Thursday, June 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays acquire infielder Drew Sutton from Pirates

ST. PETERSBURG — As crazy as it was for new Rays INF Drew Sutton to be traded twice in one day, he ended up in the big leagues, which is all that mattered.

"It was a really good surprise," he said.

Tampa Bay acquired Sutton, 29, a versatile switch-hitter, from the Pirates, for a player to be named or cash considerations. He helps replace INF Jeff Keppinger, who Monday went on the 15-day disabled list with a broken right toe. Manager Joe Maddon said Keppinger is likely out 3-4 weeks.

Sutton was playing for the Braves' Triple-A Gwinnett club in Rochester, N.Y., on Sunday when he got pulled in the fourth inning. He was told after the game he had been traded to Pittsburgh and should rent a car Monday morning to join the Pirates' Triple-A team in Buffalo. But at the hotel, around 11 p.m., he was told he was going to take a direct flight Monday to Tampa to get back in the majors.

"It's a little better than Buffalo," Sutton said, smiling. "It's exciting. It's a very wide range of emotions for about four hours, a lot of different phone calls."

Sutton, who has played parts of three seasons with the Red Sox, Reds and Indians, wasn't a stranger to the Rays, getting a locker next to good friend Ben Zobrist, who also was drafted by the Astros in 2004. The two were roommates then and have worked out together in the offseasons in Nashville.

Like Zobrist, Sutton has a handful of gloves, having experience at all the infield positions, with his best spot second base. Manager Joe Maddon said Sutton will be moved around, with the potential to get some outfield work.

Maddon said Sutton's ability to hit from the right side was a key factor.

"I've liked him from a distance," Maddon said. "And our friends in the front office liked him for a while."

To make room on the 40-man roster for Sutton, minor-league LHP John Gaub was designated for assignment.

WEB WEARY: The Rays' three errors against the Blue Jays gave them 38 on the season, their most through 43 games since 2007 (39). They are on pace for a club-record 143 errors.

RIGHT TRACK: LHP Matt Moore enters tonight's start encouraged by the steps he made in his last outing against Boston. Moore picked up the loss but settled in, retiring the final 10 batters in a six-inning outing.

"From a confidence standpoint, it did make me feel like when the bleeding started, I was able to stop it," he said. "We had a shot for at least a while, and it didn't downward spiral out of control like it could have."

MISCELLANY: Maddon said C Jose Lobaton (right shoulder soreness) is still a week away from joining the team. Maddon said CF Desmond Jennings (left knee sprain) could be activated Sunday, the day he's eligible to come off. … C Jose Molina, pulled as a precaution in the seventh inning Sunday after getting hit in the mask with a foul tip, was back in the lineup.

MATSUI WATCH: Though there's no official date for DH/OF Hideki Matsui to be called up from Triple-A Durham, Maddon said he and executive VP Andrew Friedman are monitoring him more closely. Maddon said part of the timing is Matsui being ready and the other is need, with the Rays having a lot of left-handed bats. Matsui hit an RBI single in the 10th Monday to lift the Bulls to a 3-2 victory.

LEGAL MATTERS: RHP Matt Bush, facing seven charges stemming from his March 22 DUI hit-and-run arrest, officially entered his plea of not guilty in Charlotte County. A judge also approved defense motions to have an investigator and crash reconstruction specialist paid for by the state.

Comments
Rays journal: Jake Bauers proves he’s up to speed on bases

Rays journal: Jake Bauers proves he’s up to speed on bases

ST. PETERSBURG – Rookie 1B Jake Bauers has impressed at the plate and in the field since his June 7 promotion.Also, with his hustling on the bases."I knew he played hard; everybody said that at every level,'' manager Kevin Cash said. "I di...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Missed time a good mental reset for Rays’ Matt Duffy

Missed time a good mental reset for Rays’ Matt Duffy

ST. PETERSBURG — Missing all of 2017 might have been the absolute worst thing for Matt Duffy.Frustratingly idled as he eventually recovered and rehabbed from ongoing left heel issues, he couldn't play the game he loved, couldn't show the Rays o...
Published: 06/21/18
Rays journal: 7 pitches, 3 straight homers prove too much in loss to Astros

Rays journal: 7 pitches, 3 straight homers prove too much in loss to Astros

HOUSTON — The Rays were engaged in a third straight tight, go-either-way battle with the defending champ Astros on Wednesday.Until they were not.A brutal seven-pitch sequence by starter Nathan Eovaldi changed everything, as he gave up three con...
Published: 06/21/18
Rays see the results of keeping a good, young core group together

Rays see the results of keeping a good, young core group together

HOUSTON — The Rays saw a lot on the weeklong trip that ended with Wednesday's game against that Astros, beyond the street hustlers prowling in Times Square and the urban cowboys and girls parading through H-town.There was an impressive debuting...
Published: 06/20/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Astros game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Astros game

RHP Nathan Eovaldi said before his rough start Wednesday against the Astros that he was pitching better than his numbers showed. Well … In four starts since his six no-hit innings debut, he's 0-3 with a 6.17 ERA, allowing eight homers, four Wed...
Published: 06/20/18
For starters: Rays at Astros, with a different look

For starters: Rays at Astros, with a different look

UPDATE, 6:43: Cash said the key to how the pieced the lineup together was the opportunity to give Cron (who is struggling) and Duffy (who is doing well) back to back days off. … Looking ahead to the weekend, the Rays will use RHP Ryne Stanek as...
Published: 06/20/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Kevin Kiermaier returns to the Rays

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Kevin Kiermaier returns to the Rays

Times sports columnist Tom Jones joins Rick Stroud to discuss Kevin Kiermaier's return to the Rays, whether Victor Hedman should win the Norris Trophy for the NHL's best defenseman, Bucs expectations for this season and Barry Trotz's next c...
Published: 06/20/18
How the Rays really won Tuesday’s game over Astros

How the Rays really won Tuesday’s game over Astros

There was some interesting inside baseball elements that factored into the late innings of Tuesday's 2-1 Rays win.* First, on Matt Duffy's double off reliever Hector Rondon to lead off the eighth.Duffy said he doesn't like "to guess" what a pitcher i...
Published: 06/20/18
Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier returns, with energy to spare

Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier returns, with energy to spare

HOUSTON — Energy.That's what Kevin Kiermaier said he felt he'd provide most in rejoining the Rays Tuesday against the Astros after missing two-plus months recovering from thumb surgery."I like to think I bring energy on both sides of the ball, ...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Rays journal: Blake Snell outlasts Justin Verlander in 2-1 win

Rays journal: Blake Snell outlasts Justin Verlander in 2-1 win

HOUSTON — The starting pitcher walked seven over seven otherwise solid innings Tuesday. That seemed weird enough for the Rays. Then the next pitcher they brought in was the one who started Monday's game. Even more bizarre.And then there was thi...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/20/18