Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Bell feels bad after hitting good friend Infante

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Rays reliever Heath Bell said it's always a bad feeling to hit a batter, worse when it's a friend like Royals 2B Omar Infante, who was being tested for a broken jaw and concussion after being hit by a Bell pitch.

"I feel really bad,'' Bell said. "I know he feels bad, but I feel worse.''

Bell said he was trying to throw a sinker that obviously didn't sink, striking Infante on the side of his face to open the seventh. Infante went down immediately and had considerable blood on his face, though he was able to walk off the field with the assistance of an athletic trainer.

"You never want to hit anybody, especially a good friend,'' Bell said. "I've played against and with Omar the last 10-15 years. I hope he has a speedy recovery.''

Bell, who worked 22/3 innings for his longest outing since 2007, also left a sinker up in the sixth, leading to a three-run double by Alcides Escobar that extended the Royals lead from 1-0 to 4-0.

"I felt pretty good tonight,'' Bell said. "I made two mistakes.''

WIL NOT THRILLED: Yes, Wil Myers confirmed reluctantly, it was true that during his 2008 predraft workout he asked Royals officials to turn on the famed stadium fountains that sit beyond the outfield fence so he could show his power by splashing balls into them.

"That story still haunts me," Myers said. "It is true. I did. I was 18, all right?"

Myers never played in Kauffman Stadium for the Royals (though he did participate in the 2012 All-Star Futures Game), having been traded to the Rays in December 2012 in the blockbuster deal involving RHP James Shields.

Though there was a circle of reporters at his locker Monday, Myers said he hopes his returns with the Rays become less of a story as time passes. He was 0-for-4 in an August 2013 appearance and was hitless in his first two at-bats Monday.

"It's not really coming home for me at all because I didn't play here in the big leagues for the Royals," Myers said. "I just want to treat it as a normal game."

But after living up to the hype by winning the American League rookie of the year award despite not being called up by the Rays until June, the rightfielder might long be a popular topic of conversation in Kansas City.

TIME FOR A CHANGE: RHP Chris Archer was relatively — though as is his nature, not totally — pleased with his performance in beating Toronto on Thursday, citing the usual areas for improvement such as fastball command and overall pitch efficiency.

One specific change he expects to make tonight is implementation of the changeup he worked on heavily during the spring.

"It just wasn't part of the game plan against the Blue Jays," he said. "I was better off using my slider, and the situation never really got to where I needed to use my changeup. But (tonight), these guys have some really good left-handed hitters and I plan on using it."

WELL-ARMED OPPONENT: The Rays will have an interesting challenge tonight in Royals starter Yordano Ventura, a 22-year-old who lights up radar guns in excess of 100 mph and dazzles opponents.

"I'm going to tell you what, this guy's got electric stuff," former Rays/current Royals ace James Shields said. "Stuff-wise, he's one of the best I've ever seen. This guy throws 102 miles an hour. He's got an 86 mile an hour curveball. He's got a really good changeup, and he throws it with ease. He's got a lot of things to learn as far as pitching goes — he's still young. In spring training he'd face guys like Prince (Fielder) and Elvis Andrus and they'd step out of the box and laugh at how good a stuff he had. To see that is pretty special."

CATCHING ON: Free agent C Chris Gimenez said the Rays are one of four teams that have made him an offer, and he hopes to make a decision today. Others interested include the A's, Cubs and Rangers. Gimenez would give the Rays a more experienced option at Triple-A Durham in case of an injury.

REHAB REPORT: RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo worked a 1-2-3 inning for Triple-A Durham on Monday in his second rehab appearance, continuing his recovery from elbow surgery after reporting a month late to spring training due to visa issues. Oviedo is scheduled to work again tonight, which will be a major test, with a target of joining the Rays sometime after they return home April 17.

MISCELLANY: The Rays were shut out for 17 innings until Ben Zobrist homered to open the ninth. … The Rays this weekend in Cincinnati will face RHP Johnny Cueto, LHP Tony Cingrani and RHP Homer Bailey as the Reds will skip rotation fill-in Alfredo Simon. … 3B Evan Longoria's second-inning double was his 203rd, breaking a tie with B.J. Upton for second on the Rays franchise list; Carl Crawford had 215. … LHP Erik Bedard made his debut for Durham, working four innings, allowing one run on two hits while striking out five.

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