Thursday, May 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays outfielder B.J. Upton may not be ready for opening day

PORT CHARLOTTE — The Rays are still optimistic, but with less than two weeks until opening day, they are starting to make contingency plans in case CF B.J. Upton (back) is not ready.

Complicating matters, OF Sam Fuld (right wrist) could also land on the disabled list.

In that case, manager Joe Maddon said they'd likely move OF Desmond Jennings to center. Ben Zobrist could then play right, with Matt Joyce in left, like they were for Sunday's game against the Marlins.

Upton has had three minor-league at-bats since an on-field collision with Jennings March 14. His back is sore and he's unsure when he'll play, saying he'd likely need just five or six games to be good to go. But Maddon acknowledged it's getting "pretty close to the point where we may not be able to get him ready for the beginning of the season."

Fuld, who left Friday's game with pain in his wrist, will be examined today in St. Petersburg by hand specialist Dr. Douglas Carlin.

"We keep talking about getting off to a good start; if you have guys that aren't really game ready to play, are you hurting the entire team by not having the guy ready?" Maddon said. "I don't know that yet."

Jennings said he's willing to play center, but he has a physical issue: He hasn't thrown since Tuesday, when his shoulder became sore. He played the field and ran the bases in a minor-league game Sunday, and he'll likely play catch today or Tuesday. Maddon said Jennings is "relatively close," and they'll get him more game action in center, with other games at DH.

IN SHORT: SS Reid Brignac (right foot) was happy with how he felt after playing a few innings in a minor-league intrasquad game, his first game action in a week. Brignac, suffering from a plantar fasciitis issue, went 0-for-2 and turned a double play, saying the pain is "tolerable." He hopes to get into a Grapefruit League game in next few days.

ROSTER MOVES: The Rays reassigned five players to minor-league camp: RHPs Jhonny Nunez and Romulo Sanchez, C Craig Albernaz, OF Brad Coon and INF Matt Mangini.

GAME DETAILS: The Rays (6-14-1) lost 5-1 to the Marlins and have been held to two runs or fewer 11 times in 23 games. "When we're not hitting, everything else is magnified," Maddon said. "We make a mistake on offense or defense, we can't sweep it under the rug." Maddon praised LHP J.P. Howell, who threw 11/3 scoreless innings.

PEN NOTES: Though RHP Brandon Gomes said the results Saturday were "frustrating," allowing two runs in two-thirds of an inning, he was encouraged his velocity got up to 90-91 mph. "It's still there," he said. Gomes, who is trying to regain arm strength after offseason back surgery, is confident he'll be ready for opening day.

MISCELLANY: MLB Network will show today's game on tape delay at 1 a.m.

Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
For starters: Rays vs. Red Sox, with Snell on the mound

For starters: Rays vs. Red Sox, with Snell on the mound

Having lost a pair of close games, the Rays will try again tonight to beat the Red Sox, and will have LHP Blake Snell on the mound.SS Willy Adames is in the lineup for the Rays for the third and what is expected to be the final time before being sent...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays morning after: Chris Archer, David Price sure matched up like they meant it

Rays morning after: Chris Archer, David Price sure matched up like they meant it

For two guys who said they didn't make much of matching up, they sure dueled like they did in Boston's 4-1 victory that was decided after they left.Chris Archer, the Rays current top starter, worked six impressive innings, allowing one run and four h...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Rays journal: Could Sergio Romo be looking at pitching 3 straight games?

Rays journal: Could Sergio Romo be looking at pitching 3 straight games?

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays' pitching rotation for the weekend series against the Orioles could have a familiar look: Romo, Romo, Romo.Manager Kevin Cash said using veteran right-handed reliever Sergio Romo as the "opener" in all three upcoming g...
Published: 05/24/18
Rookie’s error in 9th helps doom Rays against Red Sox

Rookie’s error in 9th helps doom Rays against Red Sox

ST. PETERSBURG — Willy Adames was so excited to be in the big leagues, even if was for just a three-day cameo callup. So thrilled to make a smashing debut with a homer on Tuesday. So proud to have his parents and sister fly in from the Dom...
Published: 05/24/18
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Red Sox game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Red Sox game

In a way, the timing of RHP Jake Faria's oblique injury seemed manageable in that RHP Nathan Eovaldi is close to coming off the disabled list and can step in. But on the other hand, the Rays finally could have four regular starters. Imagine that.Ther...
Published: 05/23/18
Rays’ Jake Faria may be out until August, Vidal Nuno called up

Rays’ Jake Faria may be out until August, Vidal Nuno called up

UPDATE, 5:32: Faria is looking at at extended absence, potentially into August. Cash said an estimate of 6-8 weeks was on the optimistic side. "From what we found out he got it pretty good," Cash said.  "So it could be a little bit longer than t...
Published: 05/23/18
For starters: Rays vs. Red Sox, with Archer facing Price

For starters: Rays vs. Red Sox, with Archer facing Price

UPDATE, 5:18: Ramos' bruised left thumb is feeling better and though he's not in the lineup Cash said he is available for emergency duty. … OF Carlos Gomez was set to run the bases today as the next test of his strained groin. … Cash said...
Published: 05/23/18
Rays morning after: Faria frustrated after latest letdown

Rays morning after: Faria frustrated after latest letdown

Whatever pain RHP Jake Faria was feeling as a result of the oblique muscle on the left side he strained throwing a fourth-inning slider to Boston's Hanley Ramirez couldn't compare to the hurt in his heart.Forced to leave Tuesday's game and likely hea...
Published: 05/23/18
Willy Adames homers, but Rays fall to Red Sox and suffer injuries

Willy Adames homers, but Rays fall to Red Sox and suffer injuries

ST. PETERSBURG — Top prospect Willy Adames is only going to get to stay with the Rays for a few days, so good for him for making the most of it with a home run in his first big-league game, and off Red Sox ace Chris Sale no less.But the good fe...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/23/18
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays loss to Red Sox

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays loss to Red Sox

Marc Topkin's takeaways from Rays 4-2 loss to Red Sox on Tuesday:* The Rays record against a Red Sox team they consider a measuring stick doesn't look very good at 3-8. But, as manager Kevin Cash and several players pointed out, there is some consola...
Published: 05/22/18