Rays journal: Logan Morrison blames process, not Gary Sanchez, for HR Derby mess

Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Logan Morrison (7) salutes skyward after his home run in the third inning of the game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays on Opening Day at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, April 2, 2017.
Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Logan Morrison (7) salutes skyward after his home run in the third inning of the game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays on Opening Day at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, April 2, 2017.
Published July 6, 2017

CHICAGO — 1B Logan Morrison's comments about being snubbed for the All-Star Home Run Derby while Yankees C Gary Sanchez was invited got lots of play in the New York tabs and nationally, but it didn't change anything.

Morrison (above), whose 24 homers are third most in the majors, is still not going. And Sanchez, who has 13, is.

On Wednesday, Morrison made clear his beef was not with Sanchez, who has 13 homers, but the MLB invitation process.

"That was not about Gary Sanchez whatsoever," Morrison said. "That was about a flawed system. It could be taken out of context I guess if you want, which I know (the Tampa Bay Times) didn't, but people could read the quote and say, 'Okay, he's jealous of Gary because he got picked.' It's not about that. (Milwaukee's) Eric Thames (23 homers) got slighted, too. How is that guy not in the Home Run Derby for the National League? It's a flawed system. That's it."

The MLB process, determined in consultation with the players union, includes factors beyond current home run totals such as past performance, All-Star and host team status and — ding, ding, ding — popularity. (Several Rays noted there were two Yankees among the four AL invites.)

Sanchez, asked Wednesday by New York media about Morrison's comments — which included the zinger, "I remember when I had 14 home runs. That was a month and a half ago." — tried to defuse any controversy.

"They gave me an invitation," Sanchez said. "That's something I have no control over. It's not my fault he didn't get selected."

Morrison doesn't appear likely to make the AL All-Star roster, as he has been last among the five candidates for the final roster spot. Voting, which ends at 4 p.m. today, can be done at, by texting "VOTE" to 89269 for a ballot or A4 for Morrison, and starting at 10 this morning on Twitter by using the hashtag #GoLoMo. The other candidates are Rangers SS Elvis Andrus, Red Sox SS Xander Bogaerts, Yankees SS DiDi Gregorius, Royals 3B Mike Moustakas.

Draft disappointment

The Rays acknowledged they will not sign their No. 2, and 31st overall, draft pick — RHP Drew Rasmussen, a hard-thrower from Oregon State. Facing a Friday deadline for draft signings, the Rays said they "were unable to reach an agreement" with Rasmussen, "wish Drew the best as he moves forward" and will have no further comment. That makes it sound a bit complicated, which it is. The Rays can't use the $2.135 million slot money elsewhere from the competitive-balance round pick in this draft but do expect to get a compensation pick, likely No. 32 overall, next year. Among still-unsigned players of note: 11th-round RHP Justin Lewis of Kentucky and 38th-round C JJ Schwarz from the national champion Gators.

Longoria doing flips

3B Evan Longoria gave his teammates and himself a scare when he unsuccessfully chased a foul popup, crashed into the low side wall and flipped completely over. "I tried to slow down as much as I could before I got there," he said. "I was scared anytime you go into the wall, and that wall's a weird height. You get nervous a little bit when you go over. It didn't feel great, but I'm okay."

Number of the day

4 Hits for CF Mallex Smith, who scored all three Rays runs.

Miller, other medical

INF Brad Miller, out since June 7 with a groin strain, is set to be activated this weekend, possibly today, assuming he feels good coming out of his final rehab game Wednesday night. Miller will be used at DH and second, in somewhat of a time-sharing with Tim Beckham (right), who also will get some games at short with Adeiny Hechavarria sitting out. … OF Colby Rasmus remains sidelined due to more severe than anticipated hip issues, with no timetable for a return. "We're just not getting the response … we were hoping for," manager Kevin Cash said. "It's going to take some more time." … Cash said SS Matt Duffy is set to have stitches removed from his left heel and soon resume activities.

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Quote of the day

"That's the most obvious answer to a question in the history of world."

Morrison, after asked if playing for a small-market team such as Rays leads to players getting slighted


• RHP Danny Farquhar, designated for assignment last week, accepted an assignment to Triple-A Durham

• Longoria's two RBIs put him at 51, giving the Rays three to get to 50 before the All-Star break for the third time in franchise history. Steven Souza Jr. has 55 and Morrison 57.

• Though it's the last series before the All-Star break, the Red Sox are in town tonight for the first time. Only once in 20 years has their initial visit been later. The Rays have already been to Boston twice.