Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Special guest cheers on Rays' Brandon Guyer

BALTIMORE — Having grown up in nearby northern Virginia, OF Brandon Guyer usually has plenty of family and friends in the stands when the Rays play at Camden Yards.

On Friday, in addition to his dad, wife and in-laws, there was a special guest: a 13-year-old boy who lost his right leg to cancer, Mathias Giordano. Guyer invited Giordano to a game after meeting him at an offseason event his wife was involved in for the Special Love organization, a charity that helps pediatric cancer patients.

"Anything to brighten up his day," Guyer said.

Guyer arranged tickets for Giordano and his family, got him a bat signed by all of the Rays and gave him a game-used bat but wanted to do something else.

"I told him I'd get a hit," Guyer said. "I told him I'd do my best; that I couldn't promise anything."

Guyer more than delivered with three doubles in the 5-2 win against the Orioles in the opening game of the doubleheader.

And it sounded as if he benefitted from the visit as well, which almost got canceled as Giordano is still undergoing treatment.

"I'm glad it worked out," Guyer said. "It's an inspiration seeing a kid like that who's smiling all the time even though he's struggling."

Hellickson leaves Start: RHP Jeremy Hellickson left his rehab start at Triple-A Durham after three innings after experiencing what the Rays said was "minor discomfort" in his elbow. Rays manager Joe Maddon said the move was precautionary and maybe even overcautious.

"Right now, I'm not getting any kind of real highly negative reports," he said.

"Let's just wait and see."

Hellickson, looking to return soon after January elbow surgery, was to work six innings or 90 pitches. In three innings, he allowed one run on five hits on 55 pitches. It was his fourth start at Durham and fifth overall of his rehab.

ESCOBAR OUT AGAIN: SS Yunel Escobar was unavailable again due to what the Rays are now saying is tightness in his right shoulder. He has not played since leaving Tuesday's game with what was described as soreness.

"(Head athletic trainer Ron Porter­field) said tight, very tight," Maddon said. "So it's something we've got to be mind of, careful with. In (Escobar's) words, he felt better but really tight."

Maddon said Friday morning that he did not think a DL stint would be necessary and after the matinee that Escobar was feeling better. But he was not available even to pinch hit. The Rays were expecting him back this weekend, and he will go through a workout today that might determine if that will happen.

"If he goes out (today) and is unable to throw or something, his status may change,' Maddon said.

C Ryan Hanigan, who sat out Tuesday and Wednesday with a stiff neck, returned Friday night.

FAN CLUB: With Jake Odorizzi's second-inning whiff of Manny Machado in the nightcap, the Rays broke a 50-year-old major-league record for strikeouts in June. The 1964 Indians staff, featuring Sam McDowell, Luis Tiant and Sonny Siebert, struck out 253. After fanning nine in Friday's matinee and seven in the nightcap, the Rays have 259 strikeouts, matching the team record for most in any month set in September 2012.

STARRY-EYED: LHP Jake McGee's 1-2-3 ninth inning in the matinee was the latest entry in a game log that might get him into the All-Star Game.

As the Rays filled out their ballots Friday morning, McGee said he is not getting his hopes up knowing it's tough for middle relievers to get selected and doesn't want to be disappointed.

But he also said that if chosen, there is now a better chance that he will make it to the July 16 game. His wife, Morgan, is due to deliver their first child around then, but McGee said Friday that they now plan to have labor induced after the July 9 home game.

MISCELLANY: Maddon prevailed in a sixth-inning replay challenge of an out call on Kevin Kiermaier at first. Maddon (and video coordinator Chris Fernandez) is now 9-of-18 on challenges. … This was the 23rd doubleheader in Rays history. They now are 4-10-9. The doubleheader was the result of the April 15 rainout.

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