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Rays' Wil Myers admits he didn't work hard enough in spring

Wil Myers got off to a slow start, got hurt in late May and missed 70 games with a right wrist fracture, and never got back to form after returning in late August. [WILL VRAGOVIC | Times]
Wil Myers got off to a slow start, got hurt in late May and missed 70 games with a right wrist fracture, and never got back to form after returning in late August. [WILL VRAGOVIC | Times]
Published Sep. 25, 2014

BOSTON — OF Wil Myers acknowledged Wednesday that his disappointing performance this season is the product of not working hard enough in spring training after winning the 2013 American League rookie of the year award.

"Last year I came into spring training wanting to prove to everybody, wanting to prove to a new team what I can do," Myers said. "And this year I kind of came into spring training thinking I had already arrived and didn't really work as hard as I should have, like I did the year before."

Myers, acquired the previous December, was sent to the minors during 2013 spring training then joined the Rays in mid June and hit .293 with 13 homers and 53 RBIs in 88 games.

He struggled to start this season, broke his right wrist May 30 and missed 70 games. He wasn't much better when he returned, hitting .217 with six homers and 34 RBIs in 84 games.

"It's one of those things where I have to get back to proving to people what I can do instead of feeling like I already arrived," said Myers.

IS IT GOODBYE? RHP Jeremy Hellickson has heard enough trade speculation to realize his future with the Rays is uncertain. But he said he won't take those feelings, or any such sentimentality, to the mound tonight in what could be his farewell performance.

"I don't want to go anywhere, so I try not to look at that stuff and think about it," Hellickson said. "I know it could happen. I want to be here."

Hellickson has had mixed results since rejoining the Rays in July after recovering from January elbow surgery, noting a lack of "life on the fastball" and issues recovering between starts.

"It's been kind of up and down," he said. "One game I feel really good and the next game I don't really have much. Very inconsistent, I think that's a good word for it. … I pride myself on being very consistent, going out every five days and giving us a chance. I feel like I do that every other start right now, so it'd be nice to go out there (tonight) and have a good one and go into the offseason on a good note."

He said he has no pain in the elbow, but his arms has felt tight and tired after some starts: "I've recovered a lot better in the past than since I came back."

Hellickson is considered a potential trade candidate primarily for financial reasons, as his arbitration-driven salary is expected to approach $4.5 million.

SHORT-HANDED: SS Yunel Escobar's season is officially over, as he was sent to St. Petersburg for an MRI exam on his sprained left knee and a visit today with Dr. Koco Eaton. Manager Joe Maddon said head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield "is not anticipating anything awful" — such as any kind of tear that would require surgery and impact next season — "but we'll see."

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Ben Zobrist will get some of the time at short, but Maddon used the opportunity to look at Logan Forsythe on Wednesday and may with Nick Franklin for future backup duty. "I don't think either one is the guy you're going to have out there on a daily basis, but it's good to know that they can," Maddon said.

Maddon had planned to start Forsythe, who made 11 previous career starts at short, before Escobar got hurt, wanting to get some at-bats for his right-handed platoons. Sean Rodriguez started at first ahead of James Loney.

C Curt Casali's season also ended Wednesday when he sustained a concussion. Though concerned about catching depth, Maddon said there were no immediate plans for additional callups.

MISCELLANY: Rain is forecast to start around noon today in Boston and continue into the night, but that doesn't mean there necessarily would be an early cancellation. "It's the last game (of the season series) and finances do play into the discussion,'' Maddon noted. … OF Kevin Kiermaier logged his seventh triple.

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