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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-Royals Sunday preview

    The Heater

    Rays vs. Royals

    When/where: 1:10 today; Tropicana Field

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

    Tickets: $7-275, available at Tropicana Field box office, Ticketmaster, raysbaseball.com, team Tampa store; $3 surcharge within 5 hours of game time.

    Promotion: DJ Kitty drawstring bag for kids 14 and under.

    Probable pitchers...

    SURPRISE, AZ - FEBRUARY 27:  Pitcher Danny Duffy #41 poses during Kansas City Royals Photo Day on February 27, 2015 in Surprise, Arizona.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
  2. Moore, Snell possible September callups for Rays

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — LHPs Matt Moore and Blake Snell are among the more interesting players being talked about for promotions when rosters can be expanded starting Tuesday.

    The Rays, still finalizing their plans, are likely to make a few callups Tuesday and others after the Triple-A Durham season ends Sept. 7. "We've gone over a bunch of names," manager Kevin Cash said. "I imagine for the most part it'll be a group of guys that we've seen throughout the course of this year."...

    Matt Moore, who struggled with the Rays, has been dominant at Triple-A Durham and may return to the majors when rosters expand in September.
  3. Fading Rays lose again, fall to 0-6 against Royals

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays are getting an up-close sense of why the Royals are the class of the American League.

    Saturday was the sixth time the teams played this season, and the sixth time the Rays lost.

    The 6-3 final again showcased a basic difference between the teams: The Royals rarely give away extra outs and relentlessly take advantage of opportunities, and the Rays do — including two errors by shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera that led to runs — and don't....

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Erasmo Ramirez (30) looks on during the eighth inning of the game between the Kansas City Royals and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Saturday, August 29, 2015.
  4. Rays Tales: Three veterans helping in playoff push

    The Heater

    As much as the Rays are typically built around young players, they have added, via various circumstances, three veterans who are in position to play key roles down the stretch — C J.P. Arencibia, OF/1B Daniel Nava and OF Grady Sizemore.

    "These guys know what it's like to play in big games," Rays baseball operations president Matt Silverman said. "They come to the park ready to do whatever is needed to win."...

    WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times
  5. For starters, Rays vs. Royals, trying to bounce back

    Blog

    UPDATE, 4:06: Cash said they have been talking about September call-ups, with a few expected on Tuesday (Sept. 1) and others after Triple-A Durham's season ends on Sept. 7. He said most will be players who were here earlier, though acknowledged that one possibility is LHP Blake Snell, who has had a tremendous run through the minor leagues. ... OF Brandon Guyer on Friday tied the team record in being hit by a pitch for the 18th time this season, and said it was the one that hurt the most....

  6. Ben Zobrist back at Trop, as a Rays opponent (w/ video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Walking back into the Trop on Friday as a visiting player was weird for former Rays All-Star Ben Zobrist in a good way.

    "It just feels like home," he said. "I felt like I never left in a way because everything is very similar. I could have easily walked into the other clubhouse and started getting dressed in my old uniform."

    But he isn't a Ray anymore, having been traded after nine seasons in Tampa Bay to the A's in January and then last month to the American League-best Royals....

    Ben Zobrist, wife Julianna and son Zion, 6, enjoy a pregame tribute in Zobrist’s first game at Tropicana Field since he was traded in January.
  7. 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....

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Drew Smyly (33) delivers in the first inning of the game between the Minnesota Twins and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Thursday, August 27, 2015.
  8. 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.
  9. 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
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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....

    Tampa Bay Rays catcher J.P. Arencibia in the dugout during the game between the Minnesota Twins and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, August 26, 2015.
  13. 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) delivers in the first 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.
  14. 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)...

    FORT MYERS, FL - MARCH 3:  Tommy Milone #33 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)
  15. 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