Monday, January 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays see Braves loss of Carpenter as their gain

BRADENTON — RHP David Carpenter didn't expect to be looking for a job in mid March. The Rays didn't expect to find an experienced reliever available on a minor-league deal at this stage of the spring.

But thanks to an unexpected decision by the Braves to release Carpenter, 30, the Rays have another candidate for the two open spots in their bullpen.

"It's a little confusing why he's available, but we'll take a chance on him," manager Kevin Cash said. "We're excited to bring him in. … Big arm. Could help us and put himself right in the mix here."

Carpenter, who has a career 11-11, 3.66 mark during parts of five seasons in the majors, signed early in the offseason with the Braves. Atlanta has since added several other relievers, leading to his release last week.

"I'm very, very surprised by it," he said. "Just especially the stuff I was told back in November when I initially signed. … They said come in, show yourself again and we'll have a spot for you.

"But, evidently, something over there changed. I'm not really sure what. I think their idea is to kind of try and go younger right now. They have a bunch of Rule 5 guys they're trying to hang on to without losing."

AHEAD OF THE CURVE: RHP Jake Odorizzi said his primary plan in Friday's start, an eventual 4-3 loss to Pittsburgh, was making more use of his curveball in different situations.

Despite the one Pirates star Andrew McCutchen launched over the boardwalk well beyond the leftfield fence leading off the fourth, Odorizzi said it was a good experience.

"I'm just trying to experiment with off-speed pitches with two-strike counts, and I think that's kind of driving my pitch count up a little bit," Odorizzi said. "At the same time, I'd rather work on it now where nothing matters besides getting my pitches in. I'm happy with the progression I made from last start to this one."

Overall, Odorizzi in his third outing worked 31/3 innings, allowing three hits and two walks, throwing 54 pitches, 31 strikes, and picking a runner off first.

MEDICAL MATTERS: INF/OF Steve Pearce said the tight right calf that has sidelined him since surfacing during batting practice Tuesday is improving, but only enough to start running on a treadmill in a pool.

Pearce said he wants to get back in the lineup as soon as possible — by early next week — to get at-bats, but also knows from previous experience the potential downside of this type of injury.

"The way I felt it, I didn't like it," he said. "I didn't want to push it. I know what can come of it. So I just wanted to … get ahead of this thing. I don't want to be laying around 'til June when I can take care of it right now."

Curt Casali, filling in at DH, left Friday's game after being hit on the right shin by a pitch but is not expected to miss any time.

GAME DETAILS: The Rays (4-6) led 3-1 until the eighth. … INF/OF Taylor Motter's towering homer to left-center hit atop the bleacher seats beyond the boardwalk. … With the Rays infield shifted, former Clemson teammates SS Brad Miller and 3B Richie Shaffer teamed to turn a dazzling double play on a grounder to the right side of second. "Pretty incredible," Odorizzi said. "For both guys being out of position that was one heck of a turn." … Top prospect LHP Blake Snell allowed three hits (all ground ball singles) and two walks during his 12/3-inning outing, but struck out the side in the fifth, including big-leaguers Michael Morse and Gregory Polanco. … C Hank Conger, whose throwing was a concern last season in Houston, bounced a toss to first for one of the three errors that pushed the Rays MLB high total to 18. …LF Desmond Jennings had his Grapefruit League-leading fifth double.

HOLA, DEREK: Retired Yankees great Derek Jeter and Cuban-born former big-leaguers Luis Tiant and Jose Cardenal will join the Rays in Cuba as "special guests" of MLB. Those three, plus MLB chief baseball officer Joe Torre, will "attend various festivities, including children's clinics." The Rays leave March 20 for their historic visit, capped by a March 22 exhibition at the Cuban National Team.

Comments
Why free agency hasnít turned out fun (yet) for ex-Rays pitcher Alex Cobb

Why free agency hasnít turned out fun (yet) for ex-Rays pitcher Alex Cobb

RHP Alex Cobb never expected to be going into late January without knowing where he was going for spring training.The longtime Ray's first foray into free agency hasn't gone as planned, much like the 150-plus others waiting for something to give in a...
Published: 01/20/18
Updated: 01/21/18
Rays infielder Daniel Robertson lends a hand to help families dealing with cancer

Rays infielder Daniel Robertson lends a hand to help families dealing with cancer

Rays infielder Daniel Robertson has much to be excited about heading into his second season in the majors.But before packing for spring training, he took some time last weekend to provide help for families needing assistance in dealing with cancer.Hi...
Published: 01/19/18
Ex-Rays star Longoria dons Giants jersey, looks forward to full-stadium environment in San Francisco

Ex-Rays star Longoria dons Giants jersey, looks forward to full-stadium environment in San Francisco

Longtime Rays star Evan Longoria was formally introduced in San Francisco today, adding the visual of him pulling on his new Giants jersey, switching to No. 10 since 3 is retired.Longoria said he welcomed the chance to play on a contending team stock...
Published: 01/19/18
What do Rays look like now? What will they look like March 29?

What do Rays look like now? What will they look like March 29?

ST. PETERSBURG — Since entering an off-season planning major change and pledging to be open to "anything and everything,'' the Rays have made a few minor moves and one massive one in trading franchise cornerstone Evan Longoria to San Francisco....
Published: 01/19/18
Reminder: Rays spring tickets go on sale today at 10 a.m.

Reminder: Rays spring tickets go on sale today at 10 a.m.

The Rays will put single game tickets for spring training home games on sale today at 10 a.m. via raysbaseball.com.The Rays are playing 14 home games in Port Charlotte, starting with the Feb. 23 opener vs. Pittsburgh. Tickets will be available at the...
Published: 01/19/18
Tampa Bay Rays 2018 spring training schedule

Tampa Bay Rays 2018 spring training schedule

Charlotte Sports Park, 2300 El Jobean Rd., Port Charlotte, 33948Get tickets here: (941) 206-4487Pitchers report: Feb. 13. Squad reports: Feb. 19TEAM SCHEDULE(games at 1:05 unless noted)(ss - split squad)Feb 23 at Orioles (ss) (Sarasota)Feb 23 PIRATE...
Published: 01/19/18
Ex-Phillies, Indians manager Charlie Manuel to get Ted Williams Museum award

Ex-Phillies, Indians manager Charlie Manuel to get Ted Williams Museum award

Former Phillies and Indians manager Charlie Manuel will receive the Ted Williams Lifetime Achievement Award on Feb. 10 in Clearwater.The honor is bestowed by the Ted Williams Museum at its annual Hitters Hall of Fame induction, moving this year from ...
Published: 01/19/18
Former Rays OF Matt Joyce to hold annual charity baseball camp at North Brandon complex

Former Rays OF Matt Joyce to hold annual charity baseball camp at North Brandon complex

Armwood High product Matt Joyce, the current A's and former Rays outfielder, hosts his ninth annual Sweet Swingin' charity baseball camp for kids 6-12 on Sunday at the North Brandon youth baseball complex (2929 S Kingsway Rd, Seffner).Registration st...
Published: 01/18/18
Rays spring tickets go on sale Friday

Rays spring tickets go on sale Friday

The Rays will put single game tickets for spring training home games on sale Friday at 10 a.m. via raysbaseball.com.The Rays are playing 14 home games in Port Charlotte, starting with the Feb. 23 opener vs. Pittsburgh. Tickets will be available at th...
Published: 01/17/18
A look at Rays 40-man roster with spring training starting in less than a month

A look at Rays 40-man roster with spring training starting in less than a month

With the start of spring training now less than a month away, here is what the Rays roster looks like, with the most glaring hole at first base, which at this point seems likely to be manned by Brad Miller, and some questions about the pitching staff...
Published: 01/17/18