Saturday, February 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Wil Myers near end of frustrating season

ST. PETERSBURG — RF Wil Myers is a confident guy, but he didn't sugarcoat his feelings on his season-long struggles at the plate.

"It has been really, really hard — by far the worst year I've ever had in my career," Myers said. "So it's not been fun."

Not much has gone right this season for Myers, 23, the reigning American League rookie of the year. He entered Tuesday hitting .221 with six homers and 28 RBIs, having missed 70 games due to a fractured right wrist.

That's why Monday's three-hit game was an encouraging step for Myers, who believes September is an "important month for me" to gain some confidence and build toward the offseason.

"That was the first time I really saw the ball well," Myers said. "I felt fine in the box, I'm just not seeing pitches well, not picking up spin."

Myers thought his third hit Monday was the best sign, as he drove a pitch that was over the plate into leftfield for a single. Myers said as much as others have talked about him getting pitched low and away, his "biggest thing" is putting good swings on pitches over the middle of the plate.

It just hasn't happened as much as Myers would have liked this season. Myers went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts Tuesday.

"It's not fun when you're not playing well," Myers said. "It's one of those things you can't pretend to have fun, you can't pretend to act like you're confident when you're not. It's one of those things you've got to compete and battle in the box and put some good at-bats together to get out of the slump."

PAGING HOUSTON: With the Astros firing manager Bo Porter on Monday, there's already speculation Rays bench coach Dave Martinez will be on the team's list of potential candidates. Martinez, 49, who interviewed with Houston in 2012 and was said to be a finalist, said Tuesday he hasn't heard from the Astros but would welcome the conversation. Martinez, who has also interviewed for manager jobs with the Cubs, Indians and Blue Jays, believes he's ready for the opportunity. "(The Astros) are good people over there," Martinez said. "If they do call me, I'd be looking forward to it."

MEDICAL MATTERS: CF Desmond Jennings was not in the lineup for the fifth straight game due to a sore left knee and is unsure when he'll return. Jennings said the knee feels the same as it did Friday, when he was a late scratch from the lineup. Manager Joe Maddon said Jennings felt some discomfort after jogging before the game, but was available to pinch-hit.

BOUNCE BACK: RHP Chris Archer said his last start, Friday against Boston when he allowed eight runs (seven earned) on 10 hits in just four innings, was a "humbling experience." He had given up one earned run in each of his previous four outings.

"You learn that just when you think you have it all figured out, life and the game is going to show you you don't," Archer said. "It's just one of those things, it happens to motivate you and show you there's always room for improvement."

STEPPING IN: Rookie RHP Steve Geltz had heard that Maddon likes to "get the new guys in there, get their feet wet right away." Geltz found that out Monday, getting thrust into a key late-inning relief opportunity in his first day up with the Rays. Though Geltz blew the save, allowing a tying single in the eighth inning, he bounced back to strike out Red Sox 1B Mike Napoli and felt good about his Rays debut. "It's my job," he said. "I'm not gonna say, 'Hey, I need to pitch in this …' No. You can pitch me up 10-0, or losing 10-0, or if it's 1-1."

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