Monday, April 23, 2018
Sports

Rays' Longoria misses party, hits homer

PORT CHARLOTTE — 3B Evan Longoria had to play Sunday while his fiancee Jaime Edmondson hosted a birthday party at the Charlotte Sports Park for their recently turned 1-year-old daughter Elle.

So Longoria created his own celebration, launching a long two-run homer to left in the Rays' first win of the spring, 6-3 over the Twins.

"I was sad that I couldn't make it," Longoria said. "I told her I've got a day job, somebody's got to work."

Longoria downplayed the homer, saying only "it's nice to get the first one out of the way," but he did note how good he felt playing five innings and getting two at-bats.

Manager Joe Maddon liked what he saw, noting how comfortable Longoria already appears at the plate and how smooth his swing is: "That's what he's supposed to look like," Maddon said.

MYERS RENEWED: After agreeing to terms with their other 20 pre-arbitration eligible players, the Rays renewed the contract of AL rookie of the year OF Wil Myers by their Sunday deadline.

The Rays typically stick to a firm pay scale for pre-arb players (those with fewer than three years), which based on previous years would extend from the $500,000 MLB minimum to around $520,000. By being renewed, Myers would get $5,000 less than offered. RHP Jeremy Hellickson also was renewed after winning the 2011 award.

Jeff Berry, the co-head of CAA Baseball, which reps Myers, said the renewal was a non-issue, simply part of the process.

"No hard feelings whatsoever," he said via text. "Wil is looking forward to the upcoming season."

Agreeing to terms were Ps Chris Archer, Jeff Beliveau, Brad Boxberger, Alex Cobb, Alex Colome, Brandon Gomes, Nathan Karns, Josh Lueke, Mike Montgomery, Jake Odorizzi, C.J. Riefenhauser, Enny Romero and Kirby Yates; INFs Tim Beckham, Vince Belnome, Logan Forsythe and Hak-Ju Lee; and OFs Brandon Guyer, Desmond Jennings and Kevin Kiermaier.

PITCHING IN: No. 2 starter Cobb had only a few complaints about his 36-pitch, 12/3-inning, three-strikeout spring debut, specifically that his fastball location could have been more consistent. "A couple pitches I got away with down the middle that normally wouldn't happen in the regular season," he said.

Maddon had no issues: "Cobb was fantastic, great movement on the pitches."

RHP Grant Balfour made his first appearance since re-signing with the Rays, throwing 12 pitches in a 1-2-3 inning, working at 89-91 mph. "That's a perfect outing for me, four pitches to three guys," he said. "I'll take that every time."

GAME DETAILS: Two-out singles by CF Desmond Jennings and LF David DeJesus, a throwing error and Longoria's homer put the Rays up 3-0 in the third. … SS Yunel Escobar had two hits for his second straight game, noticeably pulling the ball more than last year. … Non-roster INF Jerry Sands, who had two doubles previously, homered Sunday. "You watch him in BP, he's been hitting balls into the trees," Maddon said. … The Rays played a third straight error-free game. … Twins INF Brandon Waring hit the centerfield tiki bar with a homer off RHP Santiago Garrido.

MISCELLANY: 2B Ben Zobrist (back) was cleared to make his spring debut today and should play three innings. … RHP Roberto Hernandez, who pitched for the Rays last season, starts against them today for Philadelphia.

Comments
Lightning Round 2 playoff tickets on sale Monday

Lightning Round 2 playoff tickets on sale Monday

Single-game tickets for the Lightning's Eastern Conference semifinal series go on sale to the general public at 1 p.m. Monday at nhl.com/lightning/tickets.The Lightning plays the winner of the Bruins-Maple Leafs series. Game 6 of that series is Monda...
Updated: 1 hour ago
How Baker Mayfield can benefit the Bucs

How Baker Mayfield can benefit the Bucs

TAMPA — The buzz surrounding this year's NFL draft is a class of talented quarterbacks deep enough to challenge the record six taken in the first round in 1983, a group that included future Hall of Famers John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino.Th...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Andrei Vasilevskiy and the universal language of playoff hockey

Andrei Vasilevskiy and the universal language of playoff hockey

TAMPA — As usual, Andrei Vasilevskiy didn't speak in front of the cameras after the game. He has been like that since he hit the NHL. He still isn't comfortable with his English on TV.But Vasilevskiy spoke loudly and clearly in the first-round ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays are suddenly swinging hot bats, but will it last?

Rays are suddenly swinging hot bats, but will it last?

ST. PETERSBURG — Good pitching and hitting go hand in glove, but the Rays did not look like a team that could swing the bats very well until this completed homestand.In their series sweep over the Twins, Tampa Bay scored 8, 10 and 8 runs. ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Jimmy Butler leads Timberwolves against team he loved

Jimmy Butler leads Timberwolves against team he loved

MINNEAPOLIS — All-Star forward Jimmy Butler comes across as the proudest former resident in the history of tiny Tomball, Texas. What he doesn't advertise in his Twitter biography, but also doesn't dispute, is that he grew up dreaming of becomin...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rick Stroud’s takeaways from Rays-Twins

Rick Stroud’s takeaways from Rays-Twins

–Yonny Chirinos may be the Rays fourth starter, but it seems to be in name only. He was lifted after pitching 4 2/3 innings against the Twin on Sunday, the shortest start of his career and his second-shortest appearance.  "Going into the g...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Monday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYAutosIndyCar: Grand Prix of AlabamanoonNBCSNBaseballAutosIndyCar: Grand Prix of AlabamanoonNBCSNTwins at Yankees7 p.m.ESPNMarlins at Dodgers10 p.m.FSFCollege softballTennessee at Alabama7 p.m.SECLouisville at Florida State7 p.m.ESPNUNBA playoffs...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rays’ Carlos Gomez hits two-run walkoff homer to beat Twins for series sweep

Rays’ Carlos Gomez hits two-run walkoff homer to beat Twins for series sweep

ST. PETERSBURG — With every swing, there is a chance Carlos Gomez is going to do something extraordinary with the baseball bat.He may swing so violently that he spins himself into the ground as if he were an oil drill. Or, you could see him sna...
Updated: 4 hours ago
District softball schedules for Tampa Bay

District softball schedules for Tampa Bay

Class 9A-8 (higher seed hosts)Tuesday: No. 3 Alonso at No. 2 Palm Harbor University, 4; No. 4 Sarasota Riverview at No. 1 Newsome, 7Thursday: Final, 4 or 7 (depending on who hosts)Class 8A-4 at Strawberry Crest Tuesday: No. 1 Wharton vs. No. 4 Wiregr...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Ex-NFL kicker Jay Feely apologizes for ‘joke’ gun photo

Ex-NFL kicker Jay Feely apologizes for ‘joke’ gun photo

Former NFL kicker Jay Feely, who was born in Odessa and starred at Tampa Jesuit, has apologized for a photo he intended as a joke, showing him holding a gun as he poses with his daughter and her prom date."Wishing my beautiful daughter and her date a...
Updated: 10 hours ago