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. Peralta to DL, Beliveau recalled

    Blog

    UPDATE, 5:57: Peralta was sent back to St. Petersburg to be seen by team physician Dr. Michael Reilly, and to have bloodwork done to confirm that he has the chikungunya virus. Governmental health departments and the CDC are tracking such cases. The virus is not contagious nor treatable, with the symptoms - fever, tiredness, achiness and rash - lasting 7-10 days.

    DEVELOPING: The Rays placed RHP Joel Peralta on the disabled list as he deals with the tiredness and achiness from the chikungunya virus, which he believes he contracted when bitten by a mosquito during the All-Star break in the Dominican Republic....

  2. For starters, Rays at Cardinals, seeking six, with Odorizzi eighth

    Blog

    UPDATE, 7:47: Maddon said he had several reasons to bat Odorizzi eighth, primarily because it allowed for the the possibility of pinch-hitting sooner and to keep Kiermaier hitting in front of leadoff man Desmond Jennings. ... The Rays announced David Price will start Friday against Boston but have not set the rest of the weekend rotation, with Jeremy Hellickson expected to come back from the minors and start one of the two games. 
    ...

    Jake Odorizzi will be on the mound for the Rays, pitching before what is likely to be hundreds of relatives and friends making the 30-some mile drive him his hometown of Highland, Ill.
  3. Rays' Odorizzi excited to pitch against hometown team

    The Heater

    ST. LOUIS — Growing up 30 miles outside of St. Louis, religiously watching every Cardinals game either in the stands or in front of the TV, Jake Odorizzi had the same dream as thousands of other young Midwestern boys: to someday play baseball at Busch Stadium.

    And tonight he will, starting for the Rays against those Cardinals.

    "I think everybody else was thinking the exact same thing," Odorizzi said. "I'm just lucky I had the opportunity and that I'm able to do it. I wanted it, and it's come true."...

    Rays rookie starter Jake Odorizzi grew up 30 miles outside of St. Louis and rooted for the team that he’s scheduled to face tonight at Busch Stadium.
  4. Rays: Several watch Cardinals game from stands

    The Heater

    Rays at Cardinals

    When/where: 8:15 tonight; Busch Stadium, St. Louis

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

    Probable pitchers

    Rays: RH Jake Odorizzi (5-8, 4.01)

    CARDS: RH Adam Wainwright (12-4, 1.83)

    On Odorizzi: Has allowed three or fewer runs in seven consecutive starts. Ranks third in majors with 10.34 strikeouts per nine innings. Took tough-luck 1-0 loss to Cardinals on June 10....

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Pitcher Jake Odorizzi #23 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)
  5. Rays' Evan Longoria trying to solve power outage

    Sports

    ST. LOUIS

    With the second of his two doubles Sunday, Evan Longoria reached a monumental accomplishment.

    Sure, breaking Carl Crawford's franchise record was a career milestone. But of more immediate significance, it was just the second of Longoria's 100 games this season in which he rapped more than one extra-base hit.

    Longoria's power outage is an ongoing issue, and one the Rays are eager to see end since they know how vital he can be as they try to play their way back into contention....

    Evan Longoria might be mechanically off and admits that he has yet to feel locked in for an extended stretch.
  6. Rays hang on, finish sweep of Twins

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — The hitters wasted repeated chances to build on the lead. The starting pitcher didn't have anywhere near his best stuff. The defense was sloppy enough to allow two runs.

    But, still, the Rays took a two-run lead into the ninth inning Sunday, needing only for Grant Balfour to get the final three outs against the bottom third of the Twins order to seal a fifth straight win....

    Tampa Bay Rays' Desmond Jennings is congratulated by teammates in the dugout after scoring on a two-run single by James Loney during the first inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins in Minneapolis, Sunday, July 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt) MNAH104
  7. Rays: Duo bringing families, friends to St. Louis

    The Heater

    Today: Off

    Next game: at Cardinals, 8:15 p.m. Tuesday

    Probable pitchers: Rays — RH Jake Odorizzi (5-8, 4.01); Cards — RH Adam Wainwright (12-4, 1.83)

    On deck

    Wednesday: at Cardinals, 7:15. Rays — RH Alex Cobb (5-6, 4.08); Cards — RH Lance Lynn (11-6, 3.13)

    Thursday: Off

    Friday: vs. Red Sox, 7:10. Rays — TBA; Red Sox — TBA...

    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JULY 7:  Jake Odorizzi #23 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches during the first inning of a game against the Kansas City Royals on July 7, 2014 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
  8. Rays' Longoria hits two milestones on one swing

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Eventually, given the nine years remaining on his contract, 3B Evan Longoria figures to hold most of the Rays' franchise records.

    But he said it was still special Sunday to move to the top, and on the same swing, breaking Carl Crawford's record with his 216th double and tying Crawford's mark of 592 RBIs.

    "I'm proud to be there and amongst good company," Longoria said. "Carl was a great ambassador for the Rays, and is one of the guys that this franchise will always remember. I'm pretty much here for the rest of my career, so at some point I expected to be there, today being the day, it's a proud day."...

    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JULY 20:  Evan Longoria #3 of the Tampa Bay Rays catches a pop fly during the eighth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field on July 20, 2014 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The Rays defeated the Twins 5-3.  (Photo by Marilyn Indahl/Getty Images) 477586537
  9. Rays hang on, finish sweep of Twins

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — The Rays hung on — barely — to complete a three-game sweep of the Twins on Sunday with a 5-3 win that included third baseman Evan Longoria reaching two milestones on one swing.

    Longoria broke Carl Crawford's franchise record with his 216th double, and as Matt Joyce scored on the sixth-inning shot down the leftfield line, Longoria also tied Crawford's franchise record of 592 RBIs....

    Tampa Bay Rays' Desmond Jennings is congratulated by teammates in the dugout after scoring on a two-run single by James Loney during the first inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins in Minneapolis, Sunday, July 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt) MNAH104
  10. Rays hang on for 5-3 win, three-game sweep

    Blog

    MINNEAPOLIS - The Rays hung on - barely - to complete a three-game sweep of the Twins on Sunday with a 5-3 win that included third baseman Evan Longoria reaching two milestones on one swing.

    Longoria broke Carl Crawford's franchise record with his 216th double, and as Matt Joyce scored on the sixth inning shot down the leftfield line, Longoria also tied Crawford's franchise record of 592 RBIs....

  11. For starters, Rays at Twins, seeking a sweep

    Blog

    UPDATE, 1:06: Maddon said he played Casali based on how well he did Friday and liking the idea of giving Jose Molina the day off after catching a night game. ... Sam Fuld is again in the Twins lineup. ... Rays pitchers are taking BP and David Price hit a bomb into the second deck of rightfield, then another that just over the wall.

    Twins lineup:
    Dozier 2b
    Nunez 3b
    Plouffe dh
    Morales 1b
    Arcia rf
    Willingham lf
    Escobar ss
    Fryer c
    Fuld cf
    Correia p...

  12. David Price dominant, Rays win again

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — The tremendous pitching the Rays got again from David Price on Saturday they have come to rely on, at least as long as he's still with them.

    But if they are going to continue their march back into postseason contention — and along the way, potentially reduce the chance of Price being traded — they are going to need help from less prominent contributors as well....

    After pitching eight shutout innings against the Twins, Rays ace David Price has not allowed a run in 16 consecutive innings.
  13. Rays: No-hit anniversary for minor-league coordinator

    The Heater

    Rays at Twins

    When/where: 2:10 today; Target Field, Minneapolis

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

    Probable pitchers

    Rays: RH Chris Archer (5-5, 3.41)

    TWINS: RH Kevin Correia (5-11, 4.61)

    On Archer: Worked only five innings in last start, July 11 vs. Toronto, allowing five runs, his most in two months. Beat the Twins twice last year without allowing an earned run....

    25 Feb 1998:  Dick Bosman of the Texas Rangers poses for a portrait during Spring Training at the Charlotte County Stadium in Port Charlotte, Florida. Mandatory Credit: Rick Stewart  /Allsport
  14. Rays' Grant Balfour says he has been tipping pitches

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — RHP Grant Balfour has made his share of bad pitches, as the 27 walks he has given up in 361/3 innings shows.

    But there may be another reason for his rough performance — posting a 5.45 ERA and allowing 29 hits — this season: pitch-tipping.

    Balfour acknowledged — without revealing specifics — that there has been an issue and said he has made recent changes in his delivery to correct it....

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Grant Balfour (50) in the dugout in the bottom of the ninth inning of the Oakland Athletics against the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Thursday, May 22, 2014.
  15. Close attention being paid to Rays' David Price

    The Heater

    David Price wasn't even on the active roster to pitch at last week's All-Star Game, but he — and his future with the Rays relative to the July 31 trade deadline — were popular topics of conversation. Here are excerpts of what people were saying:

    Jon Lester

    Red Sox LHP

    "I feel like right now he's got another year (with the Rays) and they might end up getting more (in a trade), but, I don't know, it's hard when a guy has another year to really buy into that you're going to get rid of him. But you never know. The Rays have done such a good job of stockpiling that they may say, 'We need to get more guys' and do it. Or here in the next week they could be five games out and he stays."...