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Rays journal: Some get creative with nicknames on uniforms

Adeiny Hechavarria, hitting a two-run double in the third inning, dons a nickname that translates as “the panther.”
Adeiny Hechavarria, hitting a two-run double in the third inning, dons a nickname that translates as “the panther.”
Published Aug. 26, 2017

ST. LOUIS — Several of the 20 Rays sporting nicknames on the back of their light blue and yellow softball-style jerseys for Players Weekend went with the obvious.

There were the ones with the shortened names, such as "Longo" for Evan Longoria, "LoMo" for Logan Morrison and "Odo" for Jake Odorizzi.

The ones with their fairly well-known monikers, such as "Outlaw" for Kevin Kiermaier, "Buffalo" for Wilson Ramos, "Dude" for Lucas Duda, even "The Horse" for Alex Colome.

The ones who opted for Spanish-language nicknames, such as "La Pantera" (the panther) for Adeiny Hechavarria, "El Mechon" (loosely "the party-starter") for Sergio Romo and "Flaco Fuerte" (skinny strong) for Chris Archer, who was called versions of that coming up.

And there were some that got a little more creative.

Peter Bourjos is wearing "The Needler" because Morrison said he likes to stir things up in the clubhouse. Steve Cishek is "SpeedPass" because his first job was at a Mobil station and his high school buddies called him that. Brad Miller is "Rat" because he not only fancies himself as a baseball rat but also because of a team nickname started last year as "the Tampa Bay Rats." Blake Snell shortened his video game and social media handle of "Snellzilla" and went with "Zilla." Steven Souza Jr. used the "SouzBot" after being called that for the flashing goggles he uses in a hitting drill and his dance moves.

But the two best?

Rookie Chih-Wei Hu was called up just in time to sport "WHO?," playing off the old Abbott and Costello skit. Though growing up in Taiwan, Hu said he was familiar with and as a kid had seen the routine, and he knew the potential — like countryman Chin-lung Hu, who played for the Dodgers and Mets 2007-11 — for jokes about his name, especially if he were to reach base. "That's me now," he said.

Manager Kevin Cash played along, saying he would consider using Hu as a pinch-runner so the Rays would have WHO?'s on first.

Since Hu was in the minors at the time the Rays picked nicknames, he didn't know someone on the staff had thoughtfully put him in for WHO?. "I had no idea," Hu said Friday. "MLB has a Taiwan Facebook page, and somebody told me they saw it on there."

But the overall top Rays pick had to be Tommy Hunter's "Two Towels."

And we'll let him explain:

"It was a little clubhouse joke," he said. "We had some towels that weren't very big. They didn't fit me very well, and I needed two. So I walked out (of the shower) and I said 'Tommy Two Towels.' So everybody laughed and now it's a big joke and it's making me blush.

"Everybody likes having two towels, but I guess I needed them more than some others."

Rays nicknames

Chris Archer: FLACO FUERTE

Peter Bourjos: NEEDLER

Brad Boxberger: BOX

Steve Cishek: SPEEDPASS

Alex Colome: THE HORSE

Lucas Duda: DUDE

Adeiny Hechavarria: LA PANTERA

Chih-Wei Hu: WHO?

Tommy Hunter: TWO TOWELS

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Dan Jennings: DJ

Kevin Kiermaier: OUTLAW

Evan Longoria: LONGO

Brad Miller: RAT

Logan Morrison: LOMO

Jake Odorizzi: ODO

Wilson Ramos: BUFFALO

Sergio Romo: EL MECHON

Blake Snell: ZILLA

Steven Souza Jr.: SOUZBOT

Jesus Sucre: SOOKY

Espinosa glad to be here

Having been released by the Angels and Mariners after hitting .167 with six homers and 31 RBIs, INF Danny Espinosa would have welcomed any opportunity, but getting to join a Rays team competing for a wild-card spot and stocked with players he knows from college (Evan Longoria) and the Nationals (Wilson Ramos, Steven Souza Jr.) made it even more enticing. "I'm happy that I'm here," he said. "The way the year has gone is not exactly how I wanted it but at the same time I'm coming here and they're in the playoff push and that's what I'm looking forward to is to be able to contribute however I'm asked."

Quote of the day

"Don't look stupid."

LHP Blake Snell on his mind-set for having to hit tonight; he is 0-for-5 with two walks.

Medical matters

2B Brad Miller was not in Friday's lineup and "still pretty sore" after being hit by a pitch on his right shoulder Thursday but available if needed and not expected to be sidelined long. "I don't think there's anything I can do to it," he said. "It's like that Charlie horse feeling when you go to swing or throw." … RHP Matt Andriese (hip) is set to make his final rehab start Monday for Triple-A Durham. … RHP Jake Faria (abdominal strain) early next week will throw the first of at least two bullpen sessions. … LHP Xavier Cedeno (forearm tightness) and RHP Nathan Eovaldi (Tommy John surgery) are set to advance from bullpens to live batting practices next week.

Miscellany

. Triple-A Durham clinched its eighth International League division title in the last 11 years and 13th in 20 seasons as the Rays top affiliate. Short-season Class A Hudson Valley on Thursday won its 13th straight.

. Rays president Brian Auld and other executives are in St. Louis accompanying representative of the team's top sponsors and business partners.

. This is a busy weekend in St. Louis. Friday was Pride Night at Busch Stadium; today is the Cardinals Hall of Fame induction of Mark McGwire, Tim McCarver and Pepper Martin; and tonight is the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 IndyCar Series race at the nearby Gateway Motorsports Park.

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