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Marc Topkin, Times Staff Writer

Marc Topkin

Marc Topkin has covered baseball for the Times since 1987 — from the lengthy effort to secure a team, to the awarding of the Tampa Bay franchise in 1995, and through each of the Rays seasons starting in 1998. He has traveled throughout the United States with the team, as well as to Canada, Venezuela, Mexico and Japan, and has covered All-Star Games and the World Series, as well as Super Bowls and the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece.

Phone: (727) 893-8801


Blog: The Heater

Twitter: @TBTimes_Rays

  1. No TV, so follow our live coverage of this afternoon's Rays-Royals game

    The Heater

    After Monday's postponement due to severe weather in Kansas City, the Rays and Royals will play twice today, at 2:10 and 8:10 p.m. ET.

    The first game will not be shown on television.

    The rainout caused the Rays to further shuffle their pitching plans. Lefthanded pitcher Matt Moore, who was to pitch Tuesday night, will now start the matinee. Righty Matt Andriese is being called up from Triple-A Durham, under the 26th man rule for doubleheaders, and will start the night game....

    Lefthanded pitcher Matt Moore, who was to pitch Tuesday night, will now start the matinee. [WILL VRAGOVIC | Times]
  2. For starters, Rays at Royals, twice, with Jaso back


    UPDATE, 11:07: The Rays have indeed activated John Jaso from the 60-day DL, and placed OF Steven Souza Jr. on the 15-day DL. To make room for Jaso on the 40-man roster, RHP Preston Guilmet was desigated for assignment.

    DEVELOPING: After Monday's postponement due to severe weather in Kansas City, the Rays and Royals will play twice today, at 2:10 and 8:10 (Tampa Bay time).

    The rainout caused the Rays to further shuffle their pitching plans. LHP Matt Moore, who was to pitch Tuesday night, will now start the matinee. RHP Matt Andriese is being called up from Triple-A Durham, under the 26th man rule for doubleheaders, and will start the night game. RHP Alex Colome, who was to start Monday night, was bumped to the bullpen, where he was headed anyway with RHP Jake Odorizzi slated to come off the DL and start Saturday....

  3. Rays rainout brings Matt Andriese up for spot start

    The Heater

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Heavy Monday storms which included tornado warnings and caused an evacuation of Kauffman Stadium forced the Rays and Royals into double duty today.

    The teams will play a day-night doubleheader (2:10 and 8:10 p.m.) to make up for the postponement, opting to play two today given the potential for more rain Wednesday and Thursday.

    To accommodate the change, the Rays shuffled their pitching plans, bumping RHP Alex Colome, who was to start Monday, to the bullpen and summoning RHP Matt Andriese from Triple-A Durham, under the 26th man rule for doubleheaders, to start the night game. LHP Matt Moore, who was to start tonight, will work the matinee — in part to allow Andriese time to travel from Durham....

    Matt Andriese arrives today for a spot start as a 26th player, allowed in a doubleheader under major-league rules.
  4. Rays pitchers Chris Archer, Brad Boxberger named AL All-Stars


    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Brad Boxberger didn't really have an idea why pitching coach Jim Hickey summoned him to manager Kevin Cash's office Monday afternoon, wondering if given the forecast for heavy rain — which eventually wiped out the game — maybe they were toying with having him start.

    But then when Chris Archer walked in a moment later, Boxberger's mind started racing a different direction....

    Rays starter Chris Archer was named to the AL All-Star team for the first time.
  5. Rays-Royals doubleheader preview


    Rays at Royals

    When/where: Two games, 2:10 and 8:10 p.m.; Kansas City, Mo.

    TV/radio: Sun Sports (Game 2 only); 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Game 1 Probable pitchers

    RAYS: LH Matt Moore (0-0, 7.71)

    ROYALS: RH Chris Young (7-4, 2.64)

    On Moore: Makes 2nd start since returning from April 2014 Tommy John surgery, working into fifth vs. Cleveland on Thursday. Is 0-2, 5.29 vs. Royals, including last start before surgery....

    HOUSTON, TX - JULY 01:  Edinson Volquez #36 of the Kansas City Royals waits on the mound in the first inning during their game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on July 1, 2015 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) 538585545
  6. Rays Archer and Boxberger are both All-Stars


    Not only did Chris Archer make the American League All-Star team, but reliever Brad Boxberger will be joining him in Cincinnati for the Juy 14 game.

    Archer was elected in the vote of American League players. Boxberger was one of three relievers appointed by AL/Royals manager Ned Yost.

    Archer, who will be a candidate to start the game, said: "There's no words to describe how special this is.''...

    Chris Archer was elected in the vote of American League players.
  7. Rays-Royals postponed, DH on Tuesday


    Monday's Rays-Royals game was postponed due to extensive storms that rolled through the Kansas City area, including tornado warnings that led to a partial evacuation of Kauffman Stadium.

    The teams will play a split doubleheader on Tuesday, with games at 2:10 and 8:10 Tampa Bay time.

    LHP Matt Moore will pitch the first game, against Royals RHP Chris Young, and RHP Matt Andriese will be called up from Durham as the 26th man to start Game 2, against RHP Edinson Volquez....

    Kansas City Royals first base coach Rusty Kuntz watches as heavy rain falls before Monday's scheduled game against the Rays.
  8. For starters, Rays at Royals - weather permitting


    UPDATE, 6:29: Thougth it is raining heavily and storm warnings have been issued, Royals manager Ned Yost said a few minutes ago they are confident the bad weather will blow through and they will at least start the game. ... OF Steven Souza Jr. said a specialist confirmed there was no break nor tendon damge in his right pinky and he was available at least to run and play defense tonight, but it might be a couple days before they know for sure that he won't end up on the DL. ... And with John Jaso (bruised wrist) playing potentially his last rehab game at Durham tonight, it would seem possible Jaso could join the Rays as soon as Tuesday and take Souza's place. .... 1B Marc Krauss, who played four games for the Rays and then was sent to Durham and designated for assignment, was claimed off waivers by Detroit....

    The Rays will send Alex Colome to the mound tonight in what could be his last start as Jake Odorizzi is lined up to take his spot on Saturday.
  9. Rays' Steven Souza Jr. suffers gash on pinky

    The Heater

    NEW YORK — Though initial X-rays were negative, OF Steven Souza Jr. headed to Kansas City concerned about his right pinky that was gashed badly enough to require stitches when he was hit by a Bryan Mitchell pitch in the eighth of Sunday's win over the Yankees.

    "I can't really bend it too well right now," Souza said. "I'm hoping I wake up (today) and it feels a little better. I don't have much feeling in my pinky right now, which is kind of a worry for us."...

    Steven Souza Jr. gets tended to after being hit on his right hand by a pitch, injuring his pinky.
  10. Rays-Royals preview


    Rays at Royals

    When/where: 8:10 tonight; Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Mo.

    TV/radio: Sun Sports; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Probable pitchers

    RAYS: RH Alex Colome (3-4, 4.70)

    ROYALS: RH Edinson Volquez (8-4, 3.48)

    On Colome: Rays have lost his past eight starts, are 3-10 overall. Coming off seven-inning, 104 pitch outing vs. Indians, allowing five runs, fourth time of five or more. Has never faced Royals....

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 26: Pitcher Alex Colome #37 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait at Charlotte Sports Park during photo day on February 26, 2014 in Port Charlotte, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
  11. Souza has some concern over bruised, cut finger


    Though initial x-rays were negative, OF Steven Souza Jr. said he has some concern over his right pinkie, which was bruised and cut after being hit by a pitch in the eighth inning.

    Souza said he received three stitches in a cut that was so deep he could see the tendon, and had no feeling in the finger as he was getting dressed after the game.

    Souza said he will see a specialist in Kansas City on Monday. For now he is day to day....

  12. Rays rout Yankees, snap seven-game losing skid (w/video)

    The Heater

    NEW YORK — What is usually a rollicking celebration of a victory was even a little more raucous in the Rays clubhouse Sunday afternoon. Pitbull's Don't Stop the Party blared from the speakers, veteran David DeJesus paraded through the room banging his cymbals, and James Loney, though without the saxophone he usually blows, was at the focus of the festivities.

    "It was loud today, as it needed to be," catcher Curt Casali said. "We had to make up for the last seven days, so we had to make it pretty loud."...

    New York Yankees' Ivan Nova's errant throw skips away from Yankees third baseman Chase Headley, left, as Tampa Bay Rays' Curt Casali, right, and umpire Gabe Morales, center, react in the fifth inning of a baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, Sunday, July 5, 2015. Casali scored on the error. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) NYY107
  13. Rays end 7-game skid with easy 8-1 win over Yankees


    Breaking a seven-game losing streak was actually pretty easy for the Rays on Sunday.

       All they needed to beat the Yankees 8-1 was a solid six-inning start by Erasmo Ramirez, a few early runs, some sloppy play by the pinstripers and some rare no-stress relief work.

      Plenty had been going wrong for the Rays (43-41) as they lost seven straight and 11 of 13 games, five in the ninth inning or later.

       But Sunday they played a relatively crisp game.

       Ramirez walked three in the first two innings and dropped a throw at first that cost him an out, but settled into an impressive groove, allowing only one hit through the first five innings and his only run on a leadoff homer to Alex Rodriguez in the sixth.

       The Rays strung together three straight hits to get two runs in the first, James Loney picking up the RBIs. Then they added on in the third when Kevin Kiermaier tripled - thanks to Yankees centerfielder Brett Gardner misjudging his line drive - and Curt Casali followed with a sac fly.

       The Rays took advantage of the Yankees botching a bunt play for a run in the fifth. And they benefitted from more Yankees miscues in the eighth, when they scored four runs on two hits, a check-swing infield single by Evan Longoria and a blooper than landed on the rightfield line by Logan Forsythe. The rest came courtesy of two errors (by Jose Pirela on the same play), two walks (one with the bases loaded) and a bit batter. Rightfielder Steven Souza Jr. was struck on the right hand and stayed in the game initially then left after the inning.

        The Rays continue their challenging stretch of games leading into the All-Star break by heading next to Kansas City, where they will have righthander Alex Colome on the mound Monday night facing Edinson Volquez.


  14. For starters, Rays at Yankees, looking for a break


    UPDATE, 12:19: Cash said Archer was "a no-brainer" to make the AL All-Star team and was "worthy" of being the starter.  ... Longoria needed "a day off his feet" so that is why he is DHing, and thus why neither Butler nor Sizemore is in the lineup. ... Jaso may spend only a few days at Durham (DH today, play LF Monday) as Cash said he "possibly" could join the team in KC. ... Asked about other Rays All-Star candidates, Cash mentioned Kiermaier (defense, speed), Forsythe (versatility), Jepsen (high leverage work), Boxberger (saves). ...  Though Casali is playing again today, Cash said Rivera will get the bulk of the work in Kansas City given how much the Royals run....

  15. Rays-Yankees preview

    The Heater

    Rays at Yankees

    When/where: 1:05 today; Yankee Stadium, New York

    TV/radio: Sun Sports; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Probable pitchers

    RAYS: RH Erasmo Ramirez (6-3, 4.01)

    YANKEES: RH Ivan Nova (1-1, 1.50)

    On Ramirez: Returned from groin strain with solid Tuesday outing vs. Indians, allowing one run over 52/3 IP. Has 2.18 ERA over past 18 games, season low overall. Is 1-0, 2.00 in four games vs. Yankees....