Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays trade for Phillies minor-league veteran Rich Thompson to add outfield depth

ST. PETERSBURG — With the Rays' centerfield depth depleted, they acquired speedy OF Rich Thompson from the Phillies on Wednesday for minor-league OF Kyle Hudson.

Thompson, 33, took the spot of OF Brandon Guyer, who was placed on the disabled list with a left shoulder strain. To make room on the 40-man roster, RHP Jeff Niemann (right fibula fracture) was moved to the 60-day disabled list, pushing his return date back to July 14.

Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman said they had to go outside the organization, with OF Desmond Jennings (left knee), OF Sam Fuld (right wrist) and Guyer all injured. Friedman said Thompson, who has spent most of his 13 professional seasons in the minors, fits the "true centerfielder" profile better than Triple-A options Jesus Feliciano and Jeff Salazar.

"Rich is a guy that his key attribute is his speed, and he uses it extremely well, both offensively and defensively," Friedman said.

Thompson, a left-handed hitter, has 442 stolen bases in his minor-league career and was batting .307 for Triple-A Lehigh Valley. As fast as Thompson is, it took him a long time to get back to the majors, his last exposure a six-game, one at-bat stint in 2004 with the Royals. He's the only nonpitcher since 1947 to record two outs with his only major-league swing, hitting into a double play.

Thompson, who joined the Rays during the game, told the Philadelphia Inquirer he got a phone call at 10:45 a.m. that he had a 1:45 p.m. flight to Florida. He entered the game as a pinch-runner in the eighth inning.

"It's awesome," he told the paper.

Friedman said Guyer first felt discomfort in his shoulder Sunday while swinging in the batting cage, and it was clear after a few days he needed some time off, sparking the trade. Guyer is the ninth Ray currently on the disabled list.

"We spent a lot of time in the offseason going through different scenarios and trying to ensure that we had the requisite number of depth in house," Friedman said. "And I think one thing we kind of overlooked in the offseason was, 'What if all these (injuries) happened at one time?' "

NO WORRIES: Though LHP Matt Moore's numbers say he's struggling, the touted rookie said he hasn't lost confidence and isn't far from where he wants to be.

"I feel good because there's a lot of at-bats in the games where they go my way and it's three pitches, four pitches and outs, and I'm having quick innings," Moore said. "It's just the last couple starts, I've had some crooked numbers up there, one or two big innings."

MEDICAL MATTERS: Manager Joe Maddon said 3B Evan Longoria (hamstring) took batting practice Wednesday. "He did feel good, and he swung the bat well without having any kind of negative feelings," Maddon said. Maddon said Longoria hasn't began to run yet, and he isn't sure of the return date. … C Jose Lobaton (shoulder soreness) had his rehab assignment moved to Double-A Montgomery, with Maddon saying he still has 7-10 days to go before rejoining the Rays.

RHP Kyle Farnsworth (elbow strain) said his rehab is going well, having recently played catch from 90 feet, and he could begin to throw off a mound in the next week.

MISCELLANY: DH/OF Hideki Matsui picked up his first hit for Triple-A Durham on Wednesday, an RBI double in going 2-for-4. … OF Matt Joyce will visit pediatric patients today at Tampa General Hospital at noon. … Maddon praised 2B/RF Ben Zobrist's work as leadoff hitter as "wonderful" but said Jennings will return atop the lineup when he gets back from the DL.

Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
For starters: Rays at Astros, with Kiermaier back and an ace-high matchup

For starters: Rays at Astros, with Kiermaier back and an ace-high matchup

UPDATE, 6:45: Cash said Smith will continue to play a lot, getting time in LF and RF, meaning something of a rotation system for rookie Johnny Field and veteran Carlos Gomez.UPDATE, 4:49: Kiermaier is batting leadoff and playing center as expected, w...
Updated: 9 minutes ago
So, how exactly did the Rays end up losing Monday?

So, how exactly did the Rays end up losing Monday?

The Rays lost Monday's game when Sergio Romo failed them in the ninth inning.Called on to protect what was whittled to a one-run lead from 4-0, Romo got off to a bad start, walking the first batter on four pitches and then allowing a single to the se...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays continue to struggle in close games

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays continue to struggle in close games

The Rays blow a four-run lead in Houston and lose on a walkoff hit to the Astros in the opener of their three-game series. It's the 19th one-run loss for the Rays this season as they continue to struggle in close games. Fortunately, reinforcements ar...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Rays DFA Rob Refsnyder to make room for Kevin Kiermaier

Rays DFA Rob Refsnyder to make room for Kevin Kiermaier

The Rays made official after Monday's game that CF Kevin Kiermaier would be activated on Tuesday.And to make room on the 40- and 25 man rosters, they designated for assignment OF Rob Refsnyder.Acquired from the Indians for cash considerations just be...
Published: 06/19/18
Rays journal: A 4-0 lead disappears in loss at Houston

Rays journal: A 4-0 lead disappears in loss at Houston

HOUSTON — The Rays brought up several of their top prospects so they can get as much experience as possible.And Monday that included seeing how the relentless defending champion Astros worked their way back from an early four-run deficit to sco...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/19/18
Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella pondered upside-down pitching in 2005

Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella pondered upside-down pitching in 2005

HOUSTON — Well before the idea of using a reliever to open games, as the Rays did against the Astros Monday for the 12th time, and then bringing in a starter was even a gleam in the eyes of the current Rays staff, former manager Lou Piniella wa...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/19/18
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Astros

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Astros

RHP Ryne Stanek continues to look comfortable and confident as the game opener, retiring all five batters he faced. His six starts now cover a complete game, and he has allowed only two runs in the nine innings.OF Carlos Gomez's feelings about not li...
Published: 06/18/18
For starters: Rays at Astros, trying to stop a streaking champion

For starters: Rays at Astros, trying to stop a streaking champion

UPDATE, 6:40: Cash said he had a good talk with Hechavarria, and that he understood the situation. Cash said Hechavarria will get to play some, and when he does it will be at short. … RHP Chris Archer (abdominal strain) is slated to throw a bul...
Published: 06/18/18
Kevin Kiermaier set to rejoin Rays Tuesday

Kevin Kiermaier set to rejoin Rays Tuesday

CF Kevin Kiermaier is here in Houston and will work out with the Rays today, and said that if all goes well he will be activated on Tuesday.That would be a couple days ahead of his most recent timetable, which had him slated to return to Friday.Kierm...
Published: 06/18/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays drop three of four in New York

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays drop three of four in New York

The Rays lose three of four games in New York as Rick Stroud says they fail to figure out the Yankees' pitching. With Christian Arroyo injured, they activate Adeiny Hechavarria — one of the stars of Sunday's win — from the disabled list a...
Published: 06/18/18