CLEARWATER — Before Thursday's spring training game against the Phillies, 2B Logan Forsythe said he talked to his coaches about his condition — he left a home game against the Phillies on Tuesday after being hit in the elbow with a pitch — and whether he was ready to take back his usual spot in the lineup.
Not wanting to get out of a rhythm of spring at-bats, Forsythe decided that if he felt good during batting practice, he'd go. He did, Forsythe said, so he went.
The moment the game started, the Rays were glad he did.
On just the second pitch of the game, Forsythe hit a home run, giving the Rays a lead they'd ride all the way to a 6-1 victory.
"The soreness was still there a little bit with the elbow, but no limitations, really," said Forsythe, who finished 1-for-3. "I could tell it didn't really affect many of the swings, so I think we're okay."
And Forsythe wasn't the only one to make a triumphant return.
DH Steve Pearce last played in a game against the Red Sox on March 7 before being sidelined with calf tightness. In the sixth inning against the Phillies, he made the most of his fresh start, hitting a home run to centerfield to break open a tie game.
"I wanted to take advantage of these at-bats and try to get my swing right for the season," Pearce said about his shot.
PROUD PAPA: Monday, while the Rays were playing a spring training game against the Braves, OF Brandon Guyer became a father for the second time when wife Lindsay gave birth to their son, Camden.
Guyer had been off since then, spending time with his family and getting acquainted with the new baby. He said Riley, who was born in December 2014, is still getting used to the idea of having a sibling.
"She just kind of wants to poke and prod. She doesn't really understand what's going on," Guyer said. "She's like, 'What is this thing taking attention from me.' He'll be crying a lot and she'll look over, 'Oh it's real, it's not just a baby doll. It's the real thing.' "
Guyer returned to the team Thursday, starting in rightfield and finishing 1-for-3. For the now father of two, a new baby and a new season coinciding is a lot of excitement all at once.
But both things are quick to bring a smile to his face.
"I'm always excited for the season to start, and to have a new kid, it's awesome. It's such a blessing," Guyer said. "I'm glad it's over and now I can look forward to the season and look forward to raising him."
GAME PLAY: The Rays had four home runs against the Phillies, with Forsythe, Pearce, INF Richie Shaffer and OF Mikie Mahtook coming up with the big swings. LHP Matt Moore was also a bright spot for the Rays, as he threw 42/3 innings, giving up five hits, one run and no walks and striking out eight. The Phillies' run came on a shot from DH Ryan Howard in the fourth inning.
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MISCELLANY: 3B Evan Longoria left the game after one inning because of a left shin contusion he sustained when he fouled a ball off his shin during a first-inning at-bat. He was soon replaced by Shaffer, though manager Kevin Cash said he was walking around just fine afterward. "I think it just got pretty sore on him," Cash said after the game. "He squared it up pretty good." … RHP Erasmo Ramirez was originally lined up to start today against the Red Sox, but he will be starting a minor-league game instead. The Rays will go with LHP Dana Eveland and a handful of relievers, including RHP Alex Colome.