Thursday, January 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Zobrist's throw home big play in Rays' win

ARLINGTON, Texas — RF Ben Zobrist figured he had a shot at throwing out Adrian Beltre as Beltre tried to tag up and score in the eighth, and as C Jose Lobaton waited for the ball, there was a little voice telling him it could happen.

"I heard (Joel) Peralta saying, 'You got a chance, you got a chance,' and that helped me a lot," Lobaton said.

Zobrist's throw was just about perfect, allowing Lobaton to make the tag and Peralta to hold the 2-0 lead. Peralta showed his appreciation by waiting for Zobrist near third base, and LHP David Price showed his with a two-handed high-10 in the dugout.

"It feels great," Zobrist said. "It's unbelievable, especially in a big situation when we're trying to prevent runs. … It was exciting, And it warmed me up just a little bit."

EVAN ON THE MOVE: Maddon moved Evan Longoria up to his preferred spot of third in the order in the hope he'd get better pitches to hit with Zobrist behind him.

Maddon also gave Longoria a partial break by using him at DH rather than at third in advance of today's off day, part of a plan to keep him rested in hopes of avoiding leg problems that have sidelined him in the past.

"Just trying to be proactive with the whole thing and not waiting for something bad or a warning sign that makes you want to do it or have to do it," Maddon said.

NIEMANN UPDATE: RHP Jeff Niemann had what the team termed successful surgery, with Dr. Keith Meister debriding (cleaning up) Niemann's labrum and rotator cuff. Niemann said Tuesday an optimistic timetable was a 9- to 12-month recovery, and the Rays said Wednesday he is not expected to pitch again this season. Niemann remains under Rays control, and arbitration eligible, for next season.

MINOR DEAL: C Juan Apodaca was acquired from the Rangers for cash considerations and will provide depth at Triple-A Durham behind starter Chris Gimenez.

Apodaca, 26, has played 10 years in the minors with a half-dozen organizations and has yet to spend a full season at Triple A. He was in big-league camp with the Rangers and has been on the DL with a forearm strain, though he should be ready in a few days.

Apodaca essentially lost his job with the Rangers' Triple-A team when they acquired C Robinson Chirinos from the Rays on Monday. The deals are separate, however, and the Rays are still owed a player to be named or cash for Chirinos.

MEDICAL MATTERS: DH Luke Scott continued his rehab from a right calf strain, running in the outfield, in wet 38-degree temps, before the game, and said he hopes to advance to running the bases Friday in Boston. … OF Matt Joyce said he was sore after sustaining "a little whiplash" diving for a ball Tuesday but could have played.

MISCELLANY: The game was delayed 89 minutes due to rain, and it was 39 degrees at first pitch. … Unexplained technical issues knocked out the Sun Sports telecast for DirectTV and Comcast cable customers at least in some markets. … Today is the Rays' only off day in a 27-day stretch to open the season.

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