Friday, June 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays send Hellickson to minors for rest

ST. PETERSBURG — Watching RHP Jeremy Hellickson struggle the past month and assured that injury was not an issue, the Rays still felt they had to do something. So Tuesday, the day after Hellickson's latest debacle, they optioned the 2011 rookie of the year to Class A Charlotte.

The move — which also led to RHP Jake Odorizzi being called up to start Thursday and LHP David Price moving back to Friday — was essentially procedural, and not at all punitive. What the Rays really want is for Hellickson, who is 0-5, 9.00 over his past six starts, to take a week or so off to see if he regains the zip on his pitches. He is not likely to appear in a game for the Stone Crabs.

"Just primarily to give him a little bit of a rest," manager Joe Maddon explained. "He's well physically; we just thought giving him a little bit of a break would be very important right now. Obviously the more recent performances have not been great."

Hellickson was obviously not happy as he changed into street clothes and left the clubhouse around 5:30, but he declined to comment.

Jeff Beliveau was called up from Triple-A Durham to add a fresh lefty arm to the bullpen. Beliveau — 2-3, 2.62 with a dazzling 76 strikeouts in 442/3 innings for the Bulls — had been up twice before without getting into a game. His stay may be short again.

With an open spot in their rotation Saturday, when Hellickson was slated to pitch in Oakland, the Rays decided to call up Odorizzi, who is 9-6, 3.33 at Triple-A Durham and has had two previous stints, and have him face the Angels on Thursday.

That provides an extra day's rest for Price and RHP Alex Cobb, and also lines them up to both pitch in the Sept. 10-12 series against Boston.

Hellickson could return to the Rays as soon as Sept. 2; the usual 10-day minimum stay is waived when the minor-league team's season ends. However, if the Stone Crabs make the playoffs he technically would have to be re-assigned again. He still could be added to the Rays postseason roster.

"We think or feel as though he's going to be very important to us in September — and October, hopefully — so that we want to get him back where he had been," Maddon said.

Hellickson was rested during his first two seasons, extra days between starts in 2011, a DL stint in 2012.

WIL THE CHILL: Rookie OF/DH Wil Myers has been struggling, hitting .158 (9-for-57) over his past 15 games with 21 strikeouts. Maddon said a few small adjustments are needed, but primarily Myers is just missing or fouling off his pitch and expanding his strike zone.

REHAB REPORT: LHP Matt Moore (elbow) will make his Thursday rehab start for Durham at Gwinnett as the Rays were concerned about rain in Port Charlotte. … DH Luke Scott (back) joins Durham today for a rehab assignment. Scott, out since Aug. 14, is eligible to return Friday, but the Rays will wait until rosters expand Sunday.

NOT-SO-MINOR MATTERS: Durham's Charlie Montoyo was named International League manager of the year, RHP J.D. Martin (15-4, 2.84) most valuable pitcher and INF Vince Belnome a postseason All-Star. … DH Delmon Young went 2-for-5 for Double-A Montgomery and is 4-for-20 (.200) with five strikeouts in five games.

FALL GUYS: Eight Rays will head to the Arizona Fall League's Salt River Rafters: Ps Grayson Garvin, Merrill Kelly, Mike Montgomery, Matt Ramsey; INFs Ryan Brett, Richie Shaffer; C Curt Casali; OF Todd Glaesmann.

MISCELLANY: C Jose Molina had three hits and a season-high three RBIs, his first since July 24. … Maddon said it's "really not right" to see the Angels for the first time in late August. … Principal owner Stuart Sternberg was on hand.

Comments
Missed time a good mental reset for Rays’ Matt Duffy

Missed time a good mental reset for Rays’ Matt Duffy

ST. PETERSBURG — Missing all of 2017 might have been the absolute worst thing for Matt Duffy.Frustratingly idled as he eventually recovered and rehabbed from ongoing left heel issues, he couldn't play the game he loved, couldn't show the Rays o...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rays journal: Jake Bauers proves he’s up to speed on bases

Rays journal: Jake Bauers proves he’s up to speed on bases

ST. PETERSBURG – Rookie 1B Jake Bauers has impressed at the plate and in the field since his June 7 promotion.Also, with his hustling on the bases."I knew he played hard; everybody said that at every level,'' manager Kevin Cash said. "I di...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Rays journal: 7 pitches, 3 straight homers prove too much in loss to Astros

Rays journal: 7 pitches, 3 straight homers prove too much in loss to Astros

HOUSTON — The Rays were engaged in a third straight tight, go-either-way battle with the defending champ Astros on Wednesday.Until they were not.A brutal seven-pitch sequence by starter Nathan Eovaldi changed everything, as he gave up three con...
Published: 06/21/18
Rays see the results of keeping a good, young core group together

Rays see the results of keeping a good, young core group together

HOUSTON — The Rays saw a lot on the weeklong trip that ended with Wednesday's game against that Astros, beyond the street hustlers prowling in Times Square and the urban cowboys and girls parading through H-town.There was an impressive debuting...
Published: 06/20/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Astros game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Astros game

RHP Nathan Eovaldi said before his rough start Wednesday against the Astros that he was pitching better than his numbers showed. Well … In four starts since his six no-hit innings debut, he's 0-3 with a 6.17 ERA, allowing eight homers, four Wed...
Published: 06/20/18
For starters: Rays at Astros, with a different look

For starters: Rays at Astros, with a different look

UPDATE, 6:43: Cash said the key to how the pieced the lineup together was the opportunity to give Cron (who is struggling) and Duffy (who is doing well) back to back days off. … Looking ahead to the weekend, the Rays will use RHP Ryne Stanek as...
Published: 06/20/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Kevin Kiermaier returns to the Rays

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Kevin Kiermaier returns to the Rays

Times sports columnist Tom Jones joins Rick Stroud to discuss Kevin Kiermaier's return to the Rays, whether Victor Hedman should win the Norris Trophy for the NHL's best defenseman, Bucs expectations for this season and Barry Trotz's next c...
Published: 06/20/18
How the Rays really won Tuesday’s game over Astros

How the Rays really won Tuesday’s game over Astros

There was some interesting inside baseball elements that factored into the late innings of Tuesday's 2-1 Rays win.* First, on Matt Duffy's double off reliever Hector Rondon to lead off the eighth.Duffy said he doesn't like "to guess" what a pitcher i...
Published: 06/20/18
Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier returns, with energy to spare

Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier returns, with energy to spare

HOUSTON — Energy.That's what Kevin Kiermaier said he felt he'd provide most in rejoining the Rays Tuesday against the Astros after missing two-plus months recovering from thumb surgery."I like to think I bring energy on both sides of the ball, ...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Rays journal: Blake Snell outlasts Justin Verlander in 2-1 win

Rays journal: Blake Snell outlasts Justin Verlander in 2-1 win

HOUSTON — The starting pitcher walked seven over seven otherwise solid innings Tuesday. That seemed weird enough for the Rays. Then the next pitcher they brought in was the one who started Monday's game. Even more bizarre.And then there was thi...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/20/18