Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Ramirez dazzles coming out of bullpen

The Rays had RHP Erasmo Ramirez work in relief Wednesday, supposedly more to let two other relievers face the top Twins hitters than to audition Ramirez for a bullpen role.

Either way, Ramirez said his task is the same — mix his pitches and throw strikes.

And he did both quite well in the 5-2 win, working six strong innings, allowing only three hits and no walks and striking out eight in Fort Myers.

"In my mind, it's the same game," Ramirez said afterward. "It's just going to be (later) in the game. I just have to go and do the same. Just go execute every pitch, don't try to overdo, overthrow. Whatever you have (that day), use it. Location is going to be more important than velocity. It worked. I mixed my pitches, and all four pitches I could throw for a strike. … I could pound the strike zone. That was a big deal."

Ramirez is slated to be the Rays' No. 5 starter, which manager Kevin Cash reiterated Wednesday. But with seven open dates in the first 40 days of the season, and with a bullpen short a man as it is realigned to cover the injury absence of closer Brad Boxberger for the first two months, moving Ramirez to the pen — a role he had previously with Seattle — is worthy of at least consideration.

Ramirez said the biggest adjustment is how much time it takes him to get ready, noting that as a reliever your warmup time is determined by how long the prior inning takes.

Ramirez did not accompany the team to Cuba since he was slated to start Wednesday and said it was "a surprise" to find out he was working in relief, though he got in the same amount of work.

Cash said that was specifically because the Rays wanted to see two candidates for bullpen jobs, nonroster major-league veteran LHP Dana Eveland and RHP David Carpenter, face the Twins starters.

Eveland, who could work long or short relief, started and allowed a leadoff single to Byron Buxton, who was erased on a double play, and nothing else over his two innings. Carpenter, signed in mid March after being released by the Braves, allowed a leadoff single that led to a third-inning run due to a throwing error by 3B Patrick Leonard but nothing else.

FAME GAME: Cash's jersey — which he didn't wear in favor of his usual pullover — the Rays' lineup card and the first-pitch ball (which Cuban-born OF Dayron Varona flied out on) are among the items from Tuesday's game headed to the Hall of Fame.

PRESIDENTIAL WORDS: Varona was one of the Rays players who went over to meet U.S. President Barack Obama before the game, and it was clear Obama was familiar with the Cuban-born outfielder's background.

Obama, per Rays interpreter George Pappas, said to Varona, "Mucho gusto (pleased to meet you) — welcome home."

Varona was touched by the gesture, telling reporters later, "That was something that left a big impression on me today because I've never had the opportunity to be that close to a president. That brought me a lot of satisfaction. And I hope somebody took a photo … so I can have it."

GAME DETAILS: Using a lineup of nonroster veterans and prospects, the Rays (9-9-1) beat the Twins 5-2. … C Mayo Acosta knocked in three runs with a pair of doubles as the Rays rallied from a 2-0 seventh-inning deficit against closer Glen Perkins. … Jake Hager, who missed all of last season due to right knee surgery, started at second base.

Information from Josh Vitale of the Charlotte Sun was used in this report.

Comments
Former Rays pitcher Danny Farquhar “progressing well’ after surgery

Former Rays pitcher Danny Farquhar “progressing well’ after surgery

As former teammates with the Rays and throughout baseball share thoughts and prayers, RHP Danny Farquhar is "progressing well" in a Chicago hospital after suffering a hemorrhage caused by a brain aneurysm on Friday.The White Sox on Monday released th...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Alex Cobb and Logan Morrison have ex-Ray vision. Here’s what they see.

Alex Cobb and Logan Morrison have ex-Ray vision. Here’s what they see.

ST. PETERSBURG — Absolutely, Alex Cobb was saying over the phone, it's going to be weird pitching Tuesday against the Rays.The organization that he owes so much for rearing him since high school, standing by him through assorted injuries, enabl...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays win on Carlos Gomez’s walkoff home run

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays win on Carlos Gomez’s walkoff home run

Carlos Gomez, who had been struggling, delivers a two-run, walkoff home run as the Rays sweep the Twins for the first time at Tropicana Field. Rick Stroud discusses the moment and the celebration that followed Gomez's first career walkoff hit in toda...
Published: 04/23/18
Rays are suddenly swinging hot bats, but will it last?

Rays are suddenly swinging hot bats, but will it last?

ST. PETERSBURG — Good pitching and hitting go hand in glove, but the Rays did not look like a team that could swing the bats very well until this completed homestand.In their series sweep over the Twins, Tampa Bay scored 8, 10 and 8 runs. ...
Published: 04/22/18
Rick Stroud’s takeaways from Rays-Twins

Rick Stroud’s takeaways from Rays-Twins

–Yonny Chirinos may be the Rays fourth starter, but it seems to be in name only. He was lifted after pitching 4 2/3 innings against the Twin on Sunday, the shortest start of his career and his second-shortest appearance.  "Going into the g...
Published: 04/22/18
Rays’ Carlos Gomez hits two-run walkoff homer to beat Twins for series sweep

Rays’ Carlos Gomez hits two-run walkoff homer to beat Twins for series sweep

ST. PETERSBURG — With every swing, there is a chance Carlos Gomez is going to do something extraordinary with the baseball bat.He may swing so violently that he spins himself into the ground as if he were an oil drill. Or, you could see him sna...
Published: 04/22/18
For starters: Rays vs. Twins, going for the first series sweep of the season, 1:10 p.m.

For starters: Rays vs. Twins, going for the first series sweep of the season, 1:10 p.m.

Rays pitcher Yonny Chirinos is no longer just part of a bullpen day, he's the No. 4 starter and who goes to the mound at 1:10 p.m. against Phil Hughes to try to help Tampa Bay attempt to complete a three-game sweep of the Twins.Catcher Wilson Ramos g...
Published: 04/22/18
Rays thoughts are with ex-teammate Danny Farquhar

Rays thoughts are with ex-teammate Danny Farquhar

Members of the Rays organization sent their thoughts and prayers to former teammate Danny Farquhar, who was hospitalized Saturday night in Chicago in stable but critical condition after suffering a brain hemorrhage caused by a ruptured aneurysm.Farqu...
Published: 04/22/18
Rays on Sunday: 1:10 vs. Twins

Rays on Sunday: 1:10 vs. Twins

Sunday vs. Twins1:10, Tropicana FieldTV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 760-AM (Spanish)Tickets: $20-$300; available at Tropicana Field box office, raysbaseball.com, surcharge of up to $5 within five hours of game.Promotion: Mascot socks for kids 14 a...
Published: 04/22/18
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...
Published: 04/21/18
Updated: 04/22/18