Former Ray Davis getting first start against ex-team

Wade Davis says he’ll approach today’s start like he does every other, but the Rays say they expect his game to be elevated.
Wade Davis says he’ll approach today’s start like he does every other, but the Rays say they expect his game to be elevated.
Published June 16, 2013

ST. PETERSBURG — RHP James Shields beat his former teammates in his first start against them, and INF Elliot Johnson has treated them like a punching bag for much of the first five games they've played.

And today, the Rays face the third player they traded to the Royals, RHP Wade Davis.

"I expect his game to be elevated also," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I know he's struggled a little bit, reading his lines and everything, but I do expect him to pitch well (today). … These are all good players. We knew that when we sent them out of here, that they were all good and they were a big part of what we have done here in the past. I truthfully wish them well but not (against us). They've already beaten up on us pretty good."

Davis, a Ray from the June 2004 draft until the December 2012 trade, said today's game will be "fun," but he isn't treating it as anything special, concerned that he could "end up being in a hot mess" by trying to do too much.

"I'll approach it like I usually do, stay relaxed," Davis said. "They've got a good offensive team, and I'll just go after them. We're winning games around here. That's all I care about. I don't care about past stuff."

Davis did think he would have an edge. "It's an advantage as far as not having to learn new hitters," he said. "I've seen them in the past. I've seen them do good things. So you know your (possible) mistakes and your weaknesses" in matching up against them.

Davis, a Lake Wales native, said he has enjoyed seeing friends and relatives (he'll have about 20 here) and being back at the Trop.

"There's a lot of good memories, especially going around and seeing guys who work at the stadium that you were friends with and the staff that will talk to you and misses you," Davis said. "It's pretty comforting to know that you weren't a negative type of guy around here. It was cool to see everybody and say hello."

LINING UP: 3B Evan Longoria was the DH, and will be again today, the Rays hoping by Tuesday the plantar fasciitis in his right foot will improve enough for him to return to the field. … Luke Scott made his first start as a Ray in leftfield. … Struggling Kelly Johnson (4-for-49) was dropped in the order but made several good plays at third.

PITCHING IN: RHP Alex Cobb's injury might change things, but the Rays plan to call up RHP Alex Colome, under the 26th man rule, to start one game in Tuesday's doubleheader along with RHP Jeremy Hellickson or RHP Chris Archer, the other starting Wednesday. … LHP David Price said he felt "super sore" but in a good and normal way during Saturday's bullpen, the followup to Thursday's simulated game. He is expected to start a rehab assignment Tuesday. ... RHP Brandon Gomes, out since May 8 with a lat strain, throws his first bullpen today.

DRAFT BREEZE: Negotiations are under way with the top two draft picks, C Nick Ciuffo ($1.97 million assigned value) and RHP Ryan Stanek ($1.76M), and Rays officials remain optimistic. … Second-round pick Riley Unroe got a $1 million bonus, per Baseball America, which was about 8 percent above his $927,500 value.

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MINOR MATTERS: Stone Crabs 3B Richie Shaffer and C Curt Casali had RBIs and RHP Ryan Carpenter pitched a shutout inning at Saturday's advanced Class A Florida State League All-Star game in Dunedin. … DH/1B Shelley Duncan is away from Durham this weekend to attend funeral services for his mother, Jeanine, who died June 6 after a battle with brain cancer.

MISCELLANY: As part of today's Bark in the Park event, the Rays Wives group will hold a dog and cat pet food drive (preferably Science Diet brand) to benefit the Pet Pal Animal Shelter. … Maddon will attend Monday's grand opening of the Hazleton (Pa.) Integration Project's Hazleton One Community Center.