Thursday, December 14, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays: Rays need to get creative to assist injured 6-9 Jeff Niemann; recent callups have travel adventures

Rays vs. Red Sox

When/where: 7:10 tonight; Tropicana Field

TV/radio: Sun Sports; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

Tickets: $17-275, available at Tropicana Field box office, Ticketmaster, raysbaseball.com, team Tampa store; $3 surcharge within 5 hours of game time.

Probable pitchers

Rays: RH Jeremy Hellickson (3-0, 2.95)

RED SOX: RH Clay Buchholz (4-1, 8.31)

On Hellickson: Despite inconsistencies, has won his past five decisions. Was better in last start Friday at Baltimore than previous outing (32/3 IP vs. Oakland). Is 2-1, 4.99 in six games vs. Red Sox.

On Buchholz: Has had a brutal season, allowing five or more earned runs in his first six starts and only three his last one (but didn't strike anyone out). Has been good vs. Rays, going 5-2, 2.38 in nine starts.

Key matchups

Rays VS. BUCHHOLZ

Carlos Peña 3-for-19, HR

Luke Scott5-for-22, 2 HRs

B.J. Upton 5-for-11, HR

RED SOX VS. HELLICKSON

A. Gonzalez 2-for-11, HR

David Ortiz 6-for-13, HR

Dustin Pedroia 3-for-13, HR

On deck

Thursday: vs. Red Sox, 7:10, Sun Sports. Rays — Matt Moore (1-3, 5.31), Red Sox — Felix Doubront (3-1, 4.46)

Friday: vs. Braves, 7:10, Sun Sports. Rays — James Shields (6-1, 3.52); Braves — Tommy Hanson (4-3, 3.43)

Saturday: vs. Braves, 4:10, Sun Sports. Rays — Chris Archer or Alex Cobb; Braves — Randall Delgado (2-3, 3.79)

Sunday: vs. Braves, 1:40, Sun Sports. Rays — David Price (6-2, 3.10); Braves — Tim Hudson (2-1, 3.96)

Marc Topkin, Times staff writer

Medical tales of the day

Rays head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield gets credit for, among other things, creativity, calling the NBA's Toronto Raptors to find special tall-sized crutches for 6-foot-9 Jeff Niemann to use. Until he did, Niemann was in a wheelchair at the team hotel, assisted by teammate/friend Will Rhymes. Rhymes, though, wasn't much of a wheelman, at one point rolling Niemann's bad foot into an elevator door. "Once he gets rolling he's hard to stop," Rhymes said.

Travel tales of the day

Stephen Vogt's flight from Rochester, N.Y., to Toronto on Monday was delayed three times and didn't land until nearly 7. He still had his sense of humor at customs: "I said I'm here to play baseball, and he said, 'Oh, for fun?' And I said yes, absolutely, for fun. And then I told him."

• RHP Josh Lueke was getting on the team bus at 4 a.m. Tuesday when Durham manager Charlie Montoyo told him to go back to bed because he had a later flight to Toronto. Lueke went right back to his same room. "That made it easy," he said. "They hadn't cleaned it yet."

38 Japanese media members in Durham for Hideki Matsui's first Triple-A game.

Comments
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