Thursday, January 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' pitching again pleases Joe Maddon

BRADENTON — For the second straight game, manager Joe Maddon couldn't have been happier with his pitching.

And it wasn't just due to ace LHP David Price, who made his spring debut Saturday.

Price looked and felt good in a 12/3-inning outing Saturday. The Rays relievers allowed one run in a 2-2 10-inning tie with the Pirates.

"The pitching was fantastic," Maddon said. "The entire bullpen was exceptional."

Price said he wished he had gotten ahead of more hitters in a 33-pitch appearance, but he was encouraged by how he felt physically and said he's ahead of his usual spring training pace. He was charged with one run (because of an RBI double given up by LHP Jeff Beliveau) and one hit (a single off the glove of 3B Logan Forsythe). Maddon said he didn't know Price's velocity but saw a lot of movement and some solid changeups.

"I thought he looked really good," Maddon said.

RHP Alex Colome, competing for the fifth starter spot, impressively worked out of a jam in the sixth, retiring the side after allowing a leadoff triple (on a ball lost in the sun by CF Justin Christian). "Colome was as sharp as anybody," Maddon said.

LHP Jake McGee continued to develop his curveball in his 13-pitch fourth. Maddon praised RHP Brad Boxberger, who struck out two in a hitless fifth. "They got bad looks at him," Maddon said. RHP Mark Lowe, battling for a bullpen spot, gave up a solo homer in the third but was pleased with his slider, a pitch Maddon said has been "incredible" this spring.

FIRST TIMERS: Minor-league INF Cameron Seitzer, playing in his first Grapefruit League game, hit a tying solo homer in the ninth, a blast off the rightfield boardwalk. "I heard he was a line-drive hitter that uses the whole field, kind of a (James) Loney description," Maddon said. "And he just jumped all over that." 3B Richie Shaffer, the Rays' first-round draft pick in 2012, also played in his first exhibition game, drawing a walk and striking out with the bases loaded in the eighth.

CATCHING ON: Maddon said C Ryan Hanigan will catch more than 50 percent of the regular-season games but he doesn't know how much more he'll get than C Jose Molina. "Maybe it'll be 51 percent?" Maddon said. "I'm not sure." Maddon said with Hanigan and Molina being "elite receivers," it will be easier to split up the games. One key difference from last year's platoon with Molina and C Jose Lobaton is that "the disparity regarding how you're going to view them both catching the same guy will be smaller."

MISCELLANY: DH Wil Myers went 0-for-2 but reached on an error, and Hanigan picked up a double in his Rays debut. … Maddon said 2B Ben Zobrist (back) will likely play in his first exhibition game Monday, Tuesday "at the latest." … Maddon said he had heard nothing new about RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo and INF Wilson Betemit, both delayed in the Dominican Republic due to visa issues.

Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
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...
Updated: 9 minutes ago
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
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