Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays contemplating playoff rotation options

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A change in the Rays' pitching rotation for this weekend appears part of the plan for next week's playoffs.

With LHP David Price all but officially announced as the starter for Wednesday's opener, rookie RHP Wade Davis' final regular-season start was shifted from Saturday to Sunday.

That would seem to rule Davis out for a Game 2 start Thursday since he'd have only three days' rest but would put him on five days' rest for Game 3 on Oct. 9.

That would seemingly leave Game 2 for either RHP Matt Garza, who started Thursday and would be on six days' rest, or RHP James Shields, who starts tonight and would be on five. RHP Jeff Niemann is the other option.

The change also makes it possible Price could pitch, and even start, on Saturday.

Manager Joe Maddon said the plans were inter-related and hadn't been finalized, and he wouldn't say much else.

"There's a whole bunch of different subplots involved honestly, and if I go there then I'm going to start revealing things I don't want to reveal right now," he said.

Shields, who started the opener of the 2008 division and championship series, and has their only World Series win, is hoping to be part of the rotation.

"I would think so," he said. "I would imagine so. I got a little experience in the playoffs in 2008, and I pitched pretty well in the playoffs, I think. Hopefully that's a factor in what way they make their decision."

But he also understands the case against him: winless in his last five starts and a 5.04 ERA.

"I'm ready to go, I feel great, I'm ready to compete, I'm ready to get out there, I'm ready to win some playoff games," he said. "There's nothing I can really do. I have a 5 ERA right now, if you look at the numbers I'm probably not there. There's no one else I can blame but myself."

SORIANO JOINS TEAM BORAS: Closer Rafael Soriano was expected to be too expensive for the Rays to bring back after his record-setting season anyway.

And that price likely went up with Thursday's news that he hired mega-agent Scott Boras as his new representative.

"Why? Because I was thinking who will be the best for me, for my career," Soriano said. "So I picked him."

Soriano, who had been represented most recently by Peter Greenberg, talked to five firms this week and chose Boras, who was his agent briefly in 2000. Boras is already preparing his pitch, noting how rare it is for a closer to have the success Soriano has (44 saves in 47 chances, with a sub-.200 ERA) and be as young as he is (30).

"The closer market has not had anybody as a free agent with those kind of seasons and is 30 years old in the market," Boras said. "He is having an historic season. … (And) he's on track to be one of the all-time saves leaders based on what he's doing at this age."

Soriano is playing under a one-year, $7.25 million contract.

By some estimates, he could be in line for at least a three-year, $30 million contract.

Boras said Soriano is comfortable playing for the Rays and returning is "obviously something we would look at," but he also said he was aware of "the pronouncements" that Rays ownership will cut payroll.

LONGORIA UPDATE: 3B Evan Longoria has progressed well enough in his recovery from a left quad strain that there's "an outside chance" he could return tonight, Maddon said.

But there is also a possibility that he won't play at all this weekend as the team's primary focus is getting him as close to 100 percent as possible by Wednesday's playoff opener.

"That wouldn't bother me in the least; I don't think it's absolutely imperative that he does (play this weekend)," Maddon said. "The biggest thing is that he feels confident on his leg in the first game of the playoffs."

There is also a scenario, of course, that Longoria has a setback and can't play Wednesday, and the Rays are preparing for that, too. Having seen Dan Johnson at third base for three games, the Rays on Thursday took a look at Ben Zobrist, who could be a better defensive option and start against right-handers, with Reid Brignac at second.

Maddon said they are most comfortable with Sean Rodriguez, who could start there against left-handers.

MISCELLANY: OF Carl Crawford matched his career high with his 18th homer. … RHP Joaquin Benoit returned after missing two games to return to the Dominican Republic for the birth of his daughter. … The players are meeting today to vote playoff shares.

Tampa Bay Rays contemplating playoff rotation options 09/30/10 [Last modified: Friday, October 1, 2010 7:43am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays vs. Rangers, 7:10 p.m. Friday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Rangers

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  2. Good news for Rays on Steven Souza Jr. as MRI shows 'no damage' to hip


    The Rays got good news today on RF Steven Souza Jr., as an MRI showed "no damage" to his left hip.

    Steven Souza Jr. #20 of the Tampa Bay Rays holds his leg after hurting himself trying to steal second base in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on July 19, 2017 in Oakland, California.
  3. Bucs raise prices for single tickets to marquee games


    The Bucs will have single-game tickets for 2017 home games on sale July 28, with a new wrinkle: the best games will cost more for fans.

    Bucs fans cheer Jameis Winston after a victory in their final home game of the 2016 season. Individual tickets for the Bucs' three most coveted home games (against the Patriots, Bears and Giants) will cost more in 2017.
  4. RHP Alex Cobb feeling safer as Rays make playoff push

    The Heater

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb (53) throwing in the fourth inning of the game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Tampa Bay Rays at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Fla. on Tuesday, March 21, 2017.
  5. HomeTeam 100: Players 61-70


    Jefferson wide receiver Dontavius Smith during the game between Jefferson High School and Jesuit High School at Jesuit on Friday, Sept. 16, 2016, in Tampa, Fla.