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' Oviedo sees first MLB action since 2011

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Technically, you could say Thursday marked the first major-league appearance for Rays reliever Juan Carlos Oviedo.

    Officially it was his first since September 2011 with the Marlins, but he was known as Leo Nunez then.

    That was before he was suspended for identity fraud issues, before he blew out his elbow and needed Tommy John surgery, before he opened this season on the disabled list after a lengthy visa delay forced the Dominican Republic native to miss most of the spring....

  2. Video report/photo gallery from Thursday loss


    Our video report and photo gallery from Rays 9-7 Thursday afternoon loss to the Twins at Tropicana Field. Video by Will Vragovic.


  3. Rays: Paying off a lost bet; Fuld shines for Twins

    The Heater

    Rays at White Sox

    When/where: 8:10 tonight; U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago

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

    Probable pitchers

    RAYS: RH Chris Archer (2-1, 3.65)

    WHITE SOX: RH Erik Johnson (1-1, 5.32)

    On Archer: Coming off solid six-plus inning start vs. Yankees. Is 4-8, 4.09 in 17 career road games, 8-3, 3.00 in 16 home games. Faced White Sox in relief in September 2012....

  4. Rays-White Sox preview

    The Heater

  5. Pitching lets down Rays in loss to Twins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The way Erik Bedard started Thursday's 9-7 loss, walking four in an ugly three-run first inning, allowing nine of the first 12 Twins to reach base, throwing 67 pitches to get his first six outs, it seemed a fair question if the Rays would even take him on the flight to Chicago.

    Instead, he's staying in their tattered rotation, slated for his next appearance on Tuesday night when they move on to Boston's Fenway Park....

    In yet another bad game by a Rays starter, Erik Bedard talks with pitching coach Jim Hickey during the Twins’ three-run first.
  6. Rays lose again, 9-7 to Twins


       What started out as a bad afternoon didn't end any better for the Rays despite some momentary glimpses of hope as they lost to the Twins 9-7 before heading out for a 10-game, three-city road trip.

       Erik Bedard put the Rays is a large hole early, allowing three runs in an ugly 41 -pitch first inning and another in a sloppy second. He then settled in for a couple innings as the Rays closed to 4-3 on a David DeJesus homer....

  7. For starters, Rays vs. Twins, on short rest


    UPDATE, 11:51: Former Rays OF Sam Fuld, who had two hits last night, is back in the Twins lineup today, playing leftfield.

    Twins lineup:
    Dozier 2b
    Mauer 1b
    Plouffe 3b
    Colabello rf
    Pinto dh
    Suzuki c
    Fuld lf
    Hicks cf
    Florimon ss
    Nolasco p

    UPDATE, 11:45: The Rays decided to not make any moves to bolster their bullpen, so they will roll with Bedard and the tired relief corps....

    The Rays will need Erik Bedard to go deep into the game, having used six of their seven relievers on Wednesday.
  8. Bullpen report for Thursday: "Tired"


    Whatever benefit the Rays bullpen got from Monday's day off and Tuesday's complete game by David Price was gone by the end of a long Wednesday as the relievers had to cover 8 2/3 innings.

    And they have to be back at the field early Thursday morning for a 1:10 start.

    Asked to describe the state of the bullpen, manager Joe Maddon said, simply, "tired.'

    He hadn't heard yet from executive VP Andrew Friedman to know if there would be a roster move, which likely would come at the expense of Brandon Gomes, the only reliever with options, unless they were willing to part ways with Josh Lueke....

  9. Rays lose to Twins in 12 innings

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The loss, of course, is the bottom line, especially how it came for the Rays late Wednesday night, a 6-4 defeat to the Twins in 12 long innings with a matinee looming today.

    "When you play a game like that and you lose it at the end, obviously, but you pitched and played so well to win that game," manager Joe Maddon said.

    "We should have won that game. We've lost two games during this homestand that we could've put in the win column, and those are the kind of things you really have to get beyond. It's not for a lack of effort — the guys have been great, the effort's great, the intensity's wonderful. We just have to figure out how to push through somehow."...

    The Rays’ Ben Zobrist brings in Wil Myers with a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning, tying the score at 4. It remained that way until the Twins scored twice in the 12th.
  10. Rays: Longoria haircut pays tribute to Lightning

    The Heater

    Rays vs. Twins

    When/where: 1:10 today; Tropicana Field

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

    Tickets: $11-$200, available at Tropicana Field box office, Ticketmaster,, team Tampa store; $3 surcharge within 5 hours of game time.

    Probable pitchers

    RAYS: LH Erik Bedard (0-0, 6.35)

    TWINS: RH Ricky Nolasco (1-1, 5.50)...

  11. Rays looking for adjustments from Erik Bedard

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Manager Joe Maddon came right out and said that LHP Erik Bedard is not pitching to keep his spot in the Rays rotation when he takes the mound today.

    But Maddon also seemed clear that after a rough first start (3-2/3 innings, 4 runs, 6 hits), they expect to see Bedard do better, and do things a little differently based on some suggested changes.

    "No, he's not pitching for his job right now," Maddon said. "But we want him to look at some of this info and really try to incorporate it. And he did last time."...

    Erik Bedard pitches in the first inning during the April 18 game against the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field.
  12. For starters: Rays vs. Twins, facing Fuld


    UPDATE, 5:25: Rays manager Joe Maddon said the reason he doesn't have OF David DeJesus in the lineup tonight against Twins RHP Mike Pelfrey is because he had such a big game on Tuesday, the thinking being that Pelfrey is tougher on lefty batters and Maddon doesn't want to retard the progress DeJesus made.

    And the reason he has Ben Zobrist in LF and Logan Forsythe at 2B is that he considers starter RHP Jake Odorizzi more of a fly ball pitcher and that Zobrist is the better defender....

    Outfielder Sam Fuld, a fan favorite during three seasons with the Rays, is batting ninth and playing centerfield in what will be his Twins debut.
  13. 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.

  14. 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....

  15. 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:...