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. 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....

  2. Rays' Wil Myers off to worst start of pro career

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — OF Wil Myers said there is no probably about it: This is officially his worst start in six seasons of pro ball.

    Wednesday's 0-for-4 against the Orioles dropped his average to .200, and the other numbers aren't any prettier: two extra-base hits, four RBIs, 16 strikeouts compared to four walks, a .499 on-base plus slugging percentage.

    "Just not getting the job done — swinging at bad pitches, going out of the zone, not staying with my plan," Myers said. "Besides the first game of the year, I haven't really done too much at the plate. It's something we're working on in the cage. It's just one of those things I'm going through right now. Just looking to get out of it soon."...

  3. Rays: Jackie Robinson tribute special to players

    The Heater

    Rays vs. Yankees

    When/where: 7:10 tonight; Tropicana Field.

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

    Tickets: $18-$275, available at Tropicana Field box office, Ticketmaster,, team Tampa store; $3 surcharge within 5 hours of game time.

    Probable pitchers

    RAYS: LHP David Price (2-0, 2.91)

    yankees: LHP CC Sabathia (1-2, 6.63)...

  4. Rays lose to Orioles, wrap up rough road trip

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — So much of the Rays' 10-day road trip was about loss.

    Two top starting pitchers, Alex Cobb and Matt Moore, were knocked out of the rotation with injuries. A glaring lack of offense took away most of their momentum — and some of their confidence — from a promising opening week. And a 3-0 defeat to the Orioles in Wednesday's matinee ended their trying trip at 3-5 and sent them home with a losing record overall at 7-8....

    Orioles catcher Matt Wieters waits to tag out the Rays’ Logan Forsythe on a forceout at the plate during the seventh inning.
  5. Zimmer resting comfortably after surgery


    The Rays announced that Don Zimmer was resting comfortably after 6+ hours of heart surgery on Wednesday. Zimmer, 83, is expected to remain hospitalized for a few days.

  6. Rays lose to Orioles 3-0


     The Rays wrapped up a rough road trip with a 3-0 loss to the Orioles on a chilly Wednesday afternoon.
       A first-pitch temp of 39 and an in-game high of 46 degrees didn't do anything to warm the Rays bats, which have produced just 14 runs in their last nine games.
          Manager Joe Maddon has been insisting the Rays have been playing well and not getting any breaks, and Wednesday's game certainly furthered his case.
       In the top of the fourth inning, the Rays got nothing out of promising opportunity with men on first and second with one out. David DeJesus laced a ball to right, but Baltimore's Nick Markakis raced in to make a diving catch, and then doubled James Loney off second.
      Then in the bottom of the fourth inning, the Orioles got two runs off Jake Odorizzi out of what didn't look like much, loading the bases on a walk, a single and a bunt by Adam Jones that caught Evan Longoria by surprise. They got one run on an out, a deep fly by Matt Wieters that Desmond Jennings caught near the wall, and the other on a slow roller by the mound that Odorizzi made a sliding play on
       They did it again in the fifth, loading the bases on two walks and a single, and scoring when Jones rolled a ball down the third that stopped just inside the chalk.
      Odorizzi worked five innings, allowing the three runs on five hits and three walks....

  7. For starters, Rays at Orioles, on a downright cold day


    UPDATE, 11:52: There does appear to be a bit of a rivalry or something between Rays manager Joe Maddon and Orioles counterpart Buck Showalter, though both profess respect for the other.

    On Tuesday, before the decision was made to postpone the game, despite obvious poor conditions that the Rays said made for an obvious call, Showalter said: "I think our guys are mature enough to understand there's a price to pay for doubleheaders, especially when they are put off until August.''...

  8. Video: Matt Moore on decision to have surgery


    Rays LHP Matt Moore talks about his decision to have Tommy John elbow surgery, which will sideline him for 12-15 months.


  9. Rays' Matt Moore convinced surgery is the best option

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — LHP Matt Moore is confident the Tommy John surgery he is having next week eventually will make his left elbow feel better. He just had to be sure he felt it was the right thing to do before deciding Monday to proceed.

    And he said that when he opened his eyes Tuesday, he knew it was.

    "I don't think that there was a whole lot of hesitation when I woke up (Tuesday) morning," he said. "I knew I wasn't dreaming. It wasn't like, 'Do I really want to do this?' "...

    Rays All-Star starter Matt Moore says that a day after announcing that he’d have Tommy John surgery, he had no doubt that he’d made the right call.
  10. Rays try not to panic over rough start

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — Tuesday's rainout could not have been much better timed for the Rays, a chance to reset their rotation torn asunder in the past week by injuries to Matt Moore and Alex Cobb, and to refresh their confidence.

    Two weeks — and just two weeks — into their season of grand expectations, the Rays' record may be 7-7, but it seems they're fighting a losing battle.

    "It's hard not to look at what we're going through right now and be kind of, I guess, disappointed is the word that comes to mind, with the things that have happened," third baseman and team leader Evan Longoria said. "Things really have probably gone completely opposite of what we would have expected or wanted to this point. But the good thing is we're finding a way to win games."...

    A tarp covers the infield at Camden Yards, where Tuesday’s scheduled game between the Rays and Orioles was rained out.
  11. Rays: Weather as bad as Maddon has seen

    The Heater

    A cause for pause

    With Tuesday's rainout, all Rays (and Orioles) uniformed personnel will wear No. 42 today in honor of Jackie Robinson. For some Rays, it is a particularly significant tribute:

    • David Price: "It's a great day. To be able to wear that number one day a year, to signify what Jackie means to the game of baseball and just to people in general. The way he carried himself in that time period, not only on the field but off the field, it's a testament to his character. And I think it's pretty special."...

  12. Rays game called off, makeup TBA


    UPDATE, 6:15: The Rays will pitch Jake Odorizzi on Wednesday vs. the Orioles, and move LHP David Price back to Thursday's game vs. the Yankees. Maddon said they will sort out the rotation from there, with the possibility of splitting lefties LHP Erik Bedard and LHP Cesar Ramos by starting RHP Chris Archer on Saturday.

    UPDATE, 5:51: There will not be a doubleheader on Wednesday. The makeup date will be announced in the future....

  13. Tonight's Rays-Orioles game in Baltimore rained out

    The Heater

    Tonight's Rays-Orioles game has been called off due to the bad weather that has hit Baltimore all day.

    There will not be a doubleheader on Wednesday. The makeup date will be announced in the future.

    The Rays return to Baltimore twice - on June 27-29, with a common off-day on the 26th; and for a four-game series on August 25-28.

  14. UPDATE: For starters, Rays at Orioles, postponed


    UPDATE, 5:46: The Rays decided this afternoon that between the bad weather and the likelihood of the game being delayed, rain-shortened or interrupted, they would make it a "bullpen day" and planned to start RHP Brandon Gomes.

    The idea was that using a series of relievers would make ore sense than potentially burning a starter. Also that even though RHP Jake Odorizzi, who was to start, felt better after being sick on Monday, that they didn't want to expose him to the elements....

  15. Friedman: Moore surgery "inevitable," replacements internal



    Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman held a conference call this afternoon, saying the decision for LHP Matt Moore to go ahead and have Tommy John surgery was not clear until Moore felt discomfort when playing catch Monday afternoon.

    "Talking it through, at that point it became inevitable and then it was about how do we preserve as much of the 2015 season as we can,'' Friedman said. "and so we decided to go ahead and go the surgical route.''...