Make us your home page
Instagram

Rays morning after: Why Alex Cobb was out of the game and Alex Colome was in

Alex Cobb said he had no problem with the decision, even though he had what would have been the Rays first complete game since May 14, 2016, in his sights.

Getty Images

Alex Cobb said he had no problem with the decision, even though he had what would have been the Rays first complete game since May 14, 2016, in his sights.

Alex Cobb obviously did a really good job pitching the first eight innings for the Rays on Tuesday.

So why didn't manager Kevin Cash let him pitch the ninth?

Because he had Alex Colome available to do so.

Cobb had thrown only 98 pitches, so workload and fatigue were not factors.

And he obviously hadn't been pushed too hard, not allowing a hit until the seventh, and working out of the only jam he had by getting a double-play grounder.

Basically, Cash said, he wanted to use Colome, who had struggled in his last two outings, figuring this was a chance, with a two-run lead and a full inning to work with, to get right. It turned out wrong, however, as Colome blew the 2-0 lead, though the Rays ralled to win 4-2 in 10 innings.

"That's why he's here, to close games, to finish for us,'' Cash said. "Alex (Cobb) probably had enough in the tank, 98-99 pitches, whatever it was. Managing a game, he's done enough to win.

A guy gets on, two guys get on, you're going to come out and I don't think it's an ideal situation given what Alex (Colome) has been through the last couple outings. I wanted to give him a clean inning. It worked out to a point. ...'' …

Full Story

Rays late-night bullpen shuffle: Alvarado, Pruitt down; Kolarek up

Jose Alvarado allowed runs in five of his last six outings and took three losses.

LOREN ELLIOTT | Times

Jose Alvarado allowed runs in five of his last six outings and took three losses.

The Rays shuffled their bullpen again after Tuesday's game, sending down struggling LHP Jose Alvarado along with RHP Austin Pruitt to Triple-A Durham, and turning next to LHP Adam Kolarek, who will make his major-league debut at age 28.

Pruitt seemed likely to be sent down to make room for LHP Blake Snell, who is rejoining the rotation, with RHP Erasmo Ramirez going to the bullpen.

Alvarado's demotion was warranted as the 22-year-old rookie has been struggling mightily since an impressive first month after his unexpected promotion from Double-A, allowing runs in five of his last six outings and taking three losses.

The Rays didn't have any obvious replacements, but are turning to Kolarek, who had been pitching well for them at Triple-A Durham, posting a 1.36 ERA for 33 innings over 31 games, allowing 26 hits and 12 walks with 29 strikeouts. …

Full Story

Top pick Brendan McKay signing with Rays for $7M bonus

Brendan McKay was the No. 4 overall pick in the June 12 draft as he starred as a two-way player leading Louisville to the College World Series.

AP photo

Brendan McKay was the No. 4 overall pick in the June 12 draft as he starred as a two-way player leading Louisville to the College World Series.

The Rays are set to sign top pick 1B/LHP Brendan McKay for a bonus just over $7-million, the Tampa Bay Times has learned.

McKay was the No. 4 overall pick in the June 12 draft as he starred as a two-way player leading Louisville to the College World Series.

The deal is expected to be finalized tonight.

Also Tuesday, the Rays signed 3rd-round pick SS Taylor Walls, who played for FSU.

Going into the CWS, McKay hit .343 with 17 home runs and 56 RBIs while going 10-3 with a 2.34 ERA in 16 starts, striking out 140 in 104 innings.

Being a two-way player is unusual, the Rays say that - at least initially - they will let McKay do both and see where it leads.

 

Full Story

For starters: Rays at Pirates, with Hechavarria active, Robertson sent down

The stellar view from the press box at PNC Park.

MARC TOPKIN / TAMPA BAY TIMES

The stellar view from the press box at PNC Park.

UPDATE, 3:26: And the Rays indeed have Hechavarria at SS and Beckham at 2B. Also, with no DH Dickerson is in left.

Rays lineup:
Smith cf,
Dickerson lf,
Longoria 3b,
Morrison 1b,
Souza rf,
Ramos c,
Beckham 2b,
Hechavarria ss,
Cobb p

And the Pirates lineup:
Frazier lf
Harrison 2b
McCutchen cf
Bell 1b
Freese 3b
Polanco rf
Mercer ss
Stewart c
Williams p

UPDATE, 3:09: Rays have activated Hechavarria and sent down Robertson.

Also, C Derek Norris was released; he had been DFA'd last week.

DEVELOPING: The Rays are back on the field tonight in Pittsburgh, and they will have a new look with SS Adeiny Hechavarria, acquired Monday from the Marlins, expected to be in the lineup.

Tim Beckham, who has been playing regularly at short, is expected to move to second.

The Rays will have to make room on the roster for Hechavarria, with either Daniel Robertson or Taylor Featherson expected to be sent down. Or given that they are playing under NL rules, the Rays could drop a reliever to have an extra position player.

RHP Alex Cobb will be on the mound for the Rays, with RHP Trevor Williams starting for the Pirates.

Lineups when available.

 

Full Story

Rays series preview: Who are the Pirates?

Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen, left, has rebounded from a rough start, while fellow outfielder Gregory Polanco, right, has fallen off recently.

Justin Berl/Getty Images

Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen, left, has rebounded from a rough start, while fellow outfielder Gregory Polanco, right, has fallen off recently.

After an off day Monday, the Rays head on the road to PNC Park for a three-game interleague series against the Pirates. Here's the information you need to know about Pittsburgh before the action kicks off.

Record: 35-41, fourth in NL Central

After making the playoffs in three straight seasons, the Pirates have fallen off the pace. They finished 78-83 in 2016 and have been even worse thus far in 2017. Their middle-of-the-pack pitching staff hasn't compensated for a defense with too many holes and a lineup that's hit the third-fewest home runs (74) in the majors. With stalwart outfielder Andrew McCutchen set to hit the free agent market after the 2018 season, the team could trade him and rebuild, but Pittsburgh's young talent could return it to contention in the near future.

"What are the odds that the Pirates trade Andrew McCutchen? I'm guessing good. … It's not out of the question that the Pirates will rally in the six weeks leading to the non-waiver deadline. More likely, though, they will be in roughly the same position as they were last year." (Ken Rosenthal, Fox Sports) …

Full Story

Rays make Hechavarria trade official

Here is the release from the team ...

 The Rays have acquired shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from the Miami Marlins for two pros­pects, right-handed pitcher Ethan Clark and outfielder Braxton Lee. Hechavarria remains on the Rays 10-day disabled list, retroactive to May 10, with a left oblique strain. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Rays have transferred right-handed pitcher Diego Moreno (right shoulder bursitis) from the 10-day to the 60-day disabled list.

Hechavarria (etch-ah-vah-REE-yah), 28, is a six-year veteran of the Marlins (2013-17) and Toronto Blue Jays (2012). He owns a career .255 batting average (573-for-2,248) with 78 doubles, 31 triples, 15 home runs, 183 RBI and 26 stolen bases. Since 2014, his 23 triples are tied for 5th most in the National League. He has started 572 games at shortstop since being acquired by the Marlins prior to the 2013 season, which ranks 2nd in the NL behind Brandon Crawford of the San Fran­cisco Giants (623). He has a career .979 fielding percentage at shortstop, and in 2015 was one of three finalists for the NL Rawlings Gold Glove Award at shortstop, along with Crawford and Andrelton Simmons of the Atlanta Braves.  …

Full Story

UPDATE: Rays finalizing deal to get SS Hechavarria for 2 minor-leaguers

Adeiny Hechavarria is a two-time Gold Glove finalist who could help settle the Rays sometimes leaky infield defense.

Getty Images

Adeiny Hechavarria is a two-time Gold Glove finalist who could help settle the Rays sometimes leaky infield defense.

UPDATE, 4:27: In making the deal, the Rays add an elite-level defender to an infield that could use the help. But it also raises a number of questions, such as will they now move Tim Beckham to 2B? Does this mean Matt Duffy is not coming back this season? Is Daniel Robertson or Taylor Featherston going to AAA? And what of Brad Miller, who was the starting second baseman but has been on the DL with a groin strain?

UPDATE, 3:37: The teams are in agreeemenrt on the trade, pending a final review of medicals and other details. The Rays get Hechavarria in return for Class AA OF Braxton Lee and Class A RHP Ethan Clark. The Rays would pay the $2.25-million left on Hechavarria's contract, and have control for 2018 when he is again eligible for arbitration.

Though Hechavarria has been on the DL for more than a month with an oblique strain, the Rays are confident he is ready to play.

Lee is hitting .318 with a .778 OPS and 12 steals for Montgomery. He was a 2014 12th round-pick. Clark, who was just named Midwest League pitcher of the week, is 3-2, 3.11 for Bowling Green. He is 22 and was a 15th-round pick in 2015, …

Full Story

Snell to rejoin rotation Wednesday

Blake Snell is headed back to the big leagues.

The lefty will join the Rays in Pittsburgh on Tuesday and start Wednesday’s game against the Pirates, taking Erasmo Ramirez’s spot in the rotation. Ramirez heads to the bullpen.

“We asked him to go down there, work on a couple of things, improve on some things,” manager Kevin Cash said. “He went and did that. We're happy where he's at.”

Ramirez was not pleased about heading back to the bullpen and declined this morning to talk about it.

Snell made eight starts with the Rays and completed six innings once. That was his first start of the season. He as 0-4 with a 4.71 ERA.

At Triple A Durham, Snell as 5-0 with a .266 ERA in seven starts, averaging more than six innings over those seven outings.

 

The Rays will make a corresponding move Wednesday.

Full Story

For starters: Rays lineup vs Orioles

Once again the Rays find themselves in the final game of a three-game series needing a victory to win the series. They’ve been quite good in these rubber matches, too.

Today it’s Jake Odorizzi vs. Chris Tillman of the Orioles.

Tim Beckham gets the day off as Taylor Featherston gets the start at second and Daniel Robertston moves over to shortstop.

No O’s lineup yet.

Here is the Rays lineup:

Smith CF

Dickerson LF

Longoria 3B

Morrison 1B

Souza RF

Plouffe DH

Robertson SS

Featherston 2B

Sucre C

 

Odorizzi RHP

Full Story

For starters: Ramos joins Rays and is catching today vs. Orioles

The day the Rays have been waiting for since they signed C Wilson Ramos on Dec. 12 has finally arrived. The player affectionately known as “The buffalo” to his teammates has been activated and is in this afternoon’s lineup against the Orioles.

Ramos is catching, too, which is a further sign the Rays feel there are no longer any issues with his surgically repaired right knee. We’ll find out later this afternoon from manager Kevin Cash as to what kind of schedule we can expect for Ramos. It’s doubtful he will jump in and take over the No. 1 catching duties.

Derek Norris was designated for assignment after Friday’s 15-5 thumping of the Orioles, leaving Jesus Sucre as the backup.

Also, hearing RHP Brad Boxberger (right flexor strain) will not be activated today. Boxberger, who completed his minor league rehab assignment earlier this week, said Friday he expected to be activated any day.

As for today’s game, rookie RHP Jacob Faria looks to extend his impressive start to this career against the O’s. He’s allowed exactly one hit and pitched exactly 6 1/3 innings in each of his three starts, earning wins against the White Sox, Blue Jays and Tigers.

Here are the lineups:

 

O's

Smith RF

Machado 3B …

Full Story

Rays morning after: Being aggressive key to Faria's early success

  Jake Faria has pitched 6-1/3 innings and has allowed one run in each of this first three starts.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Jake Faria has pitched 6-1/3 innings and has allowed one run in each of this first three starts.

Rookie RHP Jacob Faria looks to extend his impressive run at the big league level this afternoon when he makes his fourth career start, facing the Orioles in the middle game of this three-game set.

Faria has pitched 6-1/3 innings and has allowed one run in each of this first three starts.

His key to success is simple: trust his stuff and pound the strike zone.

It’s a simple, yet often difficult task for a young pitcher facing big league hitters like Josh Donaldson, Jose Abreu and Migeul Cabrera for the first time. Yet Faria’s success has added validation to his approach.

“You’re not going to get it unless you throw it in there,” Faria said. “If you come up and try to do something different than what you’re used to or capable of and the results don’t go your way, then you’re just going to hurt yourself from the beginning. It’s been huge for me to go out there and do my game and if it doesn’t work then my game doesn’t work. That’s the only way I’m going to figure out if it does or it doesn’t.”

Rays manager Kevin Cash said Faria is doing nothing more than sticking with the approach he used to his benefit this season at Triple A Durham.

  …

Full Story

For starters: Ramus to DL, Peterson back, no further moves

Colby Ramus is on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to June 19 with left hip tendinitis.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Colby Ramus is on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to June 19 with left hip tendinitis.

We were expecting a flurry of roster moves this afternoon and we got one. OF Colby Ramus is on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to June 19 with left hip tendinitis.

The Rays selected OF Shane Peterson from Durham, and he is in tonight's lineup.

RHP Brad Boxberger (right flexor strain) is with the team and said he is waiting to be told when he's coming off the disabled list.

"Any Day," he said.

C Wilson Ramos (left knee surgery) is also with the team. He is expected to come off the DL on Sunday.

"I'm ready," he said. "As soon as they tell me I'm able."

As for the rest of the team, the Rays hope to move four games above .500 with a win tonight against the Orioles. If so, it will be the first time they have been four games over since July 2015.

Chris Archer, who has had his struggles against the Orioles, is on the mound.

SS Tim Beckham returns to the lineup after missing the last two games with a bruised left hand.

The Orioles have lost 13 of their last 19 games, allowing at least five runs in all 19 games.

Here are the lineups:

O's

Smith DH

Machaso 3B

Jones CF

Trumbo RF

Schoop 2B

Mancini 1B

Castillo C

Kim LF

Tejada SS

Jimenez RHP

RAYS

Smith CF

Dickerson DH

Longoria 3Bb

Morrison 1B

Souza RF

Peterson LF …

Full Story

Rays series preview: Who are the Orioles?

Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Chris Tillman, left, has posted the highest ERA of his career this season, while catcher Welington Castillo, center, has slumped recently.

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Chris Tillman, left, has posted the highest ERA of his career this season, while catcher Welington Castillo, center, has slumped recently.

After an off day Thursday, the Rays remain at Tropicana Field for a three-game series against the AL East rival Orioles. Here's the information you need to know about Baltimore before the action kicks off.

Record: 35-37, tied for fourth place in AL East

Record vs. Rays this year: 2-1

Record since last facing Rays: 21-31

After starting the season 22-10, the Orioles have entered a stupor, winning just 13 of their past 40 games. Their pitching staff has allowed at least five runs in 19 straight games, the longest streak in nearly 100 years. On offense, the team's power — it ranks eighth in the majors with 103 home runs — hasn't compensated for a glut of strikeouts and a dearth of walks. It's a dramatic fall from grace for the team that had the AL's best record from 2012 to 2016.

"I'm not sure I admire any team more: The Orioles — outmanned, outspent but rarely outmaneuvered — have won the most games in the American League since the start of the 2012 season. ... Alas, they're headed straight into a ditch." (Ken Rosenthal, Fox Sports) …

Full Story

Morning after off day: Rays ready for slumping O's

The Rays expect Evan Longoria to be back in the lineup for tonight's game.

CHARLIE KAIJO | Times

The Rays expect Evan Longoria to be back in the lineup for tonight's game.

The Rays will attempt tonight to do what so far has been impossible this season: climb four games above .500.

The last time the Rays sniffed that rarified air was July 1, 2015 when they were 42-38.

They currently sit at 39-36, three games above .500 for the third time this season.

Their opponent this weekend: The Orioles, who appear to have run off the rails.

Thursday's 6-3 loss at home to the Indians was the O's 13th loss in their last 19 games. What's more, they have allowed at least five runs in each of those games.

Other than that glass ceiling at three games above .500, this series bodes well for the Rays.

They are 23-16 at the Trop, having won nine of their last 12 under the roof.

They are scheduled to face three right-handed starters this weekend, and they are 30-20 against righties.

On the other hand, they are only 14-17 inside the division.

Yet, they face a struggling Orioles squad that is without 1B Chris Davis (strained right oblique) and SS J.J. Hardy (broken wrist.)

Also, 3B Manny Machado is batting .228. …

Full Story

Some minor comings, including UTL Martinez opting for free agency

UTL Michael Martinez, acquired from the Indians for cash on May 18 when 2B Brad Miller was placed on the DL for the first time this season, cleared waivers Thursday and elected free agency.

Martinez played 13 games for the Rays and hit .077 after getting two hits in 26 at-bats.

Martinez was designated for assignment Monday when the Rays added INF Trevor Plouffe to the roster.

 

The Rays also signed minor league RHP Mike Broadway, who was released June 2 by the Nationals. He was assigned to Double A Montgomery. Broadway pitched in 25 games during the last two seasons for the Giants. He was 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA. He had an 11.81 ERA in 5 1/3 innings this season.

Full Story