Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rays rest Myers, who works on swing

ST. PETERSBURG — For the first time since his mid-June promotion, RF Wil Myers was not in the Rays lineup Tuesday.

Manager Joe Maddon had wanted to give the touted 22-year-old rookie a breather and planned on doing it Thursday. But Maddon was also looking to get OF Kelly Johnson in the lineup, and Tuesday provided the best matchup.

Myers, hitting .161 (5-for-31) over his past eight games, welcomed the break. "It just gives me a chance to catch my breath a little bit," he said.

It also gave Myers a chance to work on what he called a minor flaw in his swing, which has resulted in his mini-slump following a strong start (.296 in his first 13 games). Myers, who spent about a half-hour before Tuesday's game taking batting practice with hitting coach Derek Shelton, said his swing has felt a little long the past few days, so he worked on staying through the inside pitch and staying tall.

"I've got some really good pitches to hit, some pitches out over the plate," he said. "I just haven't been able to connect on them right now. There's a little flaw in my swing. Once I figure that out, I feel like I'll start taking off again."

Maddon said he's not worried but believed the day on the bench could help going forward. Myers has three homers, and his 13 RBIs are the most in Rays history through 21 career games. But Myers, who has hit several balls near the warning track this past week, believes he's just missing his pitch.

"I feel very close," Myers said. "That's why it's kind of frustrating, because I'm just a tick off. It's one of those things. People go through ups and downs. It's just nice to have a mental day off."

BOUNCING BACK: RHP Jeremy Hellickson thinks he's finally hitting his groove, having won his past four starts, tying the longest such streak of his career. "It's been as good as I've seen him in a while," Maddon said.

Maddon has been most impressed by how Hellickson has bounced back from his early troubles. Hellickson won twice in the first two months, allowing five runs or more in five of his first 11 starts, and Maddon said it may have been the first time as a professional the right-hander had struggled that much.

"I've struggled, but not to that extent," Hellickson said. "It was five, six starts where I felt like every time out, (the Rays) were up 4, 5, 8, 9 to nothing and before you know it, they were right back in the game, and it was like that for about a month. I just had to keep grinding, keep working and things came around. So hopefully they stay this way."

Maddon said Hellickson never made excuses during his tough stretch, accepting his suggestions game planning-wise. Hellickson said he has felt good the entire time, he's just now keeping his walks — and fastball — down and making big pitches at the right time.

"I'm just pitching better," he said.

LONGO LEGS: It appears 3B Evan Longoria's plantar fasciitis in his right foot has improved, as he started his fifth straight game at third base, and Maddon doesn't plan to rest him the rest of the homestand. Maddon said as long as Longoria feels good, he'll play third (even in Thursday's day game). But Longoria has struggled at the plate, hitting .125 (5-for-40) over his past 13 games with no extra-base hits over that stretch, matching the longest drought of his career.

HIS NICHE: LHP Alex Torres was sharp in appearing on back-to-back nights for the first time, striking out two in a perfect seventh. Maddon said Torres, with an 0.35 ERA in 14 outings, may have found his "niche" in the bullpen. "I love what he's doing," Maddon said. "We're at the point I don't mind bringing him in to face anybody in any situation."

MISCELLANY: St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster said he had an hour-long phone conversation Tuesday with Rays owner Stuart Sternberg. … Maddon said he hasn't heard anything about LHP Matt Moore potentially being added to the All-Star team.

Rays rest Myers, who works on swing 07/09/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 9, 2013 11:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Life sentence for man convicted in killing of brother of Bucs' Kwon Alexander


    An Alabama man who shot and killed the 17-year-old brother of Bucs linebacker Kwon Alexander in 2015 was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday, the Anniston (Ala.) Star reported.

  2. Rays journal: Blake Snell continues roll in win over Cubs (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was still a game in the fifth inning when LHP Blake Snell walked the leadoff batter, then allowed a single. One swing by the Cubs' Ian Happ (22 home runs) could put a dent in the Rays' three-run lead.

    Blake Snell allows just two hits in pitching seven scoreless innings.
  3. Remember him? Numbers prove Ben Zobrist is one of greatest Rays of all time

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The first foray back to the Trop by the best manager the Rays have had obscured the second return visit by arguably the second-best player in franchise history.


    Chicago Cubs second baseman Ben Zobrist (18) grounds into a double play to end the top of the third inning of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Cubs game

    The Heater

    One success story of this lost season is the emergence of LHP Blake Snell as the frontline starter the Rays projected. After a rough start and two demotions, he has been rolling, Wednesday's solid seven innings making him 4-0, 2.57 in his past eight starts.

  5. Rays at Orioles, 7:05 p.m. Thursday, Camden Yards, Baltimore

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Orioles

    7:05, Camden Yards, Baltimore

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM; 680-AM (Spanish)

    Probable pitchers

    This is a 2017 photo of Matt Andriese of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team. This image reflects the 2017 active roster as of Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 when this image was taken. (AP Photo/David Goldman)