Advertisement
  1. Rays

Rays expect Brad Boxberger to fill in as closer

Brad Boxberger, who pitched a 1-2-3 first inning against Red Sox starters, says he’d be eager for a chance to fill in at closer.
Published Mar. 30, 2015

FORT MYERS — With returning closer Jake McGee sidelined for the first month of the season as he recovers from left elbow surgery, the Rays say they plan to use several pitchers in that role.

But expect RHP Brad Boxberger to get a significant share.

"He will be in a lot of meaningful situations," manager Kevin Cash said. "With some other guys, but for what Box did last year and the confidence we have in him, I would definitely anticipate him pitching in those leverage situations."

Since the Rays had a bullpen day planned, Boxberger asked to start Sunday's 3-2 10-inning loss so he could face the top Boston hitters.

He showed well, retiring Mookie Betts on an infield grounder, getting Dustin Pedroia looking at a high strike three and shattering David Ortiz's bat with a nasty down and away fastball.

Boxberger, who converted two saves in five chances last year while posting a 2.37 ERA, .155 opponents average and 104 strikeouts in 642/3 innings, said he welcomes the chance for more.

"If the opportunity arises I'll take it and run and do what I can," he said. "All of us in the pen are fighting to get that spot."

BALFOUR SET: RHP Grant Balfour made his third appearance since rejoining the Rays following a two week-plus stay in Australia for family matters and said he will be ready to start the season next week. Cash agreed.

"I got three outs today, I can't see why I can't get three outs then," Balfour said.

SMYLY EYEING APRIL: LHP Drew Smyly (shoulder tendinitis) is still limited to bullpen sessions but said he is confident of rejoining the rotation in April.

Smyly, who had his fourth bullpen session Sunday morning in Port Charlotte, said he is progressing daily and expects to throw batting practice this week.

"I'm very hopeful that I'll be pitching in April, for sure," he said. "Something would have to go wrong, there'd be a step backward for me not to pitch in April I feel like."

NOT-SO-MINOR MATTER: OF Andrew Toles, the Rays' 2013 minor-league player of the year, was released. Toles missed two-plus months last season at advanced Class A Charlotte due to what the team said were "personal issues." Team officials declined comment on the reason for his release.

GIVE AND TAKE: The Rays are looking to accommodate players in camp who aren't in their plans and have out clauses, as INF Juan Francisco does on April 5.

"We've got some guys that we signed and we want to do them right and communicate as soon as possible if they're not (going to be) with us and there's opportunity elsewhere," Cash said. "We're not looking to hold anybody back from being in the big leagues with other teams or anything like that."

MEDICAL MATTERS: RHP Alex Cobb (forearm tendinitis) said he felt good the day after his first throwing session and — after being off Sunday, though with Grand Prix starter duties in St. Petersburg — will play catch again today. … RHP Alex Colome, on the 15-day DL due to pneumonia, will advance to a 50-pitch bullpen session Tuesday.

GAME ACTION: Cash praised OF Steven Souza Jr. for hustling, and 3B coach Charlie Montoyo for sending him as he scored from first on 3B Evan Longoria's single to right. … C Rene Rivera had an RBI single. … The Rays (11-11-1) gave up the tying run in the eighth after errors by RHP Jhan Marinez and minor-league OF Thomas Milone on a comebacker. … After Rays minor-league OF Cade Gotta was thrown out by OF Rusney Castillo trying to tag up in the 10th, the Red Sox won it when Castillo singled and scored on Deven Marrero's two-out single.

MISCELLANY: The Rays are the featured team at 10 tonight on MLB Network's 30 Clubs in 30 Days.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. A rainout likely clears the way for the Yankees to pitch Masahiro Tanaka on Thursday. MATT SLOCUM  |  AP
    Northeast expected to be hit by powerful coastal storm known as ‘Bomb Cyclone.’
  2. Rays relief pitcher Nick Anderson has earned two postseason honors thanks to his stellar performance in the team's bid to reach the postseason Doug Clifford | Tampa Bay Times
    July 31 trade acquisition from Marlins named to Baseball America’s all-rookie team and wins top Midwest player award.
  3. The Rays' Tommy Pham proved to be one of the team's best players in 2019. His success is made more remarkable by overcoming a debilitating eye disease in years past that threatened his career. CHRIS O'MEARA  |  AP
    Tommy Pham spoke to more than 150 doctors in San Francisco about his eye condition, keratoconus.
  4. Joe Maddon had successful runs with the Rays and Cubs, and now heads back to the Angels. Tampa Bay Times
    Maddon gets a reported three-year deal to return to his original organization, and one that could use his help.
  5. Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Joey Wendle (18) looks from the dugout after losing 6-1 to the Houston Astros after winning Game 5 of the American League Division Series Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019 in Houston. DIRK SHADD  |  Times
    Sports Day Tampa Bay: Times beat writer Marc Topkin looks ahead to the offseason, Rays free agents and the future of the opener.
  6. Astros starter Gerrit Cole continues his dominant postseason against the Yankees in Game 3. FRANK FRANKLIN II  |  AP
    Houston takes a two games to one lead at Yankee Stadium
  7. The Tampa Sports Authority is scheduled to take up a renovation proposal for New York Yankees spring training home George M. Steinbrenner Field today. The Yanks plan to improve outfield views and concourses, revamp entry ways and add shade for fans. [Getty Images]
    The team will host a ALCS watch party at its spring training home Tampa
  8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) warms up before an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant) ALASTAIR GRANT  |  AP
    Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: What else went wrong in London, ranking the Rays, Lightning worries, Gators’ SEC title hopes.
  9. Yankees manager Aaron Boone talks about his plans for a bullpen day in Thursday's Game 4 of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium. KATHY WILLENS  |  AP
    The Rays Way could play a role in the ALCS.
  10. The Nationals' Victor Robles reacts as he crosses home after hitting a home run during the sixth inning of a Game 3 rout of the Cardinals in the NL Championship Series. JEFF ROBERSON  |  AP
    Washington rolls to an 8-1 rout, is one game from World Series.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement