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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. For starters, Rays at Yankees, trying to bounce back


    UPDATE, 10:37: Souza is back in Rays lineup, Forsythe gets a day off:

    Sizemore dh,
    Butler lf,
    Longoria 3b,
    Loney 1b,
    Souza rf,
    Cabrera ss,
    Kiermaier cf,
    Elmore 2b,
    Casali c,
    Karns p

    DEVELOPING: After a long Friday night in which they blew two leads and lost 7-5 in 12 innings to the Yankees, the Rays have a quick turnaround to get over it as they play a 1:05 holiday matinee today....

  2. Rays drop Riefenhauser, add Teaford


    The Rays added some depth to their bullpen Saturday by sending down the only reliever who didn't pitch Friday, C.J. Riefenhauser, and calling up LHP Everett Teaford.

    To make room for Teaford, who will serve as the long man in the pen, they designated for assignment 1B Marc Krauss, who had been recently acquired from the Angels and sent to Triple-A Durham.

    It was a tough draw for Riefenhauser, who grew up 30 minutes from Yankee Stadium and attended many games growing up, was making his first trip in as a big-leaguer, had lots of family on hand and after not getting in to Friday's game was sent down....

  3. Rays blow leads, fall to Yankees in 12th

    The Heater

    NEW YORK — Rays manager Kevin Cash was talking Friday afternoon about how the combination of a rigorous schedule and intense level of play had left his team "a little gassed and ready to get to the break."

    Well, they could only feel worse the way the long night unfolded, blowing a pair of late leads and losing in 12 innings, the 7-5 walkoff defeat to the Yankees their sixth straight loss and 10th in their past 12 games....

    New York Yankees' Brian McCann, right, jumps into a crowd of teammates who greet him at home plate after McCann hit a three-run home run against the Tampa Bay Rays in the 12th inning of a baseball game, Friday, July 3, 2015, in New York. The Yankees won 7-5. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)  NYY122
  4. Rays-Yankees Saturday preview

    The Heater

    Rays at Yankees

    When/where: 1:05 today, Yankee Stadium

    TV/radio: Fox Sports 1; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Probable pitchers

    Rays: RH Nathan Karns (4-4, 3.26)

    Yankees: RH Michael Pineda (8-5, 4.08)

    On Karns: Allowed career-high tying 9 hits in last start though only 2 runs. Overall has made an AL-high matching 12 starts allowing 2 or less. Is 1-0, 3.07 in 3 starts vs. Yanks, but hasn't gotten past 5 innings....

    MARC TOPKIN   |   Times
  5. Rays' Moore pleased with return, for now

    The Heater

    NEW YORK — To be honest, Rays left-hander Matt Moore said, he, too, wished he was throwing harder than the 90-, 91-, 92-mph readings that were registering Thursday in his return from Tommy John elbow surgery in April 2014.

    But the low 90s are where he is now — and where he may be going forward — and he's confident that will be good enough, though it is a considerable dropoff from the 94-95 mph he flashed regularly in his 2011-12 introduction to the majors....

    Matt Moore, reacting after giving up a sacrifice fly in his return, says his velocity is down but he can sneak pitches past hitters when necessary.
  6. Video: Rays take part in MLB Network 'Home Run Derby'


    Rays David DeDeJesus, Brandon Guyer, Kevin Kiermaier and Steven Souza Jr. visited MLB Network's nearby studios on Friday and joined hosts Lauren Shehadi and ex-Ray Cliff Floyd in a little bit of a wiffle ball home run derby.


    Kevin Kiermaier prepares to take a swing during wiffle ball 'Home Run Derby at the MLB Network studios.
  7. Rays at Yankees, on Chris Archer Day


    UPDATE, 6:35: RHP Jake Odorzzi (oblique) will make another rehab start on Monday, likely for the Charlotte Stone Crabs, and then rejoin the Rays on July 11. ... Fifth-round pick OF Joe McCarthy signed. .... Cash said he moved Sizemore to the top of the lineup to "play the hot hand.''' ... Slumping Steven Souza Jr. - 0-for-his-last 24 with 14 Ks - is getting a second day off and will be back in the lineup on Saturday. ... Cash said the number of games the Rays have played and the intensity with which they have played has left the team "a little gassed" but he priased the way they are handling the losing streak....

    A strong start tonight will  cement Chris Archer's chances to be named Monday to the American League All-Star team.
  8. Rays top draft pick Garrett Whitley has a blast on signing day


    Rays top pick Garrett Whitley signed his contract, for a $2.96-million bonus, on Tuesday, then took batting practice with the team.


  9. Rays call up Guilmet, Riefenhauser to bolster bullpen


    The latest shuffle to the Rays bullpen saw RHP Preston Guilmet and LHP C.J. Riefenhauser called up late Tuesday.

    The Rays needed two fresh arms after designating for assignment RHP Ronald Belisario and demoting RHP Kirby Yates to Triple-A.

    Both Guilmet and Riefenhauser were up earlier this season.

    At Durham, Guilmet had a 2.13 ERA in 11 games and Riefenhauser 3.75 in 10.


  10. Rays offense anemic again in loss to Indians (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays' abysmal offensive showings are becoming perfectly normal.

    For the third time in six games, the Rays, incredibly, flirted with being on the wrong end of a perfect game, retired in order through the first five innings by Cleveland's Danny Salazar.

    Whatever moral victory there was in Asdrubal Cabrera drawing a walk to lead off the sixth, or in Curt Casali two batters later rapping the first of their season-low two hits, it was lost in another frustrating defeat, this time 6-2 Tuesday night....

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Erasmo Ramirez (30) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Cleveland Indians and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, June 30, 2015.
  11. Rays shuffle bullpen again

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays shuffled their bullpen yet again after Tuesday's loss, designating for assignment veteran RHP Ronald Belisario and demoting RHP Kirby Yates.

    Because the Rays try to use their top relievers only when ahead, the other spots in the majors' most-used bullpen have been in flux. Late Tuesday, they called up RHP Preston Guilmet and LHP C.J. Riefenhauser....

    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JUNE 29:  Ronald Belisario #56 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches during the ninth inning of a game against the Cleveland Indians on June 29, 2015 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images) 538585101
  12. Rays-Indians preview

    The Heater

    Rays vs. Indians

    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,, team Tampa store; $3 surcharge within five hours of game time.

    Probable pitchers

    RAYS: RH Alex Colome (3-3, 4.50)

    INDIANS: RH Carlos Carrasco (9-6, 4.16)...

    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)
  13. Rays sign top draft pick Garrett Whitley

    The Heater

    Rays sign top draft pick Garrett Whitley

    ST. PETERSBURG — After taking care of the business of signing for a $2.96 million bonus, top draft pick Garrett Whitley was eager to get on the field Tuesday and take batting practice with the Rays.

    The outfielder got advice on how to deal with the nerves from first-base coach Rocco Baldelli, encouragement from hitting coach Derek Shelton and a bat to use from Evan Longoria, all with his parents and younger siblings watching. Though he didn't hit a home run — "I wanted one" — he still had a blast....

    Tampa Bay Rays top draft pick Garrett Whitley, 18, talking with Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Marc Krauss (36) during batting practice after signing with the Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, June 30, 2015.
  14. Rays sign top draft pick Garrett Whitley


    The Rays have signed top draft pick OF Garrett Whitley.

    Whitley, taken No. 13 overall, will join the Gulf Coast League team in Port Charlotte. His slot value is $2,962,100.

    "Garrett has all the tools we look for in a young prospect, both physically and mentally," Rays scouting director R.J. Harrison said in a release. "He has the tools to play center field and hit in the middle of a lineup, and has the potential to impact the game with his legs, bat and glove. On top of that, Garrett is an intelligent young man with a great mental foundation for playing our game. We are very excited to welcome him to the organization and get him started on his professional journey."

    As a senior at Niskayuna (N.Y.) High School, Whitley hit .351 with a .479 on-base percentage, 3 homers, 13 RBI and 24 runs, while going 15-for-15 in steals in 20 games. He also had a 3.84 grade point average, signing a national letter of intent to play at Wake Forest....

    Rays top draft pick Garrett Whitley, 18, center, of Niskayuna High School, signs his contract as Rays scouting director R.J. Harrison, left, Samantha Bireley, scouting administrator, right, and scout Tim Alexander, standing, watch Tuesday at Tropicana Field.
  15. For starters, Rays vs. Indians, trying to break out


    Having lost six of their last eight games but still sharing the top spot in the AL East, the Rays take on the Indians again tonight.

    RHP Erasmo Ramirez, who skipped a turn in the rotation to let a groin strain heal, will be on the mound for the Rays, saying he is fully healthy. The Indians are starting RHP Danny Salazar, who last faced the Rays in the 2013 AL wild-card game.

    Jake Elmore is at first for the Rays tonight and Curt Casali behind the plate....

    Erasmo Ramirez, who skipped a turn in the rotation to let a groin strain heal, will be on the mound for the Rays, saying he is fully healthy.