in Kansas City.They also were pleased to hang on to C Nick Ciuffo, who was left exposed but not selected.Smith, 27, was acquired from the Padres as ...
Published: 12/14/17
Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 4

Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 4

UPDATE, 11:09: RHP Steve Cishek, who was a very effective addition to the Rays pen last season, has reunited with pitching coach Jim Hickey, agreeing to a deal with the Cubs.UPDATE, 10:40: Like most teams, Rays officials are heading out of the meetin...
Published: 12/14/17
Disney-Fox deal gives ESPN control of local cable rights to Rays, Lightning games

Disney-Fox deal gives ESPN control of local cable rights to Rays, Lightning games

As part of its deal to buy a massive package of 21st Century Fox assets, Disney will acquire Fox Sports Regional Networks, which control the local cable rights to a slew of professional teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa Bay Lightning.Assu...
Published: 12/14/17
Tampa Bay Rays making progress in trade talks

Tampa Bay Rays making progress in trade talks

Without getting into specifics – especially the who and the where – Rays officials are for the first time talking optimistically about making a trade before the winter meetings end Thursday.Speaking at around 5:15, senior VP Chaim Bloom s...
Published: 12/13/17

Winter meetings journal: Rays trade for money to sign top international free agent

LAKE BUENA VISTA — While most of the business conducted at the meetings impacts the big-league team one way or another, the Rays are working to finalize a move they hope pays off big sometime in the 2020s.In trading Wednesday to acquire $1 million in...
Published: 12/13/17
Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 3 – updated with news

Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 3 – updated with news

UPDATE, 5:55: Trade talks apparently picked up this afternoon, perhaps related to previous activity by other teams, and for first time Rays officials sound like something could happen tonight."At this point today, some of those conversations are movi...
Published: 12/13/17