Monday, February 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays' Jeremy Hellickson turns in his best outing of the spring

CLEARWATER — RHP Jeremy Hellickson talked seriously before Thursday's start against the Phillies, saying he would approach it like a regular-season game.

Then Hellickson backed it up with his best outing of the spring, allowing one run over six innings in a 2-1 loss at Bright House Field. In his previous start, he allowed 10 runs and 11 hits in three innings against the Twins.

"It's nice to go out there and pitch how you feel," Hellickson said. "My confidence wasn't shot at all, it's been a real rough last few starts, but I've been working on things. And it feels good to put up some zeroes and pitch like I know I can."

Hellickson had better command of his fastball in a 109-pitch outing. He attacked hitters like he would in a regular game, as opposed to working on stuff. He allowed seven hits, the biggest a solo homer by C Brian Schneider in the fifth. But Hellickson matched Phillies LHP Cole Hamels, and he got out of a two-on, no-out jam to end the sixth.

"I thought he did a great job actually," manager Joe Maddon said. "He really got into a groove throwing the fastball down with a good changeup coming off that, some nice curveballs, pitched out of some tough moments against some pretty good hitters, so I was really pleased with him."

Hellickson, whose ERA dropped from 15.30 to 10.13, said he must improve on his success with two strikes, but with one start left before the season opener, he feels he's ready. "I feel like I'm there," he said.

CENTER STAGE: OF Desmond Jennings looked — and felt — good in his return to the field Thursday, playing eight innings in center. Jennings, who was limited the past week with shoulder soreness, hit a double, stole a base and said he's 100 percent, ready to play on a regular basis.

"I can make whatever throw I have to," he said. "I'm good to go."

Also back: Reid Brignac entered the game at short in the sixth, his first big-league exhibition action since May 15, and was encouraged with how his foot responded, especially defensively. "Really had no issue today," he said of the plantar fascia injury to his right foot.

Maddon said Brignac is still competing with Sean Rodriguez for the starting shortstop job and could envision a platoon situation.

MEDICAL MATTERS: Reliever Fernando Rodney said X-rays of his right forearm showed no fracture, and he expects to resume throwing in a couple of days: "It's good. I'll be all right."

Rodney was hit flush on the right forearm by a line drive off the bat of Pittsburgh's Alex Presley in the ninth inning Wednesday. He said he didn't see the ball and was scared at the time, then relieved to find out it was only a bruise.

GAME DETAILS: The Rays lost on a bases-loaded walkoff single by Phillies INF Hector Luna. … 3B Evan Longoria hit a solo homer, his second of the spring. Elliot Johnson hit his fourth double.

MISCELLANY: DH Luke Scott went 1-for-3 with a double in a minor-league game in Port Charlotte. LHP J.P. Howell threw a scoreless inning in the same game. … RHP Wade Davis threw a bullpen session instead of appearing in a minor-league game. … Maddon said the decision on the extra outfielder could come down to the end of camp. … Maddon said with CF B.J. Upton still injured, OF Matt Joyce may play against more left-handers.

Times staff writer Marc Topkin contributed to this report. Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected]om

Comments
As Kevin Kiermaier blasts changes, Rays see empowered Kevin Cash as stabilizer

As Kevin Kiermaier blasts changes, Rays see empowered Kevin Cash as stabilizer

PORT CHARLOTTE — The list of those no longer with the team was going to be noteworthy no matter what Monday as the holdovers, newcomers and wannabes gathered for the first full-squad workout in Camp Dis-A-Ray.Then even before Rays manager Kevin...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
Ray Tank: Fans have fun with name of team’s new blog

Ray Tank: Fans have fun with name of team’s new blog

Rays fans upset about the team's recent moves found the perfect target for their ridicule Monday when the team announced the name of its new blog.The Ray Tank.Announcing... The Ray Tank!Our new blog will have behind-the-scenes stories, photos, and mo...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Rays journal: Matt Andriese not mad (but not happy either) with move to bullpen

Rays journal: Matt Andriese not mad (but not happy either) with move to bullpen

PORT CHARLOTTE — Having spent the offseason preparing for a spot in the rotation, RHP Matt Andriese said he was initially "shocked" when told Sunday that he will begin the season in the bullpen."Ultimately, I'm not happy with the decision," And...
Updated: 6 hours ago
The Yankees’ show of shows is off and homering

The Yankees’ show of shows is off and homering

TAMPA — Move over, Hamilton.The show of shows began Monday at Steinbrenner Field. The Boss would have loved it. Yankees shock and awe began during the first full workout. Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton took batting practice. The mere sight o...
Updated: 7 hours ago
On deck in Rays ballpark quest: Tampa Bay’s business community

On deck in Rays ballpark quest: Tampa Bay’s business community

TAMPA — Columbia Restaurant owner Richard Gonzmart says he’s ready to put his checkbook where his heart is when it comes to supporting a Tampa Bay Rays move to Ybor City.So is the investment fund for the founding family of Ashley Furniture. So, it ap...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Live from Port Charlotte: First full squad workout

Live from Port Charlotte: First full squad workout

The Rays held their first full squad workout today, though RF Steven Souza Jr., did not work out because of a family matter. He had already reported to camp.More fallout from Saturday's Jake Odorizzi trade and DFA'ing of Corey Dickerson. This time fr...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Kevin Kiermaier sounds off on Rays’ weekend moves: ‘I am 100 percent frustrated and very upset’

Kevin Kiermaier sounds off on Rays’ weekend moves: ‘I am 100 percent frustrated and very upset’

Standout CF Kevin Kiermaier made very clear Monday what he thought of the Rays' weekend decisions to part ways with veteran OF/DH Corey Dickerson and RHP Jake Odorizzi:"I am 100 percent frustrated and very upset with the moves. No beating around the ...
Published: 02/19/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Goodbye, Jake Odorizzi and Corey Dickerson

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Goodbye, Jake Odorizzi and Corey Dickerson

The Rays continue their salary dump as they trade Jake Odorizzi to the Twins for a Single-A shortstop and designate All-Star Corey Dickerson for assignment, saving about $10 million in the process.In his latest podcast, Rick Stroud breaks down the mo...
Published: 02/19/18
As Odorizzi bids goodbye to Rays, Archer says he’ll be missed many ways

As Odorizzi bids goodbye to Rays, Archer says he’ll be missed many ways

RHP Jake Odorizzi was up early Sunday, driving over to the Rays training complex in Port Charlotte to pack his stuff and say his goodbyes after being traded Saturday night to the Twins.RELATED: Rays make a deal, three actually, to trade Odorizzi, DFA...
Published: 02/19/18
What were Rays thinking in ditching Odorizzi, Dickerson, adding Cron?

What were Rays thinking in ditching Odorizzi, Dickerson, adding Cron?

PORT CHARLOTTE – Rays officials insisted Sunday they made the best deals they could in a bad market, trading No. 2 starter Jake Odorizzi for an unheralded Class A shortstop prospect and DFA-ing 2017 All-Star Corey Dickerson in essentially a swa...
Published: 02/18/18