Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays likely to keep struggling reliever Wright on roster

RECOMMENDED READING


TAMPA — RHP Jamey Wright feels he just needs a little more time to get his sinker to do what it's supposed to do. And the Rays, who face a Tuesday deadline to put the veteran reliever on the roster, seem likely to give it to him.

Though Wright allowed his third spring homer in Sunday's 7-6 10-inning loss to the Yankees, manager Joe Maddon said several times he was confident Wright would get his mechanical issues worked out and be of help to them this season.

"Once he gets the ball back on the ground he's gonna be fine," Maddon said. "I just think the ball's been in the air too much."

After allowing a two-run homer to Kevin Youkilis in the eighth, Wright got three ground ball outs in the ninth.

"I think what you saw in the (ninth) inning is what we can expect more of," Maddon said.

Assuming both No. 5 starting candidates, Roberto Hernandez and Jeff Niemann, are on the team, Wright would get the last bullpen spot ahead of Brandon Gomes. Maddon said nothing has been decided, but "I'll say this — I like what he's done, I like who he is and I do believe he could be a big plus for us."

By Tuesday, the Rays either have to put Wright on the 25-man roster (or DL), release him or pay him a $100,000 retention bonus to go to the minors.

Wright, 38, who has a 6.30 ERA and has allowed nine hits and three walks in 10 innings, is also confident he will be effective: "It's just a matter of getting my sinker to do what it's supposed to do."

LITTLE THINGS: The best thing about RHP Jeremy Hellickson's 95-pitch outing was that he worked seven innings.

Hellickson minimized damage despite allowing two homers and "still falling behind way too many guys." He flashed his Gold Glove skills with a pair of nifty defensive plays, sneaking in behind Ichiro Suzuki when he took a wide turn and scooping RF Matt Joyce's throw. He did a better job holding on runners.

But what mattered most was getting through the seventh, which he did only six times in 31 starts last year.

"That's what I want him to learn how to do," Maddon said. "How to get deeper into games, how to utilize your pitches to do that. … I really liked the idea that he went seven just to get into that mind-set."

MEDICAL MATTERS: OF Sam Fuld was encouraged after going 1-for-6 and playing five innings in rightfield in a minor-league intrasquad game, testing his previously sore right hamstring several times. "It was perfect, really," Fuld said. "All felt good." … RHP Kyle Farnsworth said the right middle finger he bruised Saturday was not sore, just "a little black and blue," and won't keep him from making his final two appearances Wednesday and Saturday. … OF Matt Joyce said he was "fine" after turning his right ankle and falling during pregame warm-ups.

MYERS OUT: Top prospect OF Wil Myers has been sidelined for a few days in minor-league camp due to right wrist soreness. The issue is considered minor, with Myers expected back in action this week. … INF Tim Beckham has been sidelined with left wrist soreness and also is expected back soon.

MISCELLANY: The Rays lost when Yankees minor-leaguer Ronnier Mustelier opened the 10th with a homer to left off recently demoted RHP Josh Lueke. "A fly ball the wind took," Maddon said. … Look for SS Yunel Escobar to be in short right when the Rays shift against left-handed batters; Maddon said they like his range and arm strength. … Radio man Andy Freed, out sick since Wednesday, hopes to return tonight.

Staff writer Joe Smith contributed to this report. Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
Presenting the 2017 Sports Turkey of the Year

Presenting the 2017 Sports Turkey of the Year

Happy Turkey Day!Thursday is a day of tradition.Macy’s Day Parade. Turkey and stuffing. The Lions and Cowboys.And our annual "Turkey of the Year.’’It’s a tradition started by my former colleague at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the brilliant columnis...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays INF Matt Duffy has to say big goodbye to 27-pound cat Skeeter

Rays INF Matt Duffy has to say big goodbye to 27-pound cat Skeeter

When the Rays acquired INF Matt Duffy from the Giants during the 2016 season, we also heard about the giant and somewhat famous cat he had, an up-to-27-pounder named Skeeter.Duffy announced over the weekend on Instagram that the family had to have Sk...
Published: 11/21/17
Rays agonize over which prospects to protect on 40-man roster

Rays agonize over which prospects to protect on 40-man roster

ST. PETERSBURG — That the Rays went right up to Monday’s 8 p.m. deadline in deciding to add seven players to the 40-man roster, and that a couple they left off seem to be potential Rule 5 draft losses, was apparently a good thing."There’s always some...
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/21/17
UPDATE: RHP Brent Honeywell among 7 added to Rays 40-man roster

UPDATE: RHP Brent Honeywell among 7 added to Rays 40-man roster

UPDATE, 8:11: RHP Jose Mujica was an additional addition to the roster, beyond the six previously reported. Mujica, 21, was 14-8, 3.04 ERA in 27 starts between Class-A Charlotte and Double-A Montgomery.So among those left unprotected and potentially ...
Published: 11/20/17
Former Devil Ray Aubrey Huff among newcomers to Baseball Hall of Fame ballot

Former Devil Ray Aubrey Huff among newcomers to Baseball Hall of Fame ballot

Aubrey Huff isn't going to make the Baseball Hall of Fame.But at least the former Devil Rays standout has the satisfaction of making the cut to get onto the ballot, one of 19 first-timers up for election this year.Other newcomers with Rays ties are O...
Published: 11/20/17
Topkin: As Rays start dealing, how far will they go?

Topkin: As Rays start dealing, how far will they go?

After collecting intelligence at last week’s GM meetings, the Rays soon will launch their offseason mission of trading at least a couple of veterans to reduce payroll.The question is how far they will go — how many players they deal, and how big of n...
Published: 11/18/17
Rocco Baldelli’s promotion on Rays coaching staff now makes him major league field coordinator

Rocco Baldelli’s promotion on Rays coaching staff now makes him major league field coordinator

The Rays completed the reorganization of their coaching staff by giving Rocco Baldelli the title of major league field coordinator.In being promoted from first-base coach, Baldelli will implement ideas and information from the staff, while assisting ...
Published: 11/17/17
Rays hope to cash in on Alex Cobb leaving

Rays hope to cash in on Alex Cobb leaving

LAKE BUENA VISTA — The Rays were banking on pitcher Alex Cobb declining their one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer based on the lure of a longer-term and more lucrative deal elsewhere as a free agent.With that decision official Thursday, now the ...
Published: 11/16/17
Commissioner Rob Manfred likes Ybor City stadium site, but must see more support to keep baseball in Tampa Bay

Commissioner Rob Manfred likes Ybor City stadium site, but must see more support to keep baseball in Tampa Bay

LAKE BUENA VISTA — MLB commissioner Rob Manfred didn’t want to talk Thursday about what might happen if the current effort to build the Rays a new stadium at the Ybor City site falls through."I’m more focused on working with the community to figure o...
Published: 11/16/17
A message to Rays fans from Alex Cobb

A message to Rays fans from Alex Cobb

Here is a message from RHP Alex Cobb after he officially left the Rays Thursday in declining their one-year, $17.4-milllion qualifying offer to seek a bigger and longer pact elsewhere:"Getting to this point in my career is truly bittersweet."Twelve y...
Published: 11/16/17