Monday, August 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays to ease Brad Boxberger back into closer role

KANSAS CITY — The Rays see RHP Brad Boxberger's return from the disabled list as the kind of move that will make their bullpen deeper and better.

And in no way divided by any closer controversy.

Manager Kevin Cash made it clear before Monday's game that it was merely a matter of when, and not if, Boxberger reclaims his closer's job from Alex Colome, who did quite well in his absence.

The only hesitation is Cash's "perfect world" plan to find a "soft landing" for Boxberger to make his season debut, having been sidelined since March 17 core muscle repair surgery. Had the Rays not tied the score, he would have worked the eighth Monday.

"I think it's fair to say we would probably work Boxy back into the closer's role than stick him right into it," Cash said.

Players don't usually lose their jobs due to injury, and Boxberger certainly has the credentials from last season, having led the American League with 41 saves, albeit also with six blown saves, 10 losses and a 3.71 ERA.

And as impressive as Colome was in his stead, going 12-for-12 in saves with a 1.23 ERA and 18 of 20 appearances scoreless, and as much as he enjoyed the pressure and responsibility, he said he has zero issue handing the job back to Boxberger.

"I had his spot right now because of the injury, and now he is well and he comes back and takes his spot," Colome said. "If they put (a different) guy in there maybe I'd feel bad about it. If … he comes and takes his spot, I do what I have to do. I don't know why I would feel bad. We're teammates, we're friends."

Plus Colome said he will stick with the same approach: "If I throw in the eighth or the seventh, I have to think like it's the same situation and do my job. I don't have to change my mind about anything."

Boxberger said the right things Monday, that he is just happy to be back in the bullpen after going through the recovery and rehab process, which will include ongoing pregame conditioning and maintenance work.

"I don't have any expectations right now," he said. "I'm just expecting myself to go out there every day and take the ball in whatever situation it is. If that's the ninth, great. And if not, we'll go from there, and just take every day as a new day and be able to help my team in any situation I can."

What matters most, Cash said, is that the bullpen overall will be better, with the potential in protecting leads to go from RHP Erasmo Ramirez to Colome to Boxberger.

"We're obviously very excited to have Boxy back," Cash said. "I think we've all seen over the last couple weeks, a month, we're missing one guy down there that can really pitch some big innings for us. And we know he's very capable of doing that."

PEARCE OUT: 2B Steve Pearce left the game after eight innings due to right elbow irritation. He said it has been an issue for "a while," but it hadn't been an issue on a swing until Monday. He said he expects to be able to play tonight.

REHAB REPORT: 2B Logan Forsythe hit off a tee at Tropicana Field, the next step in his rehab from a fractured left shoulder, eyeing a mid June return. … Cash said the right pec strain that landed RHP Ryan Webb on the DL Sunday is not expected "to be a long term thing." … LHP Jonny Venters, a potential mid-summer addition to the bullpen after three Tommy John surgeries, continues to pitch well in extended spring training, clocked Monday at 93 mph.

MISCELLANY: RHP Matt Andriese became the first Rays pitcher to commit two balks in one game. … Cash said he wanted to keep Taylor Motter involved, which is why Motter started at shortstop ahead of lefty-swinging Brad Miller against Royals RHP Ian Kennedy. … Both teams wore camo-style hats and jerseys as part of the MLB-wide salute to Memorial Day. … LHP Drew Smyly, who starts tonight, said he considered it "unlucky" to be one of two pitchers in the majors (along with ex-Rays RHP James Shields, now with the Padres) to have six losses and an ERA under 4.00.

Comments
Rays journal: Sergio Romo extremely thankful for career save No. 100

Rays journal: Sergio Romo extremely thankful for career save No. 100

BOSTON — Sergio Romo tries — though not always successfully — to keep his emotions in check on the mound. You kind of have to in logging 100 career saves, the milestone he reached in Sunday's 2-0 win over the Red Sox.But walking int...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Sunday’s Rays-Red Sox game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Sunday’s Rays-Red Sox game

Manager Kevin Cash always gives the credit for success to the players, but his deft handling of the bullpen Sunday was illustrative of how well his planning and decision-making can work when the pitches are executed and the plays are made.INF Joey We...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Jalen Beeks shines for Rays in winning return to Boston

Jalen Beeks shines for Rays in winning return to Boston

BOSTON — Jalen Beeks called it a complicated question.Then he gave a convoluted answer.Just what, he was asked after leading the Rays to a 2-0 win Sunday over the Red Sox, did it mean to come back to Fenway Park for the first time and beat...
Published: 08/19/18
Rays finish trip with 2-0 shutout of Red Sox

Rays finish trip with 2-0 shutout of Red Sox

BOSTON – The Rays always seem to find a way to make things interesting.Sunday, they did so by shutting down and shutting out the majors-best Red Sox in a 2-0 matinee win to cap a winning three-city road trip.Five Rays pitchers combined to blank...
Published: 08/19/18
For starters: Rays at Red Sox, trying to salvage something

For starters: Rays at Red Sox, trying to salvage something

UPDATE, 11:54: Cash said the outfield alignment was result of not wanting to put Pham or Bauers in RF for 1st time here. Said Bauers should be somewhat familiar with Green Monster due to similar LF wall at AAA Durham. … Cash said part of reason...
Published: 08/19/18
Rays vs. Red Sox preview: TV, starting pitchers, lookahead, injuries

Rays vs. Red Sox preview: TV, starting pitchers, lookahead, injuries

BOSTON — Here's a look at Sunday's finale of the three-game series between the Rays and Red Sox at Fenway Park:Time/place: 1:05, Fenway Park, BostonTV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM; 760-AM (Spanish)Rays info: Toll-free 1-888-326-7297P...
Published: 08/19/18
Rays journal: Tyler Glasnow settles down to pitch well in loss

Rays journal: Tyler Glasnow settles down to pitch well in loss

BOSTON — RHP Tyler Glasnow looked so bad as he struggled through a 28-pitch first inning of the Rays' 5-2 loss to Boston that he knew enough to not look out to the bullpen, which was in action.But after allowing four runs — on two doubles...
Published: 08/18/18
Updated: 08/19/18
Remember all that Rays hate?

Remember all that Rays hate?

BOSTON —Nope, this is not going to be the worst Rays team of all time, as a certain writer for a certain website that you may happen to be reading right now suggested in April was a real possibility. Not going to be second worst, third, even bo...
Published: 08/18/18
Updated: 08/19/18
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Saturday’s Rays-Red Sox game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Saturday’s Rays-Red Sox game

OF Carlos Gomez's overall numbers don't look like much (.215, 8 HRs), but he continues to do so many little things to help on and off the field. Saturday, he made a heads-up play by moving up from second to an uncovered third base on an infield pop-u...
Published: 08/18/18
New Rays catcher Michael Perez worth wait

New Rays catcher Michael Perez worth wait

BOSTON — If rookie catcher Michael Perez turns out to be as good as Rays officials think based on their initial reviews, they may thank Steven Souza Jr.Well, not Souza directly.But it was in the process of extensively and intensively scouting A...
Published: 08/18/18