TORONTO — A hit batter call against Rays RHP Steve Geltz led to Kevin Cash's first ejection as manager Thursday, but he said it was more to do with the replay review process as his lost his fifth straight challenge.
"It was probably frustrations over just the entire replay system,'' Cash said. "I'm confused by it a little bit.''
Cash challenged the initial call, that Geltz's eighth-inning pitch hit Josh Donaldson's hand, which replay officials in New York reviewed and confirmed.
Managers are not allowed to argue after the challenge, but Cash — who thought it was clear on the stadium board it wasn't a hit batter — couldn't contain himself. Two calls earlier in the series involving OF Desmond Jennings at second base also were not overturned.
"I just had enough,'' said Cash, who was ejected once as a player.
ARENCIBIA ADDED: Former Blue Jays and Rangers C J.P. Arencibia signed a minor-league deal and will join Triple-A Durham with a plan to get most of his at-bats while playing first base and DH, though he will catch occasionally.
Arencibia, 29, has averaged 18 home runs and 56 RBIs over the past four seasons with though with only a .209 average. He was released after spending spring training with the Orioles; the Rays had off-season interest.
"He's got some pop. … We like what he does offensively,'' Cash said. "Any added insurance he can provide, we'll kind of see how it goes, but we're excited."
PITCHING IN: RHP Erasmo Ramirez remained with the team Thursday, and at this point it appears he will be sticking around to work out his location issues and be available out of the bullpen as the Rays don't need a fifth starter until April 25.
The potential to get RHP Alex Colome or, less likely, LHP Drew Smyly back by then could impact that plan, as could a game that taxes the bullpen to the point where a fresh arm is needed. But the Rays apparently aren't ready to give up on Ramirez, who has allowed 20 of the 37 batters he has faced to reach base, with a .467 opponents average and 23.63 ERA.
RHP Matt Andriese threw a bullpen session Thursday and is lined up to start Sunday, though the team is holding off on making that official.
Colome, recovering from a spring bout with pneumonia, on Thursday made his second rehab start for advanced Class A Charlotte, working three innings (one less than scheduled, though he threw 58 pitches and felt fine), allowing six hits, including two home runs.
Smyly (left shoulder tendinitis) is make his third rehab start on Sunday for Double-A Montgomery at Jacksonville. Cash said the Rays were still planning on him making a fourth, which would line him up for an April 29 return. But a solid showing Sunday and a good recovery could accelerate those plans.
LHP Jake McGee (elbow surgery) made his first game appearance Thursday, working an inning (14 pitches) in extended spring. Cash said the reports were that he threw "really well" and the Rays will decide his next step, with a rehab assignment possible as he aims to rejoin the team by the end of the month.
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KARNS UP: Rookie RHP Nathan Karns starts tonight against the Yankees, saying the key to continuing his success is working ahead and challenging hitters over the heart of the plate rather than on the edges.
Karns, who flew home ahead of the team, said it was beneficial to have faced the Yankees in spring training. "I have a little bit more of an idea instead of just going off of paper," he said.
MISCELLANY: 3B Evan Longoria logged his 230th double, surpassing Ben Zobrist as the all-time franchise leader. … INF Tim Beckham is the first Rays rookie to hit two pinch-hit homers. … The Rays in a Sunday pregame ceremony will retire the radio call sign of slain Tarpon Springs police officer Charles Kondek. … St. Petersburg native RHP Todd Redmond, designated for assignment Thursday by the Blue Jays, could be of some interest if he clears waivers. … With a post-3 a.m. arrival home expected, the team won't take batting practice before tonight's game. .