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Rickie Weeks continues impressive spring for Rays

Rickie Weeks is 7-for-10 with two home runs and six RBIs this spring. But he’s not locked in.
Rickie Weeks is 7-for-10 with two home runs and six RBIs this spring. But he’s not locked in.
Published Mar. 4, 2017

PORT CHARLOTTE — 1B Rickie Weeks is what? Toasty? On fire? Tearing it up?

"He's locked in," manager Kevin Cash said after Weeks had two doubles and two RBIs Friday in the Rays' 5-2 victory over the visiting Tigers.

In five games, Weeks is 7-for-10 with three doubles, two home runs, six RBIs, six runs, 16 total bases, a 1.600 slugging percentage and a .700 on-base percentage.

"I don't like that word locked in," Weeks said. "I'm not familiar with it."

"Well then he's not locked in," Cash said. "That's fine. I'll go with that. He's the last guy I want to (tick) off. Whatever he feels, keep it up."

Meet Mallex

OF Mallex Smith made his debut Friday after CF Kevin Kiermaier was scratched from the lineup because of a stiff neck.

Smith, who was held back this spring because of tightness in his left side, had an eventful day. He dropped a fly ball in centerfield in the first inning, then laid down a perfect bunt to third in the second inning.

On the bunt: "I love bunting, I feel like it's a lost art. I feel like I'm going to bring it to the table a lot."

On the error: "The wind didn't play any part of me dropping the ball. I dropped the ball, okay. But (the wind) did make it fade a little bit on me."

About Kiermaier

CF Kevin Kiermaier is not sure when he will return to the lineup but said he doesn't expect to be out long with his stiff neck.

"I can't look left right now," he said. "It does feel a lot better (Friday). I know this is one of those things where I can wake up and it will be gone. I'm just waiting for that moment, but for the now the best thing I can do is nothing."

Kiermaier, who said he feels the pain in his trapezius region, doesn't know what triggered it. He might have slept on it wrong or it might have happened in the weight room or while taking batting practice.

"There's nothing wrong," he said. "No one is worried about this at all."

Cedeno returns

LHP Xavier Cedeno, pitching in a game for the first time since Aug. 29, retired the Tigers in order during the fourth inning. He missed the final month of 2016 with a sore neck.

"The main thing is just throwing the ball over the plate, and I did," he said. "I was lucky that everything was one line, straight to home plate. I was pretty surprised. Was warming up in the bullpen and I didn't feel that way. I thought maybe I was a little bit nervous, anxious. But when I got out there, it all came back."

Game stuff: Rays 5, Tigers 2

LHP Ryan Yarbrough struck out five and threw 20 of his 25 pitches for strikes during the first two innings Friday. … 3B Evan Longoria had two hits. … 2B Brad Miller got his first two hits of the spring. The first was a leadoff double in the second inning.

Spring things

• RHP Shawn Tolleson allowed two runs on two hits and a walk in his spring debut. His fastball topped out at 92 mph. RHP Alex Colome also made his spring debut. He struck out two in a perfect inning.

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Kevin Cash said RHP Brad Boxberger will make his debut next week.

• RHP Chih-Wei Hu retired the final six hitters to earn the save.

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