08/27/15 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 the rest of the season will be lost.
"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."...
08/27/15 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.
08/27/15 The Heater
ST. PETERSBURG — As the Rays have struggled to gain any traction in the multi-team race for an American League wild card spot, manager Kevin Cash has noted more than a few times that they needed to take advantage of the opportunities presented.
Thursday, they did just that, and benefited from a timely mistake by the Twins, to eke out a 5-4 win.
After starter Drew Smyly turned a 2-0 first-inning lead into a 4-2 deficit by the fourth, the Rays came back impressively to tie it, then took the lead on a sixth-inning passed....
Mitchell DL Devontay Taylor vs. River Ridge RB Chris Schwarz
After playing a limited role last season, Taylor has become an important defensive presence, a 6-foot-4, 265-pound end who can stop the run with size and rush the passer with his speed.
In the spring game against Fivay and last week's kickoff classic against Palm Harbor University, Taylor wreaked havoc against opposing quarterbacks with a combined four sacks and a fumble recovery....
TAMPA — Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier confirmed what Lovie Smith has been reluctant to say: The Bucs' head coach is handling the defensive play-calling duties this season.
Frazier also said he's fine with the arrangement.
"(Lovie) is going to be heavily involved as he's always been with our defense, and he's going to do the majority of the defensive play-calling," Frazier said Thursday. "It really doesn't change my role from a year ago, it really doesn't. My role is to come in and help our defense and help them prepare for every ball game and help our team win. It really doesn't change anything I have to get done."...
Bellamy Elementary School is going full pirate this year.
"Arrrgh you ready for a great school year?" assistant principal Theresa Seits asked students as they filed in the building Tuesday.
For the first day of school, every teacher, administrator and staff member donned pirate gear, carried "school maps to success" and handed out gold doubloons to students — all because of the Dave Burgess book Teach Like A Pirate. ...
GAINESVILLE — Florida's quarterback competition will stretch into the season.
Coach Jim McElwain said Thursday that sophomore Treon Harris and redshirt freshman Will Grier both will play in the team's Sept. 5 season opener against New Mexico State.
"It will play itself out," said McElwain, who has not named a starter. "Like I've said, and I mean this, you guys keep pushing for this, but there isn't a timetable. The timetable is figure out a way to win the football game with whoever is moving the team."...
Jim Fike was among the thousands of Floridans who feared their families would be stuck with a Florida Healthy Kids insurance plan — even though the rates will double come Oct. 1.
But this week brought some good news.
On Thursday, federal health officials said they would allow the 36,000 Florida families affected by the rate hikes to purchase a new plan on the Obamacare marketplace without having to wait for the Nov. 1 start of open enrollment....
You might read today's story about the Idlewild Baptist Church spirit shirt giveaway and say, it's just a shirt.
But sometimes it isn't.
A reader shared this green flyer that came home in a child's bookbag Thursday. At the family's request, we deleted the school name....
TAMPA — Jefferson football coach Jeremy Earle makes it a point to know every 6-foot-3, 250-pound boy that walks the hallways. So in the fall of 2013, when he saw not just one, but two students that size he'd never met, Earle set out to change that.
Twins Oscar and Jesus Gonzalez, first-generation Cuban-Americans, knew limited English then, Earle said, and the freshmen went about their business quietly, walking from class to class....
TAMPA — Johnson & Johnson, the giant pharmaceutical company best known for its Tylenol and Band-Aid brands, on Thursday said it has picked Tampa as its headquarters to house key corporate services including finance, human resources and information technology.
As part of the deal, the company will create 500 jobs averaging at least $75,000 over the next three years and make a capital investment of $23.5 million into the Tampa region. In exchange, Johnson & Johnson becomes eligible for state and local incentives of up to $6.37 million the company would receive — once it delivers on the promised jobs and wages. ...
TAMPA — Just finding a place to park at the Tampa Premium Outlets job fair was itself a job worthy of a paycheck.
About 1,000 people packed the fair during the first two hours, resumes in hand, dressed to the nines, hoping to land one of the more than 800 positions available at the Pasco shopping center.
The convention space, in the Embassy Suites on Fowler Avenue near the University of South Florida, was bursting at its seams. Applicants, some of whom had started lining up as early as 6:30 a.m., stood five and six deep at each of the 59 vendor tables. Others sat at lobby tables, the bar, even on the floor filling out paperwork....
TAMPA — More than 2,000 Hillsborough County public school teachers received T-shirts this week that advertise a megachurch with conservative values, fueling a backlash from some who said the gesture was inappropriate.
The back of the shirts say "Staff" in large letters, and underneath are the words, "In Partnership with Idlewild Baptist Church."
"We partner with a lot of faith-based organizations, not just this one," said school district spokeswoman Tanya Arja. "They care about our schools and our students, so we're proud of the partnership."...
TAMPA — When receiver Russell Shepard hauled in a touchdown pass in the Bucs' preseason win Monday against the Bengals, he showed a flash of promise that his elite play on special teams could carry over to offense.
For two years, Shepard has kept a job on the roster by being the Bucs' leading tackler in kick coverage. His 14 solo tackles on special teams matched the most of any player in the NFL last season....
Offensive linemen aren't created overnight. They tend to get their size from their parents, and their appetites just might break the bank … or a few restaurant record books.
Dillan Gibbons, Jr., Northside Christian
Height: 6-6Weight: 320
It was apparent even from the womb that Northside Christian offensive lineman Dillan Gibbons was going to be a big child. Gibbons and his twin sister fooled hospital personnel when their mom went in for an ultrasound....