Saturday, April 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Price already looks ready for season

PORT CHARLOTTE — There were still 20 days and three more spring starts until the March 31 season opener when Rays ace LHP David Price walked off the mound Tuesday afternoon, but he couldn't look more ready.

Price dazzled in five innings and 75 pitches in the 7-1 win over the Twins, allowing a run on a Jason Kubel homer and two singles, walking one and hitting one while striking out eight, including All-Star Joe Mauer.

"I don't think he could look any better right now," manager Joe Maddon said. "I think it's impossible."

Price was in command and control, pleased with his velocity and execution of all pitches, especially his curveball.

"At this point everything feels really good and I feel like I'm right in line with where I need to be," Price said. "It's definitely a good feeling. I definitely haven't felt this good in spring training since 2009, 2010, somewhere along those lines. It's definitely been a while. It feels good to feel this good at this point in spring training, but we're still a couple weeks away, and that's when it matters."

BALFOUR RESTED: RHP Grant Balfour's next outing was pushed back from Tuesday until today — and shifted to a minor-league game — after he said he felt like he was in a "dead arm" period while pitching Saturday.

"There's nothing wrong," Maddon said. "It's just one of those moments in camp, just move him back an extra day."

MEDICAL MATTERS: OF David DeJesus returned to action with two hits after missing a week with right side soreness. … 2B Ben Zobrist, who was scratched from Saturday's lineup with a stiff neck, is scheduled to DH today vs. the Blue Jays. … RHP Joel Peralta, who left Saturday's game with a stiff neck, is set to pitch in a minor-league game in Port Charlotte.

PITCHING IN: Rookie RHP Nathan Karns, the fourth candidate for the No. 5 slot in the rotation, gets a chance to impress in making the start today in Dunedin. "I want to get out there and improve what I've been working on and just enjoy the opportunity," he said.

Karns is starting because the Rays didn't want RHP Alex Cobb to face the Jays for a second time this spring, since he'll pitch against them in the season-opening series. Cobb will pitch in a minor-league game in Port Charlotte, along with Balfour and Peralta.

ROSTER REDUCTION: C Curt Casali and Ps Santiago Garrido, Braulio Lara and Sam Runion were reassigned to minor-league camp, cutting the roster to 52 (including yet-to-report RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo).

Maddon said was "really impressed" with what he saw of Casali, who was acquired last spring from Detroit and is likely headed to Double-A Montgomery: "This guy's a big-league catcher. He's going to help us."

Maddon said he expected Oviedo to have resolved his visa issues and be in camp by now. But since the reliever has been throwing regularly in the Dominican Republic, Maddon wasn't ready to give up on him being on the opening day roster.

"We're not there yet," Maddon said. "I'm at the intersection of 'I'm okay with this' and 'Let's get this thing going.' … I'm still counting on Oviedo to be here and be ready."

GAME DETAILS: SS Yunel Esocbar and DeJesus knocked in runs in the second as the Rays (6-3-2) took a 2-1 lead and built on. … 1B James Loney had two hits. … RHP Brandon Gomes, battling for a bullpen spot, had his fourth scoreless outing. … Maddon said it was "encouraging" to see LHP Jake McGee again throw good curveballs, a pitch he is working to add to his repertoire. … Non-roster OF Jerry Sands rapped his sixth extra-base hit, raising his average to .421, and non-roster OF Jeremy Moore, coming back from a hip injury, hit his second homer.

Comments
Marc Topkinís takeaways from Raysí 10-1 Saturday win over Twins

Marc Topkinís takeaways from Raysí 10-1 Saturday win over Twins

* Is it time to take the leap and believe this is the real Blake Snell? He talked a good game this spring and pitched well in his debut, but that rough second outing raised old doubts. But a good outing in Chicago and two dominant ones on the homesta...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays Tales: How low can this team go compared to those Devil Rays days?

Rays Tales: How low can this team go compared to those Devil Rays days?

When the Rays, in the opening weekend of their 20th anniversary celebration season, brought back and honored the inaugural 1998 Devil Rays squad, it got us thinking unexpected thoughts, such as which was a better team:The first one, or the current on...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays Journal: Team effort pays off in 10-1 win over Twins

Rays Journal: Team effort pays off in 10-1 win over Twins

ST. PETERSBURG – Let's be clear here, the Rays still have a long way to go, and a lot of ground to make up.But seeing them play like they did Saturday in beating the Twins 10-1, putting on a solid all-around show in cobbling their first three-g...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays will go forth with four starters

Rays will go forth with four starters

ST. PETERSBURG — Three weeks was enough for the Rays to officially ditch their three-man rotation plan.Starting Sunday, they will go forth with Yonny Chirinos as their fourth starter.Which is a five-star idea.The flaws in the three-man plan ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
For starters: Rays vs. Twins, with a familiar look

For starters: Rays vs. Twins, with a familiar look

UPDATE, 4:17: CF Kevin Kiermaier was back at the Trop, and at one point on the field with a glove on his left hand and protective wrapping on his right, the day after surgery to repair a torn UCL in his right thumb. He said the surgery went "as good ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Rays will go forth with Chirinos as fourth starter

Rays will go forth with Chirinos as fourth starter

The Rays have made it official – or as official as things can be with them – in naming RHP Yonny Chirinos as the fourth starter in their rotation.The Rays had been using three, and two "Bullpen Day" slots when playing five straight days.B...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Archerís sparkling start precedes surreal finish

Archerís sparkling start precedes surreal finish

By now, we presume you've had a few hours to digest the Rays' improbable 10-inning triumph Friday night.So instead of rehashing the whole bizarre body of work, how 'bout a closer look at the workmanship. Specifically, Chris Archer's.Partially lost in...
Published: 04/21/18
Now Batting in Double A: Biggio, Bichette and Guerrero

Now Batting in Double A: Biggio, Bichette and Guerrero

HARTFORD, Conn. — Craig Breslow is 37 years old, with a dozen years of experience as a left-handed reliever in the major leagues. He is pitching now for the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats, just getting to know his teammates. In their openin...
Published: 04/21/18
Span, Rays top Twins in 10 innings

Span, Rays top Twins in 10 innings

ST. PETERSBURG — Roughly four hours before taking the field against his former team Friday, Rays outfielder Denard Span spoke admirably about the Minnesota Twins, their organization in general, even hometown icon Joe Mauer.But business is busin...
Published: 04/20/18
Rays journal: Miller back from DL, KK surgery successful

Rays journal: Miller back from DL, KK surgery successful

ST. PETERSBURG — For a change, the physically snake-bitten Rays got some vigor, versatility and even a veteran presence back in their lineup  when INF Brad Miller was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list.To make room, they DFA'd INF/OF...
Published: 04/20/18