Sunday, January 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Social media hate doesn't faze Rays' Geltz

TORONTO — Letting down his teammates has been the worst part of RHP Steve Geltz's horrible run, which included Sunday's serving up of his third game-losing homer in a week.

But otherwise, Geltz said he remains undaunted by criticism — which he said included death threats via social media — and confident he will work his way through it.

"This is just a test for me, I feel like," Geltz said. "Things went good for me last year … and I believe this is a test, and this is going to see how I handle adversity and how I come back from it, and succeed and conquer as opposed to giving in.

"That's something I've never done. I faced adversity my whole life. I'm a 5-foot-10 pitcher — let's be honest. This is just another test to see how I deal with all the negativity, all the death threats, all the hate mail, all that (garbage).

"People are out for vengeance for me. People are out for my head. Social media — they send you just negative, mean (things). Stuff that nobody needs to hear."

But Geltz said he is not letting it bother him.

"If your life is based around going on a social media thing and down-talking a guy because he did bad, I feel bad for you,'' he said. "It doesn't hurt my feelings. It kind of makes me sad for that person that their whole everything is revolved around talking down on a guy and being demeaning."

As if the pitching hasn't been bad enough, Geltz got to his hotel room Sunday night and was stricken, for the third time in recent weeks, by an inexplicable allergic reaction that left his right eye puffy and swollen. He pitched through it with a 1-2-3 sixth inning Monday, benefiting from continued medication and treatment as his vision was not affected, and plans to see a specialist when the team gets home. "It was good to get Geltzy back out there,'' manager Kevin Cash said.

DECISIONS, DECISIONS: Cash said he will take any and all blame for the circumstances that led to Sunday's defeat, but he also stuck by two key decisions that put the Rays in that position: bringing Geltz in with the tying run on second; and having him pitch to red-hot Danny Valencia with first base open. Valencia hit a two-run homer, his third of the game, and the Rays lost 7-6. "I'm still fine with both those decisions," Cash said.

CATCHING ON: If the Rays want to add to their catching depth or replace Hank Conger on the active roster, they now have a familiar and experienced option as J.P. Arencibia was released Monday, at his request, from the Phillies' Triple-A team.

Arencibia, 30, hit .310 with six homers, 17 RBIs and a .921 on-base plus slugging percentage in 24 games for the Rays starting in late August after spending the bulk of the season at Triple-A Durham. He had hoped to stay with the Rays but was released in November, so is likely to have interest in a return.

ATTACKING ARCHER: After slogging through a 33-pitch, three-walk first inning Wednesday in Seattle, RHP Chris Archer switched to a more aggressive approach and had better results and said he wanted to start that way his next outing.

Tonight, he gets to show it.

"It's really just a mentality," he said. "It's not something that's trained. Because you can't throw a bullpen, even if somebody is standing in (at the plate). There's nothing that can simulate. We're men. We can control what goes through our head. And I can definitely be more aggressive in the strike zone from pitch one. It shouldn't take 20 or 30 pitches to get going."

MISCELLANY: The 13 runs were the most since April 2014. … RHP Brad Boxberger (core muscle repair surgery) came through Sunday's initial rehab outing well and will throw again Wednesday for advanced Class A Charlotte. … As expected, RHP Danny Farquhar cleared optional waivers and was optioned to Triple-A Durham.

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