Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays put Niemann on DL

RECOMMENDED READING


ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Jeff Niemann said all spring his shoulder felt fine, and the Rays weren't concerned that his velocity was down a few miles per hour.

But Niemann said Friday that he had been battling soreness for a while. And after it worsened over the past few days, he was placed on the 15-day disabled list. RHP Brandon Gomes was recalled from Triple-A Durham to take his place.

"It's definitely unfortunate," Niemann said, "and other words I can't say right now."

Niemann, 30, was made a long reliever after losing the final rotation spot to RHP Roberto Hernandez. He said he felt pain and "overall achiness" during the first few games while getting his arm adjusted to pitching out of the bullpen.

"When you're sitting down there and you're hoping when the phone rings it's not for you because you don't know if you can go throw a baseball, that's as clear as it got for me," Niemann said.

Niemann, who was to be examined by team doctors Friday night, said the discomfort is similar to what he experienced in September, an injury that shut him down for the rest of the season. He said it's "too early to tell" how long he'll be sidelined. But it will be the third straight season Niemann spends time on the DL.

"It's disappointing for him and for us," manager Joe Maddon said. "I really envisioned him doing a lot of good things for us this year. He still can."

STEPPING IN: Gomes, one of the last cuts of the spring, said he always knew he'd get a chance to help this season.

But he didn't expect it to be so soon, receiving the call Thursday during dinner in Norfolk, Va., on a road trip with Durham.

"I'm extremely happy," he said.

Maddon said Gomes had one of the best camps of any reliever and believes his versatility can be a huge benefit to the bullpen, which posted a 10.13 ERA before three scoreless innings Friday.

Maddon said Gomes, LHP Cesar Ramos and RHP Jamey Wright are options in long relief. But while Niemann would have needed two days between outings and could only start an inning, Gomes can enter any time and pitch on consecutive days.

Gomes, who gave up two runs over 101/3 spring innings, picked up where he left off with a scoreless eighth Friday. "I don't see any reason why I can't continue that type of success," Gomes said.

BREAKING OUT: RHP Alex Cobb has reason to feel comfortable and confident entering his first full season in the rotation. And Cobb, who starts tonight, certainly has raised expectations with success over the past two years. Sports Illustrated predicted he'll be the American League's "breakout pitcher," in a recent issue.

"They're always right, right?" Cobb said, laughing. "Can't go bad this year for me. It's cool. I've never really been mentioned, or I haven't really drawn anybody's interest in years past. So it's nice to get a little mention here in the bottom right corner of Sports Illustrated."

Medical matters: DH Luke Scott tested his strained right calf for the first time since going on the DL, including hitting in the cage, saying it went "absolutely awesome."

TRADE TALK: The team traded C Stephen Vogt to the A's for a player to be named later or cash. Vogt, 28, with the Rays since drafted in 2007, played in 18 big-league games, all last year He was designated for assignment Sunday.

WIL WATCH: Touted OF prospect Wil Myers went 1-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and two strikeouts during Triple-A Durham's season opener. RHP Chris Archer allowed one run and three hits over five innings of an 11-2 win at Norfolk.

Comments
Rays INF Matt Duffy has to say big goodbye to 27-pound cat Skeeter

Rays INF Matt Duffy has to say big goodbye to 27-pound cat Skeeter

When the Rays acquired INF Matt Duffy from the Giants during the 2016 season, we also heard about the giant and somewhat famous cat he had, an up-to-27-pounder named Skeeter.Duffy announced over the weekend on Instagram that the family had to have Sk...
Published: 11/21/17
Rays agonize over which prospects to protect on 40-man roster

Rays agonize over which prospects to protect on 40-man roster

ST. PETERSBURG — That the Rays went right up to Monday’s 8 p.m. deadline in deciding to add seven players to the 40-man roster, and that a couple they left off seem to be potential Rule 5 draft losses, was apparently a good thing."There’s always some...
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/21/17
UPDATE: RHP Brent Honeywell among 7 added to Rays 40-man roster

UPDATE: RHP Brent Honeywell among 7 added to Rays 40-man roster

UPDATE, 8:11: RHP Jose Mujica was an additional addition to the roster, beyond the six previously reported. Mujica, 21, was 14-8, 3.04 ERA in 27 starts between Class-A Charlotte and Double-A Montgomery.So among those left unprotected and potentially ...
Published: 11/20/17
Former Devil Ray Aubrey Huff among newcomers to Baseball Hall of Fame ballot

Former Devil Ray Aubrey Huff among newcomers to Baseball Hall of Fame ballot

Aubrey Huff isn't going to make the Baseball Hall of Fame.But at least the former Devil Rays standout has the satisfaction of making the cut to get onto the ballot, one of 19 first-timers up for election this year.Other newcomers with Rays ties are O...
Published: 11/20/17
Topkin: As Rays start dealing, how far will they go?

Topkin: As Rays start dealing, how far will they go?

After collecting intelligence at last week’s GM meetings, the Rays soon will launch their offseason mission of trading at least a couple of veterans to reduce payroll.The question is how far they will go — how many players they deal, and how big of n...
Published: 11/18/17
Rocco Baldelli’s promotion on Rays coaching staff now makes him major league field coordinator

Rocco Baldelli’s promotion on Rays coaching staff now makes him major league field coordinator

The Rays completed the reorganization of their coaching staff by giving Rocco Baldelli the title of major league field coordinator.In being promoted from first-base coach, Baldelli will implement ideas and information from the staff, while assisting ...
Published: 11/17/17
Rays hope to cash in on Alex Cobb leaving

Rays hope to cash in on Alex Cobb leaving

LAKE BUENA VISTA — The Rays were banking on pitcher Alex Cobb declining their one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer based on the lure of a longer-term and more lucrative deal elsewhere as a free agent.With that decision official Thursday, now the ...
Published: 11/16/17
Commissioner Rob Manfred likes Ybor City stadium site, but must see more support to keep baseball in Tampa Bay

Commissioner Rob Manfred likes Ybor City stadium site, but must see more support to keep baseball in Tampa Bay

LAKE BUENA VISTA — MLB commissioner Rob Manfred didn’t want to talk Thursday about what might happen if the current effort to build the Rays a new stadium at the Ybor City site falls through."I’m more focused on working with the community to figure o...
Published: 11/16/17
A message to Rays fans from Alex Cobb

A message to Rays fans from Alex Cobb

Here is a message from RHP Alex Cobb after he officially left the Rays Thursday in declining their one-year, $17.4-milllion qualifying offer to seek a bigger and longer pact elsewhere:"Getting to this point in my career is truly bittersweet."Twelve y...
Published: 11/16/17
UPDATE: Rays to gain draft pick for loss of free agent pitcher Alex Cobb

UPDATE: Rays to gain draft pick for loss of free agent pitcher Alex Cobb

UPDATE, 5:01: Cobb did not accept the offer by the deadline, as expected.DEVELOPING: Sometime before today's 5 p.m. deadline, the Rays will get official word that their $17.4-million slight gamble on Alex Cobb paid off.The Rays made the free-agent ri...
Published: 11/16/17