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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. Matt Moore feels "really good" in facing hitters for 1st time

    Blog

    Rays LHP Matt Moore said he "felt really good" throwing to hitters for the first time since his April 2014 Tommy John elbow surgery.

    Moore threw 25 pitches to Nick Franklin, Jake Elmore and Tim Beckham, mixing in fastballs, curves and changeups. He was clocked in the 89-92 mph range on his fastball, which manager Kevin Cash said was good.

    Moore acknowledged there was "a new intensity" facing hitters from the throwing he had been doing....

    Matt Moore throwing to hitters Sunday at the Trop.
  2. For starters, Rays "at" Orioles, at the Trop

    Blog

    UPDATE, 1:07: Cash said they are comfortable with the diagnosis of bursitis on Jennings and hope he will be back when his DL stint ends May 11 but won't put any pressure or deadline on him. ... In the interim, Cash said to expect to "see a lot" of Butler, who will DH and play LF against LHPs and some RHPs. ... Butler said he was with his Durham Bulls teammates watching the fight last night when he got word and was obviously pleased to be back in the big leagues....

  3. Rays place Jennings on DL, call up OF Joey Butler

    Blog

    UPDATE, 1:09: Cash said they are comfortable with the diagnosis of bursitis on Jennings and hope he will be back when his DL stint ends May 11 but won't put any pressure or deadline on him. ... In the interim, Cash said to expect to "see a lot" of Butler, who will DH and play LF against LHPs and some RHPs. ... Butler said he was with his Durham Bulls teammates watching the fight last night when he got word and was obviously pleased to be back in the big leagues....

  4. Rays' Desmond Jennings a late scratch, may go on DL

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — OF Desmond Jennings was set — "100 percent ready," manager Kevin Cash said — to rejoin the Rays' lineup at DH on Saturday night, with plans to play again today.

    But as Cash walked the lineup card to home plate, he decided that between the way Jennings looked running in the outfield and what he said in their pregame talk, playing against the Orioles wasn't a good idea and scratched him due to recurring soreness in his left knee....

    Desmond Jennings is a late scratch with left knee soreness and may be headed to the disabled list.
  5. Rays-Orioles preview

    The Heater

    Rays "at" Orioles (at the Trop)

    When/where: 1:35 today; Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Sun Sports; 620-AM

    Tickets: $15, general admission, lower level only (excluding home plate club), available at Tropicana Field box office, Ticketmaster, raysbaseball.com, team Tampa store, by phone at toll-free 1-888-326-7297 and 1-800-745-3000.

    Gates: Open 12:05 p.m.; gates 1, 4, 5, 6 only....

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 27:  Nathan Karns #51 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a photo on photo day at Charlotte Sports Park on February 27, 2015 in Port Charlotte, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
  6. Chris Archer struggles, bats snooze in Rays' loss to Orioles (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — As much as Rays starter Chris Archer is into positive thinking and putting process ahead of performance, he knew deep down he couldn't maintain the run he had been on, rolling into Saturday's start having not allowed an earned run over his four previous outings.

    What stung was how it came to an end in the hosting-but-visiting Rays' 4-0 loss to the Orioles at Tropicana Field....

    Jimmy Paredes, left, and Chris Davis, who had both singled, bump fists after scoring on Steve Pearce’s double off Rays starter Chris Archer in the third inning, giving the Orioles a 3-0 lead.
  7. Rays Tales: Where the Rays' players were drafted

    The Heater

    Since there is, for some reason, a lot of talk about the draft this weekend, it seems appropriate to look at how the current Rays got here, with players on the disabled list noted by asterisk and players signed first by the Rays in bold:

    First-round picks

    1B James Loney: 19th overall, 2002, by Dodgers

    3B Evan Longoria: 3rd overall, 2006, by Rays

    • An ideal 1st-round pick: signed quickly, moved fast, starred long term...

    Steve Geltz: The Angels signed the reliever as a nondrafted free agent to be an “arm protector.”
  8. Yanks GM: A-Rod won't get bonus for milestone HR

    Sports

    BOSTON — The day after Alex Rodriguez tied Willie Mays for fourth on baseball's career home run list, Yankees GM Brian Cashman made it clear the team would not be paying him a $6 million bonus for doing so.

    "We have the right but not the obligation to do something," Cashman said Saturday. "And that's it. It's not you do this, you get that."

    Cashman said the terms of a 2007 agreement between the Yankees and Rodriguez, which include a series of $6 million marketing bonuses, are not like standard incentive deals and have thus been misunderstood....

    The Yankees say they can’t market Alex Rodriguez’s 660th homer.
  9. Rays AAA catcher Luke Maile on wrong end of odd play in Pawtucket

    Blog

    Rays Triple-A C Luke Maile was on the wrong end of a painful play Friday, as Red Sox Triple-A C Humberto Quintero appeared to intentionally hit Maile in the stomach with a throw.

    Maile was at the plate when Mahtook stole third, and Quintero fired a sidearm throw directly into Maile's midsection.

    Maile said by phone Saturday he was okay, albeit a bit sore and sporting "a pretty good-looking" bruise: "I'm lucky he didn't get me in the ribs or go a little lower. It could have been a lot worse."

    Maile said he had no history with Quintero, a former big-leaguer who, after arguing that Maile should have moved, sparked a bench-clearing incident later in the game by sliding late into SS Hak-Ju Lee.

    Asked if he believed Quintero hit him intentionally, Maile said, "All that I'll say about that is that at this level, guys who've played as long as we have, you're not going to miss by that much. I don't know why it happened. I don't know how it happened."...

  10. For starters, Rays "at" Orioles (at the Trop), on Archer day

    Blog

    UPDATE, 3:07: Desmond Jennings is back in the Rays lineup for the first time since leaving last Saturday's game, hitting sixth as the DH. As a result, David DeJesus is in leftfield tonight.

    Rays lineup:
    DeJesus lf,
    Souza rf,
    Cabrera ss,
    Longoria 3b,
    Loney 1b,
    Jennings DH,
    Forsythe 2b,
    Kiermaier cf,
    Wilson c,
    Archer p

    Orioles lineup:
    Machado 3b
    Paredes dh
    Jones cf
    Davis 1b
    Pearce 2b
    Snider rf
    Joseph c
    Lough lf
    Cabrera ss
    Gonzalez p...

    The Rays will have ace Chris Archer, who has not given up an earned run over his last four starts, on the mound.
  11. Rays-Orioles Saturday preview

    The Heater

    Rays 'at' Orioles (at the Trop)

    When/where: 7:05 tonight; Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Sun Sports; 620-AM

    Tickets: $18, general admission, lower level only (excluding home plate club), available at Tropicana Field box office, Ticketmaster, raysbaseball.com, team Tampa store, by phone at 1-888-FAN-RAYS and 1-800-745-3000.

    Gates: Open 5:35 p.m.; Gates 1, 4, 5, 6 only...

    SARASOTA, FL - MARCH 01:  Pitcher Miguel Gonzalez #50 of the Baltimore Orioles poses on photo day at Ed Smith Stadium on March 1, 2015 in Sarasota, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
  12. Colome, Rays beat Orioles (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — A lot of things looked and sounded odd at Tropicana Field on Friday night as the Rays hosted the Orioles at the Trop but played as the visiting team since the games were relocated from Baltimore.

    But the Rays were right at home as they high-fived their way off the field after a 2-0 win and then staged their familiar clubhouse celebration.

    A dazzling season debut by Alex Colome, another dominant showing by their bullpen and back-to-back two-out clutch hits by Evan Longoria and James Loney were enough as the Rays improved 13-10....

    Rays starter Alex Colome has a strong season debut: five innings, three hits, six strikeouts and 60 pitches. Colome spent April on the DL following a spring bout with pneumonia.
  13. Balfour returns to Rays, will join Triple-A Durham

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Grant Balfour may not be done pitching for the Rays, after all.

    Released this week, Balfour passed on overtures from the Cubs, Red Sox and others to agree to a minor-league deal with the Rays, with plans to join Triple-A Durham on Tuesday and work his way back to the big leagues.

    "Headed back to Tampa (Bay)," Balfour told the Tampa Bay Times via text. "Want to be able to pitch back in the show with the Rays."...

    Reliever Grant Balfour, who was released by the Rays this week, gets a minor-league contract to return.
  14. Balfour rejoins Rays on minor-league deal

    Blog

    RHP Grant Balfour, released earlier this week, is signing a minor-league deal to rejoin the Rays with plans to join Triple-A Durham and work his way back to the big leagues.
    "Headed back to Tampa (Bay),'' Balfour texted. "Want to be able to pitch back in the show with the Rays.''
    Balfour was designated for assignment April 18, and released, with the Rays responsible for his $7-million salary.
    The Cubs and Red Sox were among teams reported to have interest in signing him.
    "Yeah, mate, would like to pitch with Tampa,'' he texted. "We weill see how it goes.''
    ...

  15. For starters, Rays "at" Orioles (at the Trop)

    Blog

    UPDATE, 5:53: OF Desmond Jennings got a cortisone shot in his left knee and the Rays are expecting him to play on Saturday, with a plan to mix in off days and DH days until the soreness/bursitis goes away.

    LHP Jake McGee (elbow surgery) makes his second rehab appearance tonight for Class A Charlotte, but is likely to need six or seven total appearances, and not rejoin the team until the end of May....

    Alex Colome will be on the mound for the Rays, making his season debut after a DL stint due to a spring bout with pneumonia following a visa-delayed arrival to camp.