Sunday, February 25, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays reward hot-hitting Guyer, Pearce with playing time

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Manager Kevin Cash wouldn't make any long-term commitment, not even as far ahead as tonight's game.

But for Friday night anyway, he acknowledged what has seemed obvious, that Brandon Guyer and Steve Pearce had hot enough bats that they deserved to be in the lineup, even against Angels right-handed starter Cory Rasmus.

"I don't have a good answer on how long it will last," Cash said. "But they're providing a spark for us and we need that spark. Those two guys seem to be at the middle of everything good that's going on with our offense. They're having good at-bats. They're doing some damage for us."

Guyer, starting a sixth straight game, was in leftfield ahead of Desmond Jennings, who had one hit in his last 27 at-bats. Pearce started at first base ahead of Logan Morrison, who was 6-for-64 in his first 20 games with no RBIs, and hasn't been in the lineup since May 1.

Guyer welcomed but didn't make much of the start, hoping his consistent performance at the plate leads to an opportunity for everyday duty rather than just against left-handed starters as has been his primary duty.

"That's the goal for everyone in here," he said. "Obviously that's what I want to happen. But at the same time I'm not going to put pressure on myself, which is what I did my first couple years. Whenever I started against a right I feel like I kind of did put pressure on myself, saying 'Oh man, if I don't do good this might be the last opportunity.' I know what I can do, the coaches know what I can do. So it's not like that."

Cash said Jennings had been working extensively with hitting coaches Derek Shelton and Jamie Nelson on shortening his swing and had showed signs of progress.

Cash stuck with struggling Corey Dickerson on Friday, and Dickerson hit a three-run homer in the first to snap a career-worst 0-for-23.

Chris Archer was on the mound, making his 100th start for the Rays.

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