Saturday, November 18, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays plan on contribution from Jose Lobaton

RECOMMENDED READING


ST. PETERSBURG — C Jose Lobaton rejoined the Rays on Monday — and was back in the starting lineup — after a longer-than-expected stint on the disabled list.

Lobaton is confident the soreness in his right shoulder, which forced him to miss 41 games, is behind him. C Chris Gimenez was optioned to Triple-A Durham to make room.

"I was thinking in the beginning it was going to be short, like a week," Lobaton said. "Now it feels like it was a year. But I'm happy to be back, and try to help the team."

As the designated hitter in Monday's loss, Lobaton had a run-scoring single, his first career RBI.

The Rays have wanted to get an extended look at the 28-year-old rookie switch-hitter, but injuries late last season and in April have hampered his ability, with Monday just his 28th career game.

"We've just got to get him out there on a more consistent basis, get him comfortable and take advantage of that here," manager Joe Maddon said. "That's the (reputation), that he hits the ball hard, so it's going to be about getting at-bats and staying healthy."

CATCHING ON: Maddon was impressed with what Gimenez showed in his 29-game stint with the Rays, saying they just wanted him to work on his proficiency offensively, especially situational hitting (bunting, etc).

Gimenez hit .191 with four RBI, but Maddon pointed out he looked better defensively than he did in spring training.

"He did a really good job," Maddon said. "He had a lot of energy, and pitchers really liked to throw to him. He represented himself well, he's great in the clubhouse, a really strong makeup guy."

LINING UP: Maddon said with Monday's White Sox starter, Chris Sale, a tough lefty, he didn't start left-handed hitters Carlos Peña, Matt Joyce and Luke Scott, knowing Chicago starts another lefty, Jose Quintana, on Wednesday. Maddon wanted to rest the trio, and thought they'd be good pinch-hitting options late in the game (all three had an at-bat Monday).

The unique lineup led to INF Drew Sutton making his first big-league start at first base. Sutton played 31 minor-league games at first, as well as five previous games in the majors.

Sutton said the key is more situational things like where he needs to be in cutoffs and bunt plays.

"He's very comfortable every place we've put him," Maddon said.

Sutton has started six of the Rays' seven games since being acquired May 20 from the Pirates.

"To be honest, I didn't expect to be playing this much when I came up here," Sutton said. "It's a good surprise."

MEDICAL MATTERS: It looks as though OF Desmond Jennings (left knee sprain) may not return until late next week at the earliest. Maddon said Jennings would likely need a week-long rehab assignment, which could start Wednesday or Thursday. Maddon said he was encouraged Monday when Jennings "moved easily" during outfield drills and used a long stride while running arcs. The next step is running the bases and sliding.

RHP Kyle Farnsworth (right elbow strain) threw 25 pitches, all fastballs, Monday in a bullpen session. Farnsworth was pleased he was able to repeat his delivery, and finish his pitches, something Maddon felt were good signs. Farnsworth will throw 30 pitches Wednesday, mixing in his cutter, and is still targeting a return the third week of June.

MISCELLANY: CF B.J. Upton snapped his career-long 10-game hitting streak by going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
Rocco Baldelli’s promotion on Rays coaching staff now makes him major league field coordinator

Rocco Baldelli’s promotion on Rays coaching staff now makes him major league field coordinator

The Rays completed the reorganization of their coaching staff by giving Rocco Baldelli the title of major league field coordinator.In being promoted from first-base coach, Baldelli will implement ideas and information from the staff, while assisting ...
Published: 11/17/17
Rays hope to cash in on Alex Cobb leaving

Rays hope to cash in on Alex Cobb leaving

LAKE BUENA VISTA — The Rays were banking on pitcher Alex Cobb declining their one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer based on the lure of a longer-term and more lucrative deal elsewhere as a free agent.With that decision official Thursday, now the ...
Published: 11/16/17
Commissioner Rob Manfred likes Ybor City stadium site, but must see more support to keep baseball in Tampa Bay

Commissioner Rob Manfred likes Ybor City stadium site, but must see more support to keep baseball in Tampa Bay

LAKE BUENA VISTA — MLB commissioner Rob Manfred didn’t want to talk Thursday about what might happen if the current effort to build the Rays a new stadium at the Ybor City site falls through."I’m more focused on working with the community to figure o...
Published: 11/16/17
A message to Rays fans from Alex Cobb

A message to Rays fans from Alex Cobb

Here is a message from RHP Alex Cobb after he officially left the Rays Thursday in declining their one-year, $17.4-milllion qualifying offer to seek a bigger and longer pact elsewhere:"Getting to this point in my career is truly bittersweet."Twelve y...
Published: 11/16/17
UPDATE: Rays to gain draft pick for loss of free agent pitcher Alex Cobb

UPDATE: Rays to gain draft pick for loss of free agent pitcher Alex Cobb

UPDATE, 5:01: Cobb did not accept the offer by the deadline, as expected.DEVELOPING: Sometime before today's 5 p.m. deadline, the Rays will get official word that their $17.4-million slight gamble on Alex Cobb paid off.The Rays made the free-agent ri...
Published: 11/16/17
As he prepares to leave the Rays, how will you remember Alex Cobb?

As he prepares to leave the Rays, how will you remember Alex Cobb?

Presuming Alex Cobb declines the Rays’ one-year, $17.4-million qualifying offer by 5 p.m. today, he has pitched his last game for Tampa Bay.Cobb has received preliminary interest from "lots of teams" already, agent Dan Horwits said. The Cubs and Twin...
Published: 11/16/17
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says progress must continue on new stadium to keep Rays

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says progress must continue on new stadium to keep Rays

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred made clear Thursday that identification of a site for a new Rays stadium is merely the first step for area leaders to show they want to keep the team long-term and that there needs to "consistent forward movement" on the ...
Published: 11/16/17
Sternberg: Tampa Bay Rays' share of new ballpark could be $150 million

Sternberg: Tampa Bay Rays' share of new ballpark could be $150 million

LAKE BUENA VISTA — Tampa Bay Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg said Wednesday that the team is "genuinely excited" about the proposed Ybor City site for a new stadium and more than "cautiously optimistic" the project can be completed. But ...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/16/17

Rays journal: No big deals at GM meetings, but possible groundwork laid

By MARC TOPKINLAKE BUENA VISTA — Rays officials left the GM meetings without making any big deals — such as trading Alex Colome or Chris Archer to the Cardinals — but more knowledgeable about the possibilities. "Expectations were to utilize these few...
Published: 11/15/17
Watch: Brandy Halladay’s emotional tribute to her late husband, Roy

Watch: Brandy Halladay’s emotional tribute to her late husband, Roy

For his wife, Brandy, Roy Halladay was so much more than a standout pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies.During a a celebration of life ceremony Tuesday at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Brandy remembered Halladay — who died Nov...
Published: 11/15/17