Monday, April 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays' Matt Moore excited to make first career big-league spring training appearance

PORT CHARLOTTE — Matt Moore makes his spring debut with an unusual distinction.

He has a regular-season win and a playoffs victory on his resume, but today in Sarasota will be the first time he'll pitch in a big-league spring training game.

"When you put it like that," Moore acknowledged, "it does sound a little funny."

Moore made his rapid rise to the majors last season without the benefit of attending major-league camp. And his first appearance was delayed until today in Sarasota due to a mild abdominal strain that kept him off the mound for eight days.

"It's exciting," he said.

Moore will work an inning or two in relief of David Price, who is scheduled for four as he overcame his towel-induced stiff neck to stay on schedule.

The Rays are confident that Moore, 22, can make up the lost time and be ready to start the season on time. He said all he will be focused on today is getting on the mound. "To get out there and to get into the games and start to contribute and get ready for the season is something I've been looking forward to since I've been coming back from this little hiccup," he said.

FIRST CUTS: In addition to optioning starting pitching prospects Chris Archer, Alex Cobb and Alex Torres to the minors, the Rays reassigned 1B Juan Miranda, RHP Ricky Orta (who has had a sore shoulder) and Cs Nevin Ashley and Mark Thomas, reducing the spring roster to 52.

SHIELDS UP: Opening day starter RHP James Shields worked four innings in Monday's 2-1, 10-inning loss to the Twins, throwing 49 pitches of primary fastballs and changeups (and no curveballs) in his second spring outing.

"Got some good work in out there," Shields said. "I'm definitely progressing the way I want to progress."

Manager Joe Maddon said he thought Shields "was very sharp and looked very comfortable."

FARNSWORTH, TOO: RHP Kyle Farnsworth worked an eventful inning in his spring debut, allowing two hits, including a comebacker he missed then followed with an ungraceful dive and throwing error, a sequence he summed up as "awful."

Overall he was pleased with his pitching, not quite cutting loose as his fastball topped out at about 93-94 mph. "Just trying to get the first one underneath your belt and throw strikes," he said.

The Rays want to limit him to about eight appearances, which is why he didn't pitch until Monday. "You only have so many bullets and spring training's long enough," he said.

GAME DETAILS: The Rays (3-7-1) led 1-0 on Desmond Jennings' third-inning RBI single, but the Twins tied it on Farnsworth's fifth-inning throwing error and went ahead when Luke Hughes homered off prospect Albert Suarez in the 10th. … C Jose Lobaton had a double but also a throwing error. … SS Elliot Johnson made an impressive play. … INF Jeff Keppinger had a single to hike his average to .400, Maddon saying "he has had nothing but good at-bats."

MISCELLANY: INF Sean Rodriguez's sprained left index finger improved enough for him to take batting practice and he is likely to play today. … The Rays took a look at their likely alignment against lefty starters, with Keppinger at second base and Ben Zobrist moving to rightfield.

Comments
Alex Cobb and Logan Morrison have ex-Ray vision. Hereís what they see.

Alex Cobb and Logan Morrison have ex-Ray vision. Hereís what they see.

ST. PETERSBURG — Absolutely, Alex Cobb was saying over the phone, it's going to be weird pitching Tuesday against the Rays.The organization that he owes so much for rearing him since high school, standing by him through assorted injuries, enabl...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays win on Carlos Gomezís walkoff home run

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays win on Carlos Gomezís walkoff home run

Carlos Gomez, who had been struggling, delivers a two-run, walkoff home run as the Rays sweep the Twins for the first time at Tropicana Field. Rick Stroud discusses the moment and the celebration that followed Gomez's first career walkoff hit in toda...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rays are suddenly swinging hot bats, but will it last?

Rays are suddenly swinging hot bats, but will it last?

ST. PETERSBURG — Good pitching and hitting go hand in glove, but the Rays did not look like a team that could swing the bats very well until this completed homestand.In their series sweep over the Twins, Tampa Bay scored 8, 10 and 8 runs. ...
Published: 04/22/18
Rick Stroudís takeaways from Rays-Twins

Rick Stroudís takeaways from Rays-Twins

–Yonny Chirinos may be the Rays fourth starter, but it seems to be in name only. He was lifted after pitching 4 2/3 innings against the Twin on Sunday, the shortest start of his career and his second-shortest appearance.  "Going into the g...
Published: 04/22/18
Raysí Carlos Gomez hits two-run walkoff homer to beat Twins for series sweep

Raysí Carlos Gomez hits two-run walkoff homer to beat Twins for series sweep

ST. PETERSBURG — With every swing, there is a chance Carlos Gomez is going to do something extraordinary with the baseball bat.He may swing so violently that he spins himself into the ground as if he were an oil drill. Or, you could see him sna...
Published: 04/22/18
For starters: Rays vs. Twins, going for the first series sweep of the season, 1:10 p.m.

For starters: Rays vs. Twins, going for the first series sweep of the season, 1:10 p.m.

Rays pitcher Yonny Chirinos is no longer just part of a bullpen day, he's the No. 4 starter and who goes to the mound at 1:10 p.m. against Phil Hughes to try to help Tampa Bay attempt to complete a three-game sweep of the Twins.Catcher Wilson Ramos g...
Published: 04/22/18
Rays thoughts are with ex-teammate Danny Farquhar

Rays thoughts are with ex-teammate Danny Farquhar

Members of the Rays organization sent their thoughts and prayers to former teammate Danny Farquhar, who was hospitalized Saturday night in Chicago in stable but critical condition after suffering a brain hemorrhage caused by a ruptured aneurysm.Farqu...
Published: 04/22/18
Rays on Sunday: 1:10 vs. Twins

Rays on Sunday: 1:10 vs. Twins

Sunday vs. Twins1:10, Tropicana FieldTV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 760-AM (Spanish)Tickets: $20-$300; available at Tropicana Field box office, raysbaseball.com, surcharge of up to $5 within five hours of game.Promotion: Mascot socks for kids 14 a...
Published: 04/22/18
Rays Journal: Team effort pays off in 10-1 win over Twins

Rays Journal: Team effort pays off in 10-1 win over Twins

ST. PETERSBURG – Let's be clear here, the Rays still have a long way to go, and a lot of ground to make up.But seeing them play like they did Saturday in beating the Twins 10-1, putting on a solid all-around show in cobbling their first three-g...
Published: 04/21/18
Updated: 04/22/18
Marc Topkinís takeaways from Raysí 10-1 Saturday win over Twins

Marc Topkinís takeaways from Raysí 10-1 Saturday win over Twins

* Is it time to take the leap and believe this is the real Blake Snell? He talked a good game this spring and pitched well in his debut, but that rough second outing raised old doubts. But a good outing in Chicago and two dominant ones on the homesta...
Published: 04/21/18