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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

Email: topkin@tampabay.com

Blog: The Heater

Twitter: @TBTimes_Rays


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  1. Rays hold on, edge Twins (w/ video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The most important part of the Rays' 5-4 win Thursday over the Twins was the way it ended.

    Because after they came back when Drew Smyly couldn't hold an early lead, and after they got a break from their home-dome advantage, after they took advantage of a couple of scoring opportunities and a Minnesota mistake, and after they got solid middle relief work, they had three outs to go and Brad Boxberger on the mound to get them....

    Rays shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera makes a diving stop but has no throw on a single by Brian Dozier.
  2. Rays' Jennings will remain out

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — OF Desmond Jennings will miss at least another two weeks as the Rays put him back on the disabled list due to continued problems with his left knee. Now the question is whether he will play again in what already has been a lost season.

    "Just from talking to him the last couple days I know he's frustrated with it and there's just some uncertainty," manager Kevin Cash said. "So I think our best thought was let's get him off his feet and see if 15 days of rest can help."...

    Outfielder Desmond Jennings continues to have problems with his left knee and will miss at least another two weeks.
  3. Rays-Royals Friday preview

    The Heater

    Rays vs. Royals

    When/where: 7:10 tonight, Tropicana Field

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

    Tickets: $7-200, available at Tropicana Field box office, Ticketmaster, raysbaseball.com, team Tampa store; $3 surcharge within 5 hours of game time.

    Promotion: Rays Rally 'Stache to all fans, presented by Dali Museum.

    Probable pitchers...

    Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Edinson Volquez (36) throws against the Cincinnati Reds during the first inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers) OHGL104
  4. Jennings back to DL, Butler called up

    Blog

    The Rays put OF Desmond Jennings back on the DL today with a bruised left knee and called up OF Joey Butler.

    Jennings played 10 games (hitting .353 with 1 homer and 5 RBIs) after coming off the DL following a 3 1/2 month absence due to a left knee injury that led to arthroscopic surgery. The new injury may not be related, as it is a bruise on a different part of the knee.

    Manager Kevin Cash said the thinking in putting him on the DL was to give him 15 two weeks to rest rather than a few and try to play and maybe miss more time. Cash said they expect him to be back this season....

    The Rays put OF Desmond Jennings back on the DL today with a bruised left knee.
  5. For starters, Rays vs. Twins, seeking to avoid a sweep

    Blog

    UPDATE, 5:20: The Rays went ahead and out Jennings back on the DL and called up Joey Butler. ... James Loney dropped his appeal and is serving his 1-game suspension tonight, conveniently against a lefty starter. .... Arencibia is starting tonight in part because Rivera is likely to play the next three days vs. the running Royals.

    Rays lineup:
    Guyer rf
    Nava 1b
    Longoria 3b
    Forsythe 2b
    Cabrera ss
    Butler lf
    Beckham DH
    Kiermaier cf
    Arencibia c
    Smyly p...

    Drew Smyly, who was much better in his second start since coming off the DL than his first, will be on the mound for the Rays.
  6. Rays call up Arencibia to replace injured Casali

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — C J.P. Arencibia knows plenty about the Rays, having faced them often during his three full seasons with the Blue Jays after his two-homer, four-hit 2010 debut.

    But now Arencibia has to get really familiar with the Rays' pitchers quite quickly. He was called up from Triple-A Durham on Wednesday to be at the least their backup catcher for the next 2-3 weeks with Curt Casali on the DL with a strained left hamstring....

    ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 14: Catcher Christian Bethancourt #25 of the Atlanta Braves looks on as J.P. Arencibia #7 of the Texas Rangers makes contact for a foul  during the fifth inning of a baseball game at Globe Life Park on September 14, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. Texas won 10-3.  (Photo by Brandon Wade/Getty Images)
  7. Rays continue to fade with another loss to Twins (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — This was the kind of late-season game the Rays had to win if they are planning to play in the postseason.

    Coming off a tough loss the night before, playing at home against a Twins team they are chasing for the second American League wild-card spot, starting All-Star ace Chris Archer against rookie Tyler Duffey, who began his season pitching against the Rays' Double-A Montgomery team and was making only his fourth big-league appearance....

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) on the mound in the second inning of the game between the Minnesota Twins and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, August 26, 2015.
  8. Rays-Twins preview

    The Heater

    Rays vs. Twins

    When/where: 7:10 tonight; Tropicana Field

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

    Tickets: $7-200, available at Tropicana Field box office, Ticketmaster, raysbaseball.com, team Tampa store; $3 surcharge within 5 hours of game time.

    Probable pitchers

    RAYS: LH Drew Smyly (1-2, 3.42)

    TWINS: LH Tommy Milone (6-3, 3.73)...

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 27:  Drew Smyly #33 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a photo on photo day at Charlotte Sports Park on February 27, 2015 in Port Charlotte, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
  9. Rays Jake Odorizzi makes a friend at All Children's

    Blog

    As part of a Rays Kids Spirit Day, RHP Jake Odorizzi and OF Desmond Jennings on Wednesday visited patients at All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg. Odorizzi and 3-year-old Vance Upthegrove, shown above, hung out and played video games.  Upthegrove has eight Rays signed baseballs, inscribed with everything from "Get Well Soon!" to "Turtle Power!"

     

     

    Rays RHP Jake Odorizzi and 3-year-old  Vance Upthegrove
  10. Rays place Casali on DL and call up Arencibia; Jennings day to day

    Blog

    After an MRI confirmed a left hamstring strain, the Rays placed C Curt Casali on the DL Wednesday and called up J.P. Arencibia from Triple-A Durham.

    Casali, who has been one of the team's top home run hitters in the last month, is confident he will be out only 2-3 weeks and in no danger of missing the rest of the season.

    Arencibia, 29, has spent parts of five seasons in the majors, with the Blue Jays and Rangerr, and most of this season with the Bulls, hitting 22 home runs with a .227 average, 65 RBIs and a .702 OPS....

    Curt Casali, who has been one of the team's top home run hitters in the last month, is confident he will be out only 2-3 weeks and in no danger of missing the rest of the season.
  11. For starters, Rays vs. Twins, on Archer Day

    Blog

    Coming off Tuesday's tough loss to the Twins, the Rays take the field tonight with All-Star ace Chris Archer on the mound.

    Archer, coming off his one-hit, complete-game shutout in Houston is matched up against Twins rookie Tyler Duffey.

    The Rays will be without C Curt Casali, who was placed on the 15-day DL with a left hamstring strain and replaced by J.P. Arencibia, and OF Desmond Jennings, who is day to day with a bruised left knee....

    Chris Archer, coming off his one-hit, complete-game shutout in Houston is matched up against Twins rookie Tyler Duffey.
  12. James Loney gets 1-game suspension

    Blog

    Rays 1B James Loney has been suspended 1 game and fined an undisclosed amount as a result of making contact with umpire Paul Nauert during a confrontation following his ejection from Saturday's game.

    Loney's suspension was to start tonight but he has opted to appeal so it won't be served until a hearing.

    James Loney's suspension was to start tonight but he has opted to appeal so it won't be served until a hearing.
  13. Rays-Twins preview

    Rays-Twins preview

    The Heater

    Rays vs. Twins

    When/where: 7:10 tonight; Tropicana Field

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

    Tickets: $7-200, available at Tropicana Field box office, Ticketmaster, raysbaseball.com, team Tampa store; $3 surcharge within 5 hours of game time.

    Probable pitchers

    RAYS: RH Nathan Karns (7-5, 3.44)

    TWINS: RH Ervin Santana (2-4, 5.53)...

    FORT MYERS, FL - MARCH 3:  Ervin Santana #54 of the Minnesota Twins poses for a photo on March 3, 2015 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Florida.  (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
  14. Rays continue to manage young starters' workload

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays have been quick on occasion to pull RH starters Nathan Karns and Erasmo Ramirez from games this season, usually to avoid them attempting that treacherous third trip through the opposing lineup.

    As a byproduct, the Rays are not planning to pull the plugs on their seasons due to overall workload.

    "I would not see that," manager Kevin Cash said. "We would probably be smart with both of them, but I don't foresee us saying, 'You're not starting anymore because of a concern of innings.' "...

    Nathan Karns, a 27-year-old rookie in his first full major-league season, has thrown 136 innings over 24 starts. [WILL VRAGOVIC | Times
  15. Rays' Loney awaiting punishment for umpire confrontation

    The Heater

    OAKLAND, Calif. — 1B James Loney said Sunday he had no regrets over what he did to get ejected from Saturday's game or what he said about umpire Paul Nauert afterward, though he did maintain the contact he made was incidental.

    Now the Rays will wait to see if, and for how long, Loney gets suspended for his actions.

    "I don't know (what will happen)," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "We'll probably just have to wait and see what Major League Baseball decides and go from there."...

    Rays first baseman James Loney gets face-to-face with home plate umpire Paul Nauert on Saturday night after being ejected. Loney insists any contact was incidental.