Friday, February 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Wil Myers seeks calm return to Kansas City

ST. PETERSBURG — RF Wil Myers figures today's return to Kansas City will come without as much hoopla or hype.

"Hopefully," he says, "there's not another press conference."

Myers, 23, had one at Kauffman Stadium on Aug. 26, when the former Royals prized prospect made his much-anticipated first visit. Myers, acquired in the trade involving RHP James Shields on Dec. 9, 2012, was just two months removed from his first big-league call-up when he went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in an 11-1 loss in a makeup game.

This time, Myers comes back as the American League rookie of the year, believing he'll be more relaxed in a "fun" three-game series that begins tonight.

"It's just another game for me," Myers said. "The biggest thing is we want to go there and win. I know there's a little more to it for me."

OF David DeJesus, with the Royals from 2003-10, advised Myers during that one-day trip to Kansas City and believes this week will be a different story.

"There's still definitely going to be some hoopla about it," he said. "But now he's done it. He's been there, got in a lot of the questions already. He'll be more comfortable, and he's a year older and more established in the league."

RHP Jake Odorizzi, who came over with Myers, said he appreciates the significance of the next few days, especially because he's scheduled to start Wednesday's series finale. It will be his first time back.

"It's pretty special," Odorizzi said. "Between Wil and I going back there together at the same time, I think it's going to be pretty cool just because we're not that far removed from being traded. It'll be cool to go back and play on the other side of the dugout."

WANTING MORE: LHP Matt Moore enters tonight's start hoping to challenge hitters a little more consistently, having thrown first-pitch strikes to just 12 of 26 batters in his season debut. Moore picked up the loss after allowing two runs and three walks in 52/3 innings against Toronto, throwing just 60 of his 106 pitches for strikes.

"I think the walks necessarily weren't the part that killed me," Moore said. "It was some of the at-bats, I think, that when I'm giving up a base hit in, where I was behind or started out 2-and-0, 3-and-0."

DIFFERENT STORY: DeJesus played his first eight seasons in Kansas City and had just one winning record (2003). He explained the difference between there and the Rays culture.

"When you have guys proven like this, it just makes it a lot easier," he said. "You feel, 'We're going to win this game.' Not like, 'Okay, when are we going home? What am I going to do later?' We feel like we can always win games. That's something I've never been part of."

WITH HONORS: OF Brandon Guyer received the Al Lopez Award, given to the most outstanding Rays rookie during spring training, in a pregame ceremony Sunday. Guyer said he was honored to get the award, presented by Al Lopez III, but his biggest reward was making his first opening day roster.

MISCELLANY: Evan Longoria's sixth-inning double tied B.J. Upton for second in club history (202). Carl Crawford had 215. … DeJesus said his bruised right foot was fine but was the DH for his third straight start. …LHP David Price, who battled the flu during Saturday's start, said he was feeling better Sunday. … Shauna Thorne performed the national anthem then got engaged on the field to St. Petersburg's Adam Deeb. (For more on the proposal, go to tampabay.com.)

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