Rays' Myers makes foe pay for intentional walk

Published June 26, 2013

ST. PETERSBURG — The Yankees tried it twice over the weekend, the bad outcome outweighing the good. The Blue Jays tried it Tuesday, and it backfired.

As far as the Rays see it, they're welcome to keep trying, testing rookie Wil Myers by intentionally walking the batter in front of him.

Saturday, Myers hit a grand slam off CC Sabathia. Sunday, he grounded into a fielder's choice. Tuesday, he delivered a single that extended the Rays' lead from 3-1 to 4-1, giving him eight RBIs in his first nine games.

So when do teams realize it's not such a good idea?

"Relatively soon I think," manager Joe Maddon said. "They'll talk about, 'Well, he got a hit against (Mark) Buehrle after they walked (Evan Longoria).' And they're going to talk about, 'He hit a grand slam in New York after they walked him.'

"I think as he continues to come through, that's going to go away. It's going to go away. Furthermore, he kills lefties, so go ahead. G'head, as they say back home."

ALEX THE MAN: LHP Alex Torres has earned praise for his impressive work out of the bullpen since being called up. And now he has officially earned a job as one of the key relievers Maddon prefers to use in even-or-ahead situations, joining Jake McGee, Joel Peralta and Fernando Rodney.

"It's all about leveraged moments and he's just indicated to us he can get good hitters out in tight moments, and I don't think it's a stretch right now to put him out there," Maddon said.

PITCHING IN: Thursday's off day allows for some flexibility, but the Rays opted to keep their rotation in order, meaning rookie RHP Alex Colome will start Friday against the Tigers and the other starters will get an extra day's rest.

REHAB REPORT: LHP David Price is scheduled for around 70 pitches (and at least four innings) tonight in Port Charlotte as he makes his second, and potentially last, rehab start (6:30 p.m., for tickets see

Price, out since mid May with a triceps strain, said he has felt great, and normal, since his 49-pitch outing June 19 for the Stone Crabs. Maddon said how Price throws, and how he feels Thursday, will determine whether he makes another rehab start or rejoins the Rays and pitches next week in Houston.

RHP Brandon Gomes, out since early May with a lat strain, said everything went well in his one-inning rehab outing Monday, "and, more importantly, I feel great" Tuesday. Gomes will pitch another inning for the Stone Crabs on Thursday, then work one-plus innings Saturday in a Gulf Coast League game and be re-evaluated; he, too, could rejoin the Rays in Houston.

NOT-SO-MINOR MATTER: Triple-A Durham manager Charlie Montoyo and pitching coach Neil Allen were named coaches for the July 16 All-Star Futures Game at New York's Citi Field.

NASCAR AT THE TROP: Hillsborough High product and NASCAR Sprint Cup series driver Aric Almirola threw out the ceremonial first pitch. The former youth baseball player said his goal was to avoid one-hopping the throw in front of his race team and his stepbrother, former USF infielder Ben Drawdy, and he did, firing a strike to Matt Joyce after exchanging jerseys with the fellow Tampa native.

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"This is something I dreamed about as a little kid, to be able to stand up on a mound on a major-league field and throw a pitch," said Almirola, who has four top-10 finishes and will race his No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford in the Coke Zero 400 on July 6 at Daytona.

DRAFT BREEZE: Third-round pick OF Thomas Milone and seventh-rounder INF Tyler Young were officially signed, making 31 of the 41 picks under contract.

MISCELLANY: Pitching coach Jim Hickey had a large bandage and 30 small stitches on the side of his head after having a basal-cell carcinoma removed. … Ben Zobrist was the DH because Maddon wanted to get him off his feet; Longoria may be in today's 12:10 matinee. … The Jays are activating SS Jose Reyes, sending down Munenori Kawasaki. … Peralta and OF Sam Fuld visited patients Tuesday morning at All Children's Hospital.

Times staff writer Matt Baker contributed to this report.