Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays' Brandon Guyer says Matt Bush DUI accident affected him early in season

NEW YORK — OF Brandon Guyer wouldn't get into specifics in his first public comments about the events that led up to teammate Matt Bush driving his SUV during Bush's March 22 DUI hit-and-run accident.

But Guyer spoke openly Wednesday about the aftereffects the accident, and the resulting $5 million lawsuit filed against him by the victim's family, had on his play at Triple-A Durham, where he had a miserable start.

"I just let it get to me, and it was beating me for a while," Guyer said. "(I) was not playing like the way I do. It definitely affected me. Once I got over that and got better mentally everything started coming back into place."

After hitting .191 through his first 12 games for the Bulls, Guyer — despite a week-long stay on the DL with a sprained left ankle — was sizzling over his next 10 games, hitting .421 (16-for-38).

The Rays summoned him Wednesday for what is expected to be a short stint, a fill-in for INF Jeff Keppinger, who left to attend to a personal matter.

"I'm just glad to be playing again," Guyer said, "and am thankful for this opportunity."

Guyer has not talked to Bush, who remains jailed in Charlotte County on multiple charges, since the accident and has not gotten back his Dodge Durango, which was seized as evidence. Guyer's agent, Jamie Appel, told the Times in March that Guyer didn't know Bush's license was suspended, and he didn't give Bush permission to use the vehicle after dropping Guyer off at the team complex.

Guyer said he wasn't able to comment on the lawsuit filed by the family of victim Tony Tufano. "I can't really say much right now," he said. "I'm just trying to focus on baseball and let that stuff work out."

KEPPINGER UPDATE: Keppinger left to appear at a mediation hearing in his ongoing divorce case in Georgia, court records show. The divorce case, which started in November, is scheduled to go before a judge May 29.

Manager Joe Maddon said the team won't know until this morning whether Keppinger will be back in time for tonight's game.

The Rays avoided being shorthanded by placing Keppinger on the restricted list, getting approval from MLB, which allows such moves on a case-by-case basis under a provision for "unusual circumstances" and also for the player to be paid.

JENNINGS BETTER: LF Desmond Jennings pinch-hit in the eighth, flying out to left, in his first appearance since spraining his left knee Sunday.

PRICE CHECK: Tonight's matchup of LHP David Price and Yankees LHP CC Sabathia has marquee quality but in reality has been one-sided: In the five times they've met, Price is 3-0 with a 1.56 ERA and the Rays have won all five games.

SUCH A DEAL: IF OF/DH Hideki Matsui ends up helping the Rays, they'll be getting a bargain. According to terms obtained by the Times, Matsui, if called up, will get a salary of about $900,000 — and $10,000 a month while at Triple A. He made $4.5 million last year.

MISCELLANY: The Rays got their MLB-most fourth win when trailing after eight innings. The Yanks are 15-2 when leading after eight, both losses to the Rays. … Maddon said he was "appalled" at the actions and words of Phillies LHP Cole Hamels in intentionally hitting Washington rookie Bryce Harper with a pitch to welcome him to the majors: "I could not believe it. It was inappropriate. I've never heard of anything like that before. I'm glad MLB reacted as they did (in suspending Hamels)." … Chris Gimenez made his first career appearance at third base. … Lori Fraser, a breast cancer survivor from St. Petersburg, was chosen as the Rays Honorary Bat Girl, and will be honored May 20.

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