Friday, November 24, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays savor Game 162 anniversary

RECOMMENDED READING


CHICAGO — The Rays are trying as much as they can to stay in the present. But today's one-year anniversary of their Game 162 dramatics gave them cause to pause and reflect.

"It's a special day," 3B Evan Longoria said. "And it's going to be a special day for the rest of my life."

Certainly for Longoria, who hit the game-ending, wild-card-clinching 12th-inning homer that capped the comeback from the 7-0 eighth-inning deficit against the Yankees.

"It's such a hard day to really pinpoint one moment," he said. "I would say crossing home plate and just seeing the pure joy in the rest of my teammates' faces and kind of the 'unbelievableness' of the whole situation, if that's a word. Kind of the shock and awe factor of everyone's faces."

For manager Joe Maddon, the lasting memory is the emotional swings as the Rays fell behind and rallied, and the Red Sox took a lead and gave it up. "Within minutes you go from losing to winning to celebrating," he said. "It was really the most unusual baseball day I ever had. And the best in a lot of ways."

For others, it just was.

"We were out. We were done. And somehow we found a way to win," OF Desmond Jennings said. "It was crazy."

MEDICAL MATTERS: C Jose Molina said his strained right quad felt "a little bit better" but not well enough to return to action. He did not know when he would be ready. Molina planned to test it by running and simulating catching movements, but he said the chilly weather (60 degrees at game time) was a concern. The plan is to first have him available for short stints late in games.

CAREER OBJECTIVE: Bench coach Dave Martinez said he had no hard feelings after being a finalist but not the final choice for the Astros managerial job, which went to Nationals third-base coach Bo Porter.

Martinez, who was interviewed twice by Houston officials, got the word as the Rays were leaving Fenway Park late Wednesday. Though unsuccessful in interviews with the Indians, Blue Jays and Astros, Martinez said he is not discouraged.

"I know it's part of the job," he said. "Eventually I want to manage. If it was sooner, great. But just because I didn't get the Houston job doesn't mean I don't feel like I can manage. I know one day I'm going to manage, and when that opportunity arises it's going to be the right fit and everybody's going to be happy."

HELLY-NATION: RHP Jeremy Hellickson has pitched in 68 big-league games over two-plus seasons, but tonight will be his first against the White Sox.

The unfamiliarity, he said, can go both ways. "It's probably to both of our advantages," he said. "We've faced them four-five times, I've seen them play, I know what kind of guys they've got; that's a very good lineup. I've just got to go out there and do what I do."

Hellickson will have plenty of support, as 40 friends and relatives plan to make the six-hour drive from his native Des Moines, Iowa.

MISCELLANY: RHP Fernando Rodney broke Rafael Soriano's 2010 team record with his 46th save and lowered his ERA to 0.62. … Maddon won his 600th game, including 19 as interim manager of the Angels. … C Jose Lobaton got his second straight start in Molina's absence. … OF Sam Fuld walked as a pinch-hitter and felt good enough to stay in and run, his first action since straining his right hamstring Sept. 16. … An apparent second-inning run for the Rays was erased when the other umpires overruled 1B umpire Chad Fairchild's balk call with runners on first and third. … Rays pitchers Wednesday reached double digits in strikeouts for the 58th time, breaking the 2003 Cubs record.

Comments
Presenting the 2017 Sports Turkey of the Year

Presenting the 2017 Sports Turkey of the Year

Happy Turkey Day!Today is a day of tradition.The Macy’s parade. Turkey and stuffing. The Lions and Cowboys.And our annual "Turkey of the Year.’’It’s a tradition started by my former colleague at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the brilliant columnist P...
Published: 11/22/17
Updated: 11/23/17
Rays INF Matt Duffy has to say big goodbye to 27-pound cat Skeeter

Rays INF Matt Duffy has to say big goodbye to 27-pound cat Skeeter

When the Rays acquired INF Matt Duffy from the Giants during the 2016 season, we also heard about the giant and somewhat famous cat he had, an up-to-27-pounder named Skeeter.Duffy announced over the weekend on Instagram that the family had to have Sk...
Published: 11/21/17
Rays agonize over which prospects to protect on 40-man roster

Rays agonize over which prospects to protect on 40-man roster

ST. PETERSBURG — That the Rays went right up to Monday’s 8 p.m. deadline in deciding to add seven players to the 40-man roster, and that a couple they left off seem to be potential Rule 5 draft losses, was apparently a good thing."There’s always some...
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/21/17
UPDATE: RHP Brent Honeywell among 7 added to Rays 40-man roster

UPDATE: RHP Brent Honeywell among 7 added to Rays 40-man roster

UPDATE, 8:11: RHP Jose Mujica was an additional addition to the roster, beyond the six previously reported. Mujica, 21, was 14-8, 3.04 ERA in 27 starts between Class-A Charlotte and Double-A Montgomery.So among those left unprotected and potentially ...
Published: 11/20/17
Former Devil Ray Aubrey Huff among newcomers to Baseball Hall of Fame ballot

Former Devil Ray Aubrey Huff among newcomers to Baseball Hall of Fame ballot

Aubrey Huff isn't going to make the Baseball Hall of Fame.But at least the former Devil Rays standout has the satisfaction of making the cut to get onto the ballot, one of 19 first-timers up for election this year.Other newcomers with Rays ties are O...
Published: 11/20/17
Topkin: As Rays start dealing, how far will they go?

Topkin: As Rays start dealing, how far will they go?

After collecting intelligence at last week’s GM meetings, the Rays soon will launch their offseason mission of trading at least a couple of veterans to reduce payroll.The question is how far they will go — how many players they deal, and how big of n...
Published: 11/18/17
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