Make us your home page
Instagram

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 Jeff Niemann completes simulated game outing with no trouble

Jeff Niemann, who hasn’t made a start since May, says he is able to throw without thinking so much about his healed leg.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times

Jeff Niemann, who hasn’t made a start since May, says he is able to throw without thinking so much about his healed leg.

Times Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Jeff Niemann felt great throwing a three-inning simulated game Friday and could start a rehab assignment the middle of next week.

Niemann, out since mid May with a broken fibula in his right leg, likely would need about four minor-league starts before rejoining the rotation.

He threw 45 pitches as OF Sam Fuld and INFs Will Rhymes and Sean Rodriguez stepped in as hitters. Manager Joe Maddon said pitching coach Jim Hickey reported that Niemann was "fantastic."

"It felt good," Niemann said. "(The injury) is really less and less in my mind each day, and I'm getting to think more about what we're doing on the mound and pitching and stuff like that. It's a great transition to not worry about how you feel instead of what you're doing."

Niemann did a full warmup, and he simulated sitting between innings to replicate a real game. As well as Niemann felt during bullpen sessions, he said seeing the reactions of hitters, and how they handled his pitches, gave him a "true knowledge of where you are and what you're doing."

And, of course, some ribbing.

"A few guys hit some balls kind of hard, so they let me know," Niemann said, smiling. "But, to my credit, that was when they knew what was coming."

Niemann said he still has to build strength and stamina, but he likely would do that in a rehab assignment, working his way up to 100 pitches.

"Everything is coming along like it should," he said.

LONGOria UPDATE: 3B Evan Longoria (partially torn left hamstring) went 0-for-4 with a strikeout and a walk Friday as the DH for Triple-A Durham, the sixth game in his rehab stint.

Maddon said Longoria had felt good after Thursday's game, and it's possible he could rejoin the Rays for the Jays series next week. "It sounds encouraging," Maddon said.

WILL THE WAY: INF Will Rhymes was recalled from Durham and likely will have a bench role. Maddon said he likes Rhymes' versatility, his ability to pinch-run and pinch-hit, pointing out he could get a spot start at second base. Rhymes, in his second stint with the Rays, took the roster spot of RHP Josh Lueke, who was called up as insurance for the bullpen Wednesday but sent back down.

JOHNNY BE GOOD: Though the Indians designated Johnny Damon, 38, for assignment, it would appear unlikely Tampa Bay would re-sign the former Ray, especially considering it could have two DHs by next week (Longoria and Luke Scott, who is still on the DL). But Maddon doesn't believe Damon is done. "I would bet somebody is going to pick him up," he said.

ON THE RISE: Hard-throwing prospect RHP Alex Colome allowed two hits and four walks over six shutout innings in his first start for Durham. He struck out four. It's possible Colome, promoted after going 8-3 with a 3.48 ERA at Double-A Montgomery, could be looked at as a potential bullpen option during September callups. Maddon said Colome has "heavy velocity with good other stuff."

"This guy could be very, very special; I love his arm," Maddon said. "He's different."

MINOR MATTERS: Rookie-level Princeton finally ended its marathon, 23-inning game with Pulaski with a four-run rally to win 12-9. The teams played 18 innings Thursday, then finished Friday.

MISCELLANY: Maddon said DH Jeff Keppinger rolled his right ankle during a second-inning slide but is fine. … The Rays say the "Bark in the Park" section for Sunday's game is sold out. … INF/OF Ben Zobrist and his wife, Julianna, will be at the Trop team store from noon to 2 today ($5 includes one autograph each and a copy of Julianna's new CD, Say It Now).

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Jeff Niemann completes simulated game outing with no trouble 08/03/12 [Last modified: Saturday, August 4, 2012 12:07am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze resigns over "inappropriate conduct"

    College

    OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze was at Jackson Country Club on Wednesday night, giving his yearly rah-rah speech about the Rebels' overcoming adversity and getting ready for the college football season.

    If Hugh Freeze hadn’t resigned, Ole Miss says it would have fired him for violating his contract’s moral turpitude clause.
  2. Fennelly: With playoff chase in high gear, it's time for Rays to make a move

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Thursday was an off-day for the Rays, who are coming off a solid western swing. I assume there was no rest for the tag-team Rays baseball brain trust of Matt Silverman, Erik Neander and Chaim Bloom, whose job it is to improve this team in advance of the trade deadline. They've done a good job …

    Evan Longoria is glad to see the Rangers coming to town: He’s batting .296 against them with 15 homers and 56 RBIs in 69 career games.
  3. 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)
  4. Good news for Rays on Steven Souza Jr. as MRI shows 'no damage' to hip

    Blogs

    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.
  5. Bucs raise prices for single tickets to marquee games

    Blogs

    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.