Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Trading places? Rays' Steve Pearce hopes not

ST. PETERSBURG — Based on contract status and performance, INF Steve Pearce is considered the Rays player most likely to be traded by Monday's deadline for nonwaiver deals, with the Indians among several interested teams.

But Pearce, a Lakeland native who joined the Rays on a one-year, $4.75 million deal, doesn't want to go anywhere.

"I hope not," Pearce said. "I like this team a lot. I have fun every day when I come here. … We've just been hit with injuries and bad luck all year. If you would've told me this would be our record in the middle of the year, I'd tell you you were crazy. There's no way our team is as bad as our record reflects. We have a really good team. I believe we still have a good team. We're going to have a good team in the future. And I hope I stay."

Pearce, though, is committed to the Rays only for this season. And with a .312 average and .912 on-base plus slugging percentage, and his hamstring injury and previous elbow soreness apparently behind him, Pearce could be a welcome addition to a team in the midst of a pennant race.

"I really enjoy showing up at the park here every day," he said. "We'll just have to see what happens. It's part of the game."

NO JAKING: Having been answering questions for two weeks about trade rumors, RHP Jake Odorizzi is — barring, well, a trade — looking forward to making tonight's start against the Yankees then getting past Monday's 4 p.m. deadline.

"Very much so," Odorizzi said. "The questions will be answered without having to ask us. I think everyone will be happy once that time is past so we can get back to some normal routines and all that good stuff.

"So I guess it can't get here quick enough from the sake of everyone continuing to ask and speculating. There won't be any more questions or speculation after that. And everyone will know what the final verdict will be."

Odorizzi, who has been traded before but during the offseason, said he has given up trying to guess what may happen or when. He and similarly speculated-on starters RHP Chris Archer, LHP Matt Moore and LHP Drew Smyly are in similar situations. RHP Erasmo Ramirez is considered another strong trade candidate.

"You can't really predict these type of things," Odorizzi said. "If you do, you are usually wrong, or they drive you crazy on top of that."

REHAB REPORT: RHP Brad Boxberger (oblique) could be activated as soon as tonight after making back-to-back outings for advanced Class A Charlotte at Jupiter. Boxberger has made just one appearance for the Rays this season between two long DL stints. … RHP Alex Cobb (Tommy John surgery) returns to minor-league game action tonight, pitching for the Stone Crabs at Brevard. Cobb made the second of two starts July 11 then came off his rehab assignment due to fatigue and mechanical issues and has been throwing bullpen and batting practice sessions. … OF Desmond Jennings (hamstring) was expected to return to action Thursday for the Stone Crabs after being scratched from his scheduled second rehab game Wednesday due to a stiff neck. … RHP Chase Whitley (Tommy John surgery) is slated for this third rehab start Saturday for the Crabs. … OF Mikie Mahtook (left hand fracture) has started swinging.

MISCELLANY: The Rays wives and girlfriends will hold their annual Mystery Ball fundraiser at Gates 1 and 5 Saturday, fans paying $40 for a ball signed by a current or former player, from the Rays and other teams, with proceeds to John Hopkins All Children's Hospital. … If the Rays are looking for more offense, C J.P. Arencibia came out of the All-Star break at Triple-A Durham hitting .396 with four homers in his first 11 games.

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