Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Veteran closer Isringhausen pleased to still be in running for Tampa Bay Rays bullpen job

PORT CHARLOTTE — RHP Jason Isringhausen came to camp with the Rays for a chance, and he's pleased with opening day less than two weeks away to still have one.

Isringhausen, 36, worked another inning Wednesday, allowing a run on two hits and a stolen base, giving him a 4.50 ERA through four outings. He is making a slight adjustment to his delivery and throwing more changeups, and most importantly he said his arm — having undergone September elbow surgery — feels good.

"I'm just trying to stick around," he said. "I look around and the place is dwindling, and I'm still here. Right now, no word is good word."

The Rays face a tough decision with the former All-Star closer, who said he is unlikely to accept any kind of assignment, even short term, to the minor leagues. "No. … I don't believe so. But that's right now," he said. "I'd have to sit down and talk with everybody."

Though there isn't a specific clause in his contract, he said there is an understanding that the Rays won't "wait until the very last minute" to decide so he'd have time to catch on with another team.

"Everything's fine, and I'm happy with the way things are going," he said. "I'm healthy, and that's all I care about it."

DRIVE FOR FIVE: RHP Jeff Niemann had a solid outing (one run, five hits in four innings) as the competition for the fifth starter's spot comes to its conclusion, with RHP Jason Hammel starting Saturday.

"I still have no idea what's really going on," Niemann said. "I just knew I needed to go out there and throw strikes … and turn in a good one, and I feel pretty good about it."

Manager Joe Maddon did, too, praising Niemann for keeping his fastball down and having good command of his off-speed pitches. "That's what we were looking for, that kind of a performance," he said. "We're looking at them both and it's tough to really narrow it down. I like what Jeff did tonight and we'll see how Hammer comes out."

WELCOME BACKS: LHP J.P. Howell rejoined the Rays after a 3½-week World Baseball Classic stint with Team USA and got the final three outs, allowing one hit.

Howell said he enjoyed the WBC experience but was "glad to be back here and get this thing going."

3B Evan Longoria, who spent three days with the team, also returned, going 1-for-3 against the Pirates, and was hit by a pitch in the eighth to force in the go-ahead run in the 4-2 win.

2B Akinori Iwamura, who trained in Japan before the tournament, was expected to arrive in Port Charlotte late Wednesday and make his first game appearance Friday.

OUTFIELD ACTION: OF Matt Joyce, acquired from Detroit in the trade for RHP Edwin Jackson, made his outfield debut in the ninth Wednesday and marks his return to Lakeland tonight with a start in center. "I'm excited to see the guys," he said. "It should be fun."

Maddon likes what he has seen of Joyce, who was sidelined until last week with right leg tendinitis. "I want to see more of Matt,'' he said. "I think he looks exceptional at the plate right now. I'm really becoming enamored with his swing actually. We've got to see him on defense.''

MISCELLANY: The crowd of 6,771 was the Rays' seventh sellout. … RHP Matt Garza threw 91 pitches in a minor-league intrasquad game Wednesday morning; RHP Grant Balfour and LHP Brian Shouse worked two innings each. … CF B.J. Upton continues his rehab today by playing five innings in a minor-league game. … ESPN's Dick Vitale was in the house.

Veteran closer Isringhausen pleased to still be in running for Tampa Bay Rays bullpen job 03/25/09 [Last modified: Thursday, March 26, 2009 6:47am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. U.S. repeats as Solheim Cup champion


    WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Lexi Thompson set the tone by rallying from four holes down. The rest of the Americans took it from there and restored their dominance in the Solheim Cup

    Lexi Thompson, left, comes back from four holes down to halve the day’s first singles match with Europe’s Anna Nordqvist to set the tone for the United States.
  2. Rays see the Blake Snell they've been waiting for in win over Mariners

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was a one-run game Sunday when the Mariners' Robinson Cano singled with one out in the seventh inning, bringing the dangerous Nelson Cruz to the plate.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) throwing in the third inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.
  3. Bucs journal: Demar Dotson (mild groin strain) expected back for opener


    TAMPA — The Bucs got good news Sunday on starting right tackle Demar Dotson, whose MRI exam showed only a mild right groin sprain and who should be back at practice next week.

    Tackle Demar Dotson has only a mild groin strain.
  4. Bucs counting on better health creating better pass rush


    TAMPA — Ask Bucs coaches about the improved depth and health of their defensive line, and they'll look around for a piece of wood to knock on.

    Retired All-Pro defensive end  Simeon Rice, right, the last Buc to have double-digit sacks in a season,  works with defensive end Ryan Russell, who last season was promoted from the practice squad for the second half of the year as injuries piled up. He is competing for a backup job this year.
  5. Rays journal: Jake Faria heads to DL with left abdominal strain

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Jacob Faria made the trek he didn't want to take after his last start. It was to the trainer's room. The pain in his left abdominal went from nagging to an issue during his start that night in Toronto.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jacob Faria (34) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 4, 2017.