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Rays journal: Alex Colome prefers ninth but is willing to go longer

Alex Colome prefers the ninth but is willing to go longer.
Alex Colome prefers the ninth but is willing to go longer.
Published May 2, 2017

MIAMI — Closer Alex Colome said he would prefer to work only in the ninth inning but is willing to continue trying to get four-plus-out saves when his bosses ask.

"The job for the closer is to throw the ninth," the right-hander said. "If they give me the chance to throw in the eighth, they need me, I have to do it. I don't have any problem with this. Every time my arm's good and I feel good, I say, yes, I'll do it."

The multi-inning assignments have become an issue because Colome has failed in his past three such outings, most recently Sunday, when he came in with one out and a man on second and turned a 1-0 lead into a 3-1 deficit.

Colome said he tries to take the same strike-throwing mind-set into these situations but acknowledged he is less comfortable coming in with men on.

"It's different, it's hard," he said. "Because sometimes when I come into the eighth inning there's men on base. It's different than when I come into the ninth, a clean inning, or in the eighth when nobody's on base. We pitch different."

Colome said he is "100 percent" healthy and had "no excuses" for Sunday's outing. He bounced back with a perfect ninth inning Monday to save a 4-2 win over the Marlins.

Foot sidelines Longo

3B Evan Longoria was out of the lineup Monday, and unsure about tonight, due to pain in his left foot caused by plantar fasciitis. "My foot's been really bothering me," he said. "There's never an excuse to take a day off, but at some point I was feeling I was going to have to, and (Monday) worked out." Longoria had similar issues in his right foot in 2013 that caused him to miss time. He said the left foot started bothering him near the end of the offseason and has been a factor since. "I've been playing with it since spring training and for the most part it's kind of up and down — you hope to have more better days than worse days," he said. "Just deal with it, take it day to day, hopefully I feel a little better (today)."

Pleas of not guilty

MLB officials are reviewing Sunday's incident of Rays RHP Chris Archer throwing behind Toronto's Jose Bautista. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said he expected Archer to be suspended, which would certainly be convenient since Archer's next start happens to be Friday at the Trop against, of all teams, Toronto. Gibbons' contentions is that Archer is similarly guilty to Boston's Matt Barnes, who was suspended four games for throwing at Baltimore's Manny Machado last month. But Archer, who insisted again Monday the ball just "got away," said Gibbons' premise is flawed. "I understand where he's coming from, but these circumstances are totally, totally different in my opinion," he said. "I'm not going to get suspended." Rays manager Kevin Cash backed his top starter, saying, "I don't think he should get suspended."

Roster shuffling

OF Steven Souza Jr. was right that his left hand bruised by a pitch Saturday wouldn't force him to the DL or even to miss much time; he was back in the lineup Monday. … OF Colby Rasmus was delayed again, this time by a canceled flight, but he still joined the Rays on Monday night and took batting practice, with the potential to be activated from the DL tonight or Wednesday. … With RHP Jake Odorizzi activated off the DL to start, RHP Ryan Garton, the Mitchell High product, was sent back to Triple-A Durham, having allowed six of 11 batters to reach and posted an 11.57 ERA.

Miscellany

. SS Matt Duffy and OF Colby Rasmus have yet to play a game due to injuries but were among nine names provided to MLB for inclusion on the AL All-Star ballot released Monday. Also: 1B Logan Morrison, 2B Brad Miller, 3B Evan Longoria, C Derek Norris, DH Corey Dickerson and OFs Kevin Kiermaier and Steven Souza Jr.

. Advanced Class A Stone Crabs SS Jake Cronenworth extended his hitting streak to 25 games over two seasons; the Rays record is 28 by Aubrey Huff at Double-A Orlando in 1999. … Triple-A Durham INF Patrick Leonard was named player of the month in the International League, which he leads with a .412 average, 17 RBIs and a .474 on-base percentage.

. Rookie RHP Chih-Wei Hu chatted before the game with Marlins LHP Wei-Yin Chen, a brief but important moment as they are the majors' only active Taiwanese players. "It's a big story," Hu said. "It's a big deal for him, it's a big deal for me."