Thursday, December 14, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Souza ready for his spring debut

LAKELAND — Though not slated to debut in a spring game until today, Steven Souza Jr. nonetheless packed up his bats, gloves and antsiness and made the two-hour bus journey to Lakeland with the traveling squad Tuesday.

"I think he's getting bored," manager Kevin Cash said. "He wanted to come, so we're gonna let him come."

Boredom likely takes a hiatus today. Souza, who strained an intercostal muscle near his left rib cage during a Feb. 21 batting practice, is expected to be in the lineup against the Blue Jays.

Whether he's also in the field remains unclear. Tuesday marked his third day of work in the field and fifth full day of batting practice, which he indicated were prerequisites to getting game action.

"It just feels really good not only to be out on the field taking BP, (but) the intercostal wasn't even a thought in the back of my mind," Souza said after sending a couple of Cash batting practice offerings into the berm beyond leftfield.

"So to be out of Port Charlotte and taking BP at an away stadium feels good, too, so we're ready to go for" today.

ROUGH DAY FOR RAMIREZ: Going right after most of Detroit's everyday lineup with his modest fastball, RHP Erasmo Ramirez struggled in slightly more than two innings in the Rays' 6-5 loss.

Ramirez threw 51 pitches (33 for strikes), allowing five earned runs on seven hits while striking out one, walking none and tossing a wild pitch. He surrendered four runs on five hits in the second after a 1-2-3 first requiring 10 pitches.

"I was attacking a lot with my fastball, using a lot of my fastball, and I'm not a fastball pitcher," Ramirez said. "But those work out. … I prefer this happen during spring training. Now I know during the season, don't do it."

Cash similarly betrayed little concern. "He threw strikes, but he kind of worked behind the count a little bit, and when you do that to that type of lineup, you're gonna see some hard-hit balls," Cash said.

"No concern whatsoever. He got his pitches in, that's the priority right now. The fine tuning, we're still weeks away from that."

MORE DEBUTS: Souza won't be the only prominent Ray making his first game appearance of the spring today. Cash reaffirmed primary setup guys Alex Colome and Xavier Cedeno also will make their formal spring debuts. Their respective workloads have been intentionally lessened to this point.

"Colome threw 10 or 11 innings in winter ball, and then he stopped … just because we felt it was smart for him to stop," Cash said.

"And Cedeno, he had a huge workload for us last year (66 appearances), so when they came into camp, we kind of factored that in, saying, let's slow them down a little bit. We know they're gonna be huge pieces at the back end of our bullpen."

GAME DETAILS: Nonroster invitee Kyle Roller, now 4-for-7 this spring, added two more hits Tuesday. His two-run homer to left in the Rays' three-run second inning was followed by an RBI single in the fourth. … 2B Nick Franklin, who also had a pair of hits, scored the second inning's first run after singling, coming home on Taylor Motter's double. … 3B Tim Beckham finished 2-for-4 with a two-out RBI single to left-center in the fourth. … Three Rays relievers — Matt Andriese, Jacob Faria and Jaime Schultz — held the Tigers to one run over the final six innings. That lone run, a homer to left by veteran John Mayberry Jr. in the seventh, was the winner. … Nonroster invitee Juniel Querecuto was stranded at third in the eighth after hitting a one-out triple to deep center. … Tigers closer Bruce Rondon, whose pitches were eclipsing 100 mph per the Marchant Stadium portable scoreboard, worked a 1-2-3 ninth.

ODDS AND ENDS: Cash said he was impressed at how Faria (two IP, one run, one hit, three strikeouts, no walks) responded after surrendering the homer to Mayberry. "He gives up the home run and continues to go strike one, strike two to get the third out (a grounder to first)," Cash said. "But he just pounds the strike zone and he gets outs in the zone, which is not easy to do." … Nonroster invitee Jaff Decker's seventh-inning double was his third of the spring. … Desmond Jennings' first-inning double Tuesday was his fourth.

Contact Joey Knight at [email protected]. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.

Comments
No big deal for Rays at winter meetings, but it’s still coming

No big deal for Rays at winter meetings, but it’s still coming

LAKE BUENA VISTA — Here’s the one thing we definitely know:Rays officials headed home from the winter meetings and back across I-4 Thursday without making deals to trade any of their bigger-name, higher-paid players. Not closer Alex Colome, not third...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Are Tampa Bay Rays going to make a major deal involving Alex Colome, others? Well …

Are Tampa Bay Rays going to make a major deal involving Alex Colome, others? Well …

UPDATE, 4:02: It doesn't sound like the Rays and Cardinals will be making a deal today, Derrick Goold writing for the St. Louis Post Dispatch that Cardinals execs "leave the Walt Disney Dolphin resort with good feel for what Tampa Bay would be willin...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Rays re-sign pitcher Jonny Venters, among 13 invited to spring training

Rays re-sign pitcher Jonny Venters, among 13 invited to spring training

LAKE BUENA VISTA — LHP Jonny Venters got as far as Triple A in September. Now the former All-Star is positioned to make it all the way back to the majors for the first time since 2012, re-signing with the Rays and headlining Thursday’s announcement o...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Veteran Jonny Venters, prospect Joe McCarthy among 13 Tampa Bay Rays spring invitees

Veteran Jonny Venters, prospect Joe McCarthy among 13 Tampa Bay Rays spring invitees

Inspiring veteran LHP Jonny Venters and intriguing prospect 1B/OF Joe McCarthy are among 13 players invited to major-league spring training camp with the Rays.Others coming as a result of signing minor-league contracts with invites are: RHP R.J. Alan...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Tampa Bay Rays lose RHP Burch Smith in Rule 5 draft, keep Nick Ciuffo

Tampa Bay Rays lose RHP Burch Smith in Rule 5 draft, keep Nick Ciuffo

The Rays lost RHP Burch Smith in Thursday's Rule 5 draft but were happy to see him get an opportunity in Kansas City.They also were pleased to hang on to C Nick Ciuffo, who was left exposed but not selected.Smith, 27, was acquired from the Padres as ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 4

Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 4

UPDATE, 11:09: RHP Steve Cishek, who was a very effective addition to the Rays pen last season, has reunited with pitching coach Jim Hickey, agreeing to a deal with the Cubs.UPDATE, 10:40: Like most teams, Rays officials are heading out of the meetin...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Disney-Fox deal gives ESPN control of local cable rights to Rays, Lightning games

Disney-Fox deal gives ESPN control of local cable rights to Rays, Lightning games

As part of its deal to buy a massive package of 21st Century Fox assets, Disney will acquire Fox Sports Regional Networks, which control the local cable rights to a slew of professional teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa Bay Lightning.Assu...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Tampa Bay Rays making progress in trade talks

Tampa Bay Rays making progress in trade talks

Without getting into specifics – especially the who and the where – Rays officials are for the first time talking optimistically about making a trade before the winter meetings end Thursday.Speaking at around 5:15, senior VP Chaim Bloom s...
Published: 12/13/17

Winter meetings journal: Rays trade for money to sign top international free agent

LAKE BUENA VISTA — While most of the business conducted at the meetings impacts the big-league team one way or another, the Rays are working to finalize a move they hope pays off big sometime in the 2020s.In trading Wednesday to acquire $1 million in...
Published: 12/13/17
Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 3 – updated with news

Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 3 – updated with news

UPDATE, 5:55: Trade talks apparently picked up this afternoon, perhaps related to previous activity by other teams, and for first time Rays officials sound like something could happen tonight."At this point today, some of those conversations are movi...
Published: 12/13/17