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 pitcher Hernandez to continue comeback bid at Triple-A Durham

LOOKING SHARP: Andy Sonnanstine delivers in the second inning of an impressive three-inning outing, allowing a run on three hits and displaying “pretty good” control.


LOOKING SHARP: Andy Sonnanstine delivers in the second inning of an impressive three-inning outing, allowing a run on three hits and displaying “pretty good” control.

BRADENTON — The Rays saw enough of LHP Carlos Hernandez this spring to think he can make it back to the big leagues for the first time since 2004.

Just not yet.

Hernandez was one of 13 players sent to the minors Monday, along with top 2008 draft pick SS Tim Beckham and prized prospect RHP Wade Davis, as the Rays reduced their spring roster to 43.

Manager Joe Maddon touted Hernandez, 28, as a legit candidate for the No. 5 starter's job but said the former Astro needs more work. He will get it as a starter for Triple-A Durham, with the idea he could be called up to start or relieve if needed.

"Sincerely I believe this man is on a mission to get back to the major leagues," Maddon said. "I really find this fellow exciting, I find his intensity exciting and I find his drive to be all this sincere. So that's why I believe he's going to do it."

Hernandez, who has had three shoulder surgeries, said he was "really encouraged" by what he has done (1-1, 2.25, .234 average in four spring games) but knows he has to show more.

"I'm healthy, that's the main thing; that's all that matters to me right now," he said. "I want to prove I'm able to go out there every five days."

CLASSIC MOVES: With Chipper Jones hurt and out of the World Baseball Classic, Rays 3B Evan Longoria is first in line to be added to the roster if Team USA wins tonight and advances to the weekend championship round.

"If I get a call I'd be more than happy to go and help the club out," he said.

The Rays could have some say, but executive VP Andrew Friedman said it was too speculative to discuss yet. "If it presents itself, we'll go through it and go from there," he said.

LHP J.P. Howell, sidelined since being struck by a foul ball last week, said via text message he is off "the mini-DL" and available to pitch for Team USA tonight: "All is good."

GAME DETAILS: No. 4 starter RHP Andy Sonnanstine pitched three crisp innings of the 6-4 win, allowing a run on three hits, and said his arm and his control "felt pretty good." He was pleased with his one changeup, saying, "I've really got to commit to that pitch, I think it could be a big thing for me this year." … LHP David Price had an eventful 21/3 innings, allowing one run, three hits and two walks, striking out two, throwing 58 pitches and going to the bullpen to stay loose during the long top of the sixth, when the Rays (9-7-1) scored four on one hit (a Jason Bartlett single) plus six walks and two RBI groundouts. … Price "wasn't overly sharp overall," Maddon said, but continued to show an improved changeup. However, Price said, "I've worked on my changeup so much, my slider's kinda gone away." … The sellout pro-Rays crowd of 5,836 was just shy of a Pirates spring high.

MISCELLANY: OF Matt Joyce (right leg tendinitis) debuts today as the DH in Durham's minor-league exhibition opener in Port Charlotte, allowing the Rays to better control his actions. … RHP James Shields starts for Durham so he can stay on schedule for his April 6 opening day start. … Despite a 23.63 ERA and four homers in 22/3 innings, RHP Joe Nelson said his arm feels "great" and there is no cause for concern; Maddon concurred but wants him to throw more fastballs.

Times staff writer Joe Smith contributed to this report.

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Hernandez to continue comeback bid at Triple-A Durham 03/16/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 17, 2009 6:13am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Muslim faith greater than fear for Wharton's Rania Samhouri (w/video)


    TAMPA — Rania Samhouri graduated Monday night from Wharton High School, and many times throughout the ceremony she flashed back to a moment that changed her life.

     Rania Samhouri stretches after track practice on Monday April 24, 2017 at Wharton High School in Tampa, Florida. Rania, who is Muslim, recently started wearing her hijab during track competitions. She graduates from Wharton this year and will attend University of South Florida on scholarship next year.
  2. Bucs' Doug Martin relying on strength from drug rehab to power his return


    TAMPA — He would not talk about the drug he abused. He would not identify the rehab facility he entered in January or how long he was there.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin participates in an "open OTA practice" at One Buc Place, the team's training facility, in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.
  3. NCAA: Former USF basketball assistant gave improper benefits


    TAMPA — Former USF men's basketball assistant coach Oliver Antigua provided impermissible benefits, including lodging at his home, for two prospective student-athletes while they received on-campus tutoring, according to findings reported to the school by the NCAA.

  4. Back to .500, Rays feel ready to roll (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Who wants to be mediocre? Middling? Average? Run-of-the-mill?

    Rays catcher Jesus Sucre tags out the Angels’ Mike Trout trying to score from second base after a perfect peg from rightfielder Steven Souza Jr. in the first inning.
  5. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. preserves shutout with perfect throw

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The closest the Angels came to scoring off RHP Matt Andriese in Thursday's 4-0 Rays victory occurred in the first inning, when DH Mike Trout tried to score from second on a single to right. But the throw from RF Steven Souza Jr. was on the money, and Trout was out.

    "That …

    Colby Rasmus collects high fives and shoulder rubs after driving in all four of the Rays’ runs in their victory Thursday. Rasmus had two run-scoring hits a day after hitting a home run.