Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays' Sean Rodriguez punches locker, breaks hand in minors

ARLINGTON, Texas — Though sent down to Triple A for a short stint until Saturday's roster expansion, INF Sean Rodriguez still figured to get considerable playing time for the Rays in September and possibly the playoffs.

But Rodriguez's season may be over after he fractured his right hand punching a locker in frustration following Sunday's game at Durham.

"Definitely the dumbest thing I've ever done," Rodriguez said by phone.

The extent of the fracture, and length of Rodriguez's absence, should be known today after an exam in St. Petersburg by team hand specialist Dr. Doug Carlan.

Rodriguez said he is confident the break, which showed up on an X-ray, is not severe since he has been able to move his hand, and he hopes to be able to return to action soon.

"I'm hoping I'm ready in a week," Rodriguez said. "I don't think it's as bad as it seems."

Rays manager Joe Maddon didn't know all the details but sounded disappointed while talking about Rodriguez's potential role following his planned Saturday recall.

"It was all set up and everything was there," Maddon said. "It's just unfortunate this happened. Especially against left-handed pitchers, he's a big part of what we do here. Maybe it's not as bad as I'm hearing, but then again it could be and he may end up missing the rest of the season. I'm just not sure."

Rodriguez refused to say what prompted the uncharacteristic outburst, only that it involved a comment made after the game by a teammate, whom he would not identify. Rodriguez had had a good day, going 2-for-4 including a home run off the bull above the leftfield fence to win a steak dinner for himself and a fan.

"I didn't want it to escalate, so I took my frustration out this way," he said. "It was a bad idea."

NIEMANN READY: RHP Jeff Niemann rejoined the Rays, saying his right hand felt "10 times" better than it did Saturday when he was struck by a line drive during his fourth and final rehab start.

Niemann, out since mid May when he was struck by a line drive that broke his right leg, is planning to throw a bullpen session today, and if all goes well he will be cleared to return to active duty, though he won't be activated until Saturday.

Given how frustrated and concerned he was last Saturday night waiting for the X-ray results, Niemann didn't mind waiting a little longer.

"Right now I'm happy my hand feels good and I'm able to throw a baseball," he said. "I feel ready to go."

Maddon said the Rays were still working on a plan to get Niemann involved, though he made it clear RHP Alex Cobb will keep his rotation spot. "He's going to start," Maddon said.

Also, they've decided at this point to keep the rotation in order, with Cobb starting Wednesday, LHP Matt Moore Thursday and RHP Jeremy Hellickson Friday, all on an extra day's rest thanks to Sunday's day off. That could line Niemann up to pitch Saturday and allow LHP David Price and RHP James Shields to also get an extra day's rest. Maddon said part of the discussion is setting the rotation up for the rest of the month.

LINING UP: With the Rangers starting LHP Derek Holland, Maddon wanted as many right-handed batters as he could, so fielded a somewhat unusual — well, relatively — lineup, keeping Evan Longoria in the DH spot and using Jeff Keppinger at first and Elliot Johnson at third, his first start there since May 1. Longoria is set to be at third tonight with Luke Scott at DH vs. RHP Yu Darvish.

MISCELLANY: Double-A Montgomery C Mayo Acosta was put on the DL after his right ankle was fractured in a home plate collision Sunday. … Short-season Class A Hudson Valley had a nine-game winning streak snapped Monday.

Comments
Rays reinstate discount pizza promotion with Papa John’s after corporate action

Rays reinstate discount pizza promotion with Papa John’s after corporate action

The Rays reinstated the discount pizza promotion with Papa John's based on actions taken by corporate officials after the ouster of founder John Schnatter following reports he used a racial slur.The Rays had suspended the promotion, which offers half...
Updated: 21 minutes ago
MLB: Brewers’ Josh Hader must take sensitivity training after tweets

MLB: Brewers’ Josh Hader must take sensitivity training after tweets

WASHINGTON — Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Josh Hader will be required to go through sensitivity training after years-old racist and homophobic tweets of his resurfaced during the All-Star Game, Major League Baseball said Wednesday. MLB announced that th...
Updated: 1 hour ago
MLB player poll: Rays (and Marlins) fans are ‘the worst’

MLB player poll: Rays (and Marlins) fans are ‘the worst’

Rays fans and Tropicana Field are routinely ripped by media and out-of-towners, and the usual defense is the critics don't really know what they're talking about.Well, now the major-league players have spoken.Or at least some of them.Rays fans shared...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Record 10 homers as AL wins All-Star Game, 8-6, in 10 innings

Record 10 homers as AL wins All-Star Game, 8-6, in 10 innings

WASHINGTON — A record 10 home runs . A slew of strikeouts. The all-or-nothing All-Star Game mirrored what baseball has become. Astros teammates Alex Bregman and George Springer homered on consecutive pitches to begin the 10th inning, and the American...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Blake Snell’s All-Star debut

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Blake Snell’s All-Star debut

The Rays' Blake Snell makes his All-Star debut with a memorable first pitch, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says he likes the Rays' new stadium plans, and there is controversy at the Home Run Derby.Plus, Florida head coach Dan Mullen says the Gators ha...
Updated: 7 hours ago
All-Star morning after: On Blake Snell’s opening act

All-Star morning after: On Blake Snell’s opening act

Willson Contreras had seen Rays lefty Blake Snell before.Five times over two 2017 games, and at least a couple of times in 2015 when they were both playing at Double-A.So the Cubs catcher had a good idea what to expect when Snell threw his first pitc...
Updated: 8 hours ago
The Twitter controversy that marred All-Star Game

The Twitter controversy that marred All-Star Game

What had been a three-day feel-good All-Star celebration of baseball ended in some controversy on Tuesday night with Brewers reliever Josh Hader apologizing for a series of tweets from 2011-12 that contained racist, sexist and homophobic comments."Th...
Published: 07/18/18
MLB commissioner Manfred confident Rays owner is ‘going to get’ stadium deal done

MLB commissioner Manfred confident Rays owner is ‘going to get’ stadium deal done

WASHINGTON – Acknowledging both the challenges and urgency to work out a public-private financing plan, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred on Tuesday expressed extreme confidence in Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg to make a de...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Blake Snell settles down after giving up homer in All-Star Game

Blake Snell settles down after giving up homer in All-Star Game

WASHINGTON — Blake Snell's first All-Star experience started with, well, a bang.The first pitch the Rays left-hander threw, a 98 mph fastball, was knocked over the leftfield wall by Cubs catcher Willson Contreras.Snell seemed a bit unsettled in...
Published: 07/17/18
Updated: 07/18/18
All-Star Game journal: Injured Wilson Ramos enjoys experience

All-Star Game journal: Injured Wilson Ramos enjoys experience

WASHINGTON — A strained hamstring kept Rays C Wilson Ramos from playing in Tuesday's All-Star Game, but not enjoying the experience of being there.Ramos, who played seven seasons with the Nationals, seemed to be cheered at every turn. Fans did ...
Published: 07/17/18