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. Video report and photo gallery from Sunday's game


    Our video report and photo gallery from the Rays 5-1, 12-inning Easter Sunday loss to the Yankees. Video by Will Vragovic.

  2. Rays' Cesar Ramos has solid bounceback start

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The afternoon had dragged on so long that LHP Cesar Ramos laughed in agreement when someone suggested it seemed like he had pitched the first game of a doubleheader.

    But Ramos had reason of his own to smile, making a much better case than in his previous start to stay in the Rays rotation with a solid five-inning outing — one run, four hits, one walk — in what ended up a 5-1 12-inning loss....

  3. Rays: Rookie's debut causes hometown excitement

    The Heater

    Proposal of the day

    As U.S. Olympic swimmer Katie Hoff was preparing to throw out the first pitch, she was interrupted by her boyfriend — who ran from the outfield to the mound carrying a dozen roses, dropped to one knee and proposed. She said yes, then made her own pitch.

    About Saturday night …

    Some other interesting items from the Rays' 16-1 win over Yankees:...

  4. Riefenhauser sent down, Oviedo to be activated


    Rookie LHP C.J. Riefenhauser was optioned back to Triple-A Durham after Sunday's game, as the Rays plan to activate RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo from the DL on Tuesday.


  5. Rays lose to Yankees in 12, split series

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The excitement in rookie reliever C.J. Riefenhauser's eyes from the day before was replaced by a telling redness.

    The thrill of his first appearance in the majors — against the Yankees team he grew up cheering for, no less — was wiped away by the agony of his direct hand in Sunday's 5-1, 12-inning defeat, then the not unexpected news that he was being sent back to Triple-A Durham....

    James Loney of the Rays beats catcher John Ryan Murphy of the New York Yankees to home plate as he scores off of teammate Matt Joyce's sacrifice fly during the seventh inning.
  6. Rays lose 5-1 in 12 innings to Yankees


    A long Easter Sunday for the Rays ended in a 5-1 12-inning loss to the Yankees.

        The Yankees turned when Rays rookie reliever C.J. Riefenhauser, the 24-year-old New Yorker called up Saturday to make his major-league debut against the team he grew up cheering for, walked in the go-ahead run....

  7. Former Rays OF Sam Fuld claimed by Twins


    Former Rays OF Sam Fuld will be back at the Trop this week.

    Fuld, though, will be in the visiting dugout, claimed on waivers Sunday by the Twins, who open a three-game series at the Trop on Tuesday.

    Fuld signed a minor-league deal with the A's late in the off-season and opened the season with Oakland, but was designated for assignment last week.

    He hit .200 in seven games for the A's, with a homer, four RBIs and several highlight-reel plays....

  8. For starters, Rays at Yankees, looking for more


    UPDATE, 11:40: Rays RHP Jeremy Hellickson said the setback in his recovery from arthroscopic elbow surgery was not significant, as he took a week off after feeling soreness when throwing curveballs in Kansas City.

    Hellickson said he played catch today at a distance of 90 feet - though no curveballs - and felt good, and the setback shouldn't be much of a delay in his projected early June return....

  9. Rays debut dream come true for C.J. Riefenhauser

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — First, LHP C.J. Riefenhauser couldn't say anything when Triple-A Durham manager Charlie Montoyo called at midnight Friday with words of his first promotion to the big leagues.

    "Speechless," Riefenhauser said. "That was the only word that came to mind. I couldn't even process it all at the time."

    Then he had plenty of talking to do, calling his parents at their New York home and telling them to book flights for themselves, and their three other kids, to Tampa for Saturday morning....

    C.J. Riefenhauser gets all four batters out while throwing 10 of 12 pitches for strikes in his big-league debut, which comes against a Yankees team he rooted for as a child.
  10. Rays: Heath Bell brings new toy to clubhouse

    The Heater

    Rays vs. Yankees

    When/where: 1:40 today; Tropicana Field

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

    Tickets: $21-$300, available at Tropicana Field box office, Ticketmaster,, team Tampa store; $3 surcharge within 5 hours of game time

    Promotion: Joe Maddon Hoodie Drawstring Bag, for kids 14 and under

    Probable pitchers...

  11. Rays hit five homers, annihilate Yankees

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — So a guy walked into the Trop on Saturday and found himself having the most unexpected conversation:

    Who among the suddenly potent Rays hitters had the biggest night in the 16-1 win over the Yankees?

    Was it Wil Myers, who looked like he got his groove back in hitting his first two homers of the season, one solid and the other long and loud?

    Or was it Ryan Hanigan, who, similarly on track after an 0 for 18 skid, also hit two homers during a six-RBI night, the first Rays catcher to do so since 2010 and the third Ray overall?...

    Not to be lost in the offensive onslaught, Rays starter Chris Archer delivers 62/3 sharp innings, allowing just a run.
  12. Rays Tales: All about Matt Moore's elbow

    The Heater

    LHP Matt Moore's life, at least in the short term, will change extensively after Tommy John elbow ligament reconstruction surgery on Tuesday.

    Moore's entire focus, at age 24, has to shift from winning games on the mound to "beating" the yearlong-plus rehab process, his competitiveness channeled to what, especially for the first few months, will be very mundane drills.

    "The surgery is about 10 percent of it, and the rehab process is the remaining 90 — it's everything to this," Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman said. "And that's what gives you great peace of mind, is that we know how hard Matt works and we know how badly he wants to get back. And that coupled with a tremendous training staff gives us great optimism for how well he'll bounce back next year."...

  13. For starters, Rays vs. Yankees, with no Jennings again


    UPDATE, 5:52: The Rays will tweak the rotation coming out of Monday's off-day, with LHP David Price moving ahead of RHP Jake Odorizzi and pitching Tuesday. That is designed to keep Price on his regular five-day schedule.

    RHP Jeremy Hellickson had some light soreness during his rehab from arthroscopic right elbow surgery and is taking three days off, with a plan to play catch on Sunday. Hellickson had hoped to throw off the mound for the first time last Tuesday in Baltimore, so this would seem to push him back at least a week, and push his return to the rotation into June....

  14. UPDATE: Riefenhauser to join Rays today


    UPDATE, 2:56: The Rays have announced that Riefenhauser has been called up.

    DEVELOPING: The latest turn of the bullpen shuffle is expected to result in LHP C.J. Rienfenhauser joining the Rays tonight, the Times has learned.

    Riefenhauser, 24, will be making his big-league debut. He was a 20th round pick in the 2010 draft, and has risen steadily through the organization. He pitched in the All-Star Futures Game last July in New York during a season split between Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham as he was converted exclusively to relief work....

  15. Rays-Yankees preview

    The Heater

    .UP NEXT

    vs. Yankees


    What's new: Not that they'll get any sympathy from the Rays, but the Yankees — who played a day-night doubleheader vs. the Cubs on Wednesday — are banged up, with 1B Mark Teixeira, closer Dave Robertson and backup INF Brendan Ryan and C Francisco Cervelli all placed on the DL since opening day. SS Derek Jeter (had you heard he's retiring after this season?) has missed a couple of games with quad issues but was expected to return Wednesday night. The Yankees spent heavily in the offseason to get back into the playoff race, adding C Brian McCann, OFs Carlos Beltran and Jacoby Ellsbury and Japanese import Masahiro Tanaka, who bolsters their rotation....