Make us your home page
Instagram

Rays initial callups: Curt Casali, Adam Kolarek, Ryne Stanek

C Curt Casali has played parts of three seasons with the Rays, hitting a combined .195 with 18 homer and a .658 OPS.

[WILL VRAGOVIC | Times]

C Curt Casali has played parts of three seasons with the Rays, hitting a combined .195 with 18 homer and a .658 OPS.

The Rays on Friday are expected to call up C Curt Casali, LHP Adam Kolarek and RHP Ryne Stanek in first of several waves of additions.

Casali has played parts of three seasons with the Rays, hitting a combined .195 with 18 homer and a .658 OPS. He has spent all 2017 with Triple-A Durham, hitting .263 with 5 homers, 48 RBIs and a .698 OPS in 85 games. He isn't likely to get much playing time but gives manager Kevin Cash more freedom to pinch-hit or pinch-run for the other catchers.

Kolarek made his big-league debut with the Rays on June 29 and stuck around a month, posting a 5.87 ERA in 11 games. He has a 1.65 ERA at Durham in 41 games. Adding Kolarek gives the Rays a second lefty in their bullpen and more freedom in how they use top option Dan Jennings,

Stanek, the hard-throwing 2013 first-round pick, also made his debut this season, and over several stints in the majors has posted a 6.39 ERA over 13 games. He has been dominant at Durham, posting a 1.21 ERA and eigth saves in 37 games. He will add to the bullpen mix with the option to work multi-innings if needed.

The Rays are expected to add other players, such as OF Mallex Smith, later in September,

 

Full Story

Rays morning after: Steve Cishek has been perfect addition to pen

Rays reliever RHP Steve Cishek is not really trying to be perfect. "I just out there and try to put a zero up every time I pitch,'' Cishek said. "Keep it as simple as I can.''

[WILL VRAGOVIC | Times]

Rays reliever RHP Steve Cishek is not really trying to be perfect. "I just out there and try to put a zero up every time I pitch,'' Cishek said. "Keep it as simple as I can.''

Rays reliever RHP Steve Cishek is not really trying to be perfect.

"I just out there and try to put a zero up every time I pitch,'' Cishek said. "Keep it as simple as I can.''

That's worked pretty well to this point, as Cishek on Wednesday made his 15th straight scoreless appearance since joining the Rays in a July deadline deal.

And that's made him a key piece of their reconstructed bullpen, often the first reliever in when the Rays are in positon to close out a win.

Typically that would be in the seventh inning, though he has learned - and more importantly, as a former closer, accepted and even enjoyed - that occasionally he'll be summoned sooner, such as in the fourth inning on Friday in St. Louis.

"Whatever it takes,'' Cishek said. "All of us down there will do whatever it takes to win this ballgame.''

Cishek started the year on the DL with the Mariners following off-season hip surgery and said he needed a little time after being activated in mid-May to get sharp.

But after a rough second outing, his performance has been dazzling over his last 36 appearances, his 1.05 ERA since May 21 the lowest in the majors, which will be a pretty good springboard into free agency this winter. …

Full Story

Rays rally for 5-3 victory, first series win in KC since 2009

Alex Colome, left, celebrates with Wilson Ramos after the Rays' 5-3 win over the Royals.

[Getty Images]

Alex Colome, left, celebrates with Wilson Ramos after the Rays' 5-3 win over the Royals.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The power has ebbed and flowed at times this season, but the Rays are hoping to be able to turn it on during the final month.

Wednesday's final game of August provided a good sign as homers by Steven Souza Jr. and Logan Morrison provided the margin in a 5-3 victory over the Royals, and their first series win at Kauffman Stadium since 2009.

The Rays had taken a 3-0 lead in the third, including an Adeiny Hechavarria homer, only so see RHP Jake Odorizzi, in another inconsistent and abbreviated start, give it right back on a three-run blast by Whit Merrifield.

But the Rays flexed their muscle in the fifth.

First Souza, delivering his 29th overall, 12th since the All-Star break and second off a lefty after his first 25 were against right-handers.

Then Morrison, playing in his hometown with friends and relatives in the stands, launching his team-high 33rd overall, and fourth in four days.

"To go up there and do something with the two homers was crucial,'' Souza said. "They're a team that prides themselves on momentum, and running with it. We knew we had to fight to get it back.'' …

Full Story

For starters: Rays at Royals, with a different look to lineup

Cesar Puello will be making his first start for the Rays.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Cesar Puello will be making his first start for the Rays.

UPDATE, 6:40: Cash said he was eager to see Puello play, noting how eager he has been to get it. ... Odorizzi's lack of consistency has been puzzling, Cash said, whether it's been residual from injuries or a matter of stuff but "ultimately we've got to get him to move past it, we need him to be good for us.'' ... Cash liked the idea of getting Souza off his feet with a DH shift tonight and then Thursday off.

DEVELOPING: The Rays will be looking to win a second series on the roadtrip tonight when they play the finale against the Royals, first pitch 8:15.

And with Kansas City sending lefty Jason Vargas to the mound, the Rays lineup will have a different look, with rookie OF Cesar Puello making his first start and Peter Bourjos also playing.

A key for the Rays will be the performance of RHP Jake Odorizzi, who has struggled with injuries and inconsistency much of this season.

The game not only will decide this series and impact both teams' standing the AL wild-card race, but could be a factor as Rays officials decide whether to trade any of their pending free agents - including some of the new acquisition - on Thursday before deadline to remain eligible for postseason play. …

Full Story

No Mets games at Trop this weekend; Astros headed back to Houston

The Astros will head back to Houston for their next series and host the Mets.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

The Astros will head back to Houston for their next series and host the Mets.

The Astros' stint as temporary residents of the Trop will end after Thursday's game with Texas.

The Astros announced Wednesday they will head back to Houston for their next series and host the Mets, with a doubleheader Saturday and a single game  Sunday.

Given the issues in Houston caused by Hurricane Harvey, the Astros series with the Rangers was shifted to the Trop.

It seemed likely the series with the Mets would follow, but Houston officials decided they could handle hosting the games this weekend.

"We feel that the Astros playing this weekend will provide a much needed boost for our city,'' Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said.

Full Story

Rays morning after: Why new lefty specialist Dan Jennings has not been right

In 16 appearances for the Rays, Dan Jennings has faced 30 batters and allowed 13 to reach.

Getty Images

In 16 appearances for the Rays, Dan Jennings has faced 30 batters and allowed 13 to reach.

When the Rays last month gave up 2014 first-round draft pick Casey Gillaspie for Dan Jennings, they felt they were getting a shutdown lefty reliever who would fill a key role in their bullpen not just the rest of this season but also the next two.

It's been a rough start.

Jennings on Tuesday gave up a three-run homer that was the key blow in a 6-2 loss to the Royals, and then after allowing a game-tying homer in his previous outing on Sunday against the Cardinals.

And both were to lefty hitters, Matt Carpenter in St. Louis and Eric Hosmer in Kansas City.

And that hasn't been his only problem.

In 16 appearances for the Rays, Jennings has faced 30 batters and allowed 13 to reach, on eight hits and five walks, and has a 6.75 ERA. He had a 3.45 ERA in 45 appearances with the White Sox. and had allowed only one extra base hit to a lefty hitter.

"I think I've had a bad stretch here and it's unfortunate it's compiled in my time here because I definitely don't feel like I've given them my best, and it's unfortunate. It's very unfortunate. And it's definitely dwelling on me, for sure.'' …

Full Story

Rays let another game get away in 6-2 loss to Royals

Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria makes a backward flying catch for an out on the Royals' Mike Moustakas in the sixth inning.

[John Sleezer/Kansas City Star/TNS]

Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria makes a backward flying catch for an out on the Royals' Mike Moustakas in the sixth inning.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Allowing the Royals the run that snapped their record-threatening 45-inning scoreless streak in the third Tuesday was a matter of circumstance - they were going to score again at some point.

But it was what happened after that that ruined the night for the Rays in a 6-2 loss to the Royals.

RHP Alex Cobb gave up two more runs but had a decent night overall, working through six innings. The Rays didn't do much at the plate, held hitless into the fifth while managing five on the night. Then relievers Brad Boxberger and Dan Jennings made a big mess in the seventh, culminating with a three-run homer by Eric Hosmer.

For Boxberger, the mistakes were seemingly small, a leadoff single and a one-out walk. But for Jennings it was massive, a left-on-left 2-and-1 fastball that Hosmer launched. Worse, it was the second straight appearance in which Jennings allowed a crucial homer, having done so Sunday in St. Louis. He pitched the eighth as well Tuesday.

Since joining the Rays in a July 27 trade from the White Sox, Jennings has faced 30 batters and allowed 13 to reach, on eight hits and five walks, and has a 6.75 ERA in 16 appearances. He had a 3.45 ERA in 45 appearances with the White Sox.

"DJ is in a little bit of a rut right now," manager Kevin Cash said. "The homer's got him now twice here lately. That's unfortunate. Have confidence he'll get over that and we'll move past it."
Jennings, who'd held Hosmer to 3-for-18 in previous meetings, said it was simply a matter of a poorly located fastball.

"A guy I'd faced a lot and feel pretty confident facing,'' Jennings said. "It came down to one pitch, and I didn't make that pitch. It's a pitch that is one of my strengths, and I ended up throwing it right down the middle and he did what he should, what a good hitter always will do, hit it hard.''

Cobb was most stung by the homer he allowed in the sixth to Jorge Bonifacio because of how it happened, on a hanging curveball.

"That one pitch, that one hanger, really hard to swallow,'' Cobb said. "It was a bad pitch.''

Cash praised the veteran righty for battling to keep his team close, especially through the fourth inning when he and catcher Wilson Ramos were having issues that led to a run and three wild pitches total, but Cobb took no solace in that.

"I don't think the performances we need right now are to keep the team in the ballgame,'' Cobb said. "As a staff, we need to do out there and do all we can to win the ballgame.''
The loss dropped the Rays to 66-68 and 3½ games back in the American League wild-card race.
The Royals ended up three innings shy of the major-league record of 48 scoreless, shared by the 1906 Philadelphia A's and the 1968 Cubs.

Reinforcements coming

The Rays are planning for a small group of additions when rosters initially can be expanded, then more players to be added during September, given there will be regular playing time and innings with Triple-A Durham in the playoffs. As for initial callups, it would make sense to see C Curt Casali, OF Mallex Smith and a couple of relievers, including a second lefty (Jose Alvarado or Adam Kolarek) to join Dan Jennings.

Waiver wire

The Rays are sorting through claims made on the players they put on waivers, discussing those who cleared and eyeing potential acquisitions, or preventing those by competitors, with claims of their own in advance of the Thursday deadline to make trades with postseason eligibility. One interesting decision could be a claim on or offer for 1B/DH Lucas Duda, who has hit a team-high eight homers since being added July 28 from the Mets. But he hasn't done much else, going into play Tuesday hitting .205 as a Ray, with his only four hits over the past 10 games being home runs. "I know our guys really liked him," manager Kevin Cash said. "Very similar to a lot of the hitters that we have here, especially Logan (Morrison), how they go about it."

Not-so-minor matters

INF Brandon Lowe was named MVP of the advanced Class A Florida State League after hitting .311 with nine homers, 46 RBIs and a .403 on-base percentage in 90 games for Charlotte before a promotion to Double-A Montgomery. ... The Biscuits on Monday clinched a third consecutive trip to the Southern League playoffs; Triple-A Durham already qualified for the International League postseason. ... Lowe was among seven players chosen to play in the Arizona Fall League with the Surprise Saguaros, joining Ps Spencer Jones, Dalton Moats, Benton Moss and Burch Smith (who has big-league time but is working back from injury), C Brett Sullivan and INF Kevin Padlo. Stone Crabs pitching coach Steve Watson is also participating.

Miscellany

. RHP Matt Andriese, as expected, will rejoin the rotation in place of RHP Austin Pruitt, starting Sunday in Chicago. Pruitt, who threw six one-hit innings Monday, will go into the bullpen and is expected to be available as soon as Friday.
. Kansas City native 1B Logan Morrison spent Tuesday morning hanging out at the Chiefs football practice, a belated birthday gift set up by his agent. Morrison enjoyed talking with stars such as CB Marcus Peters, LB Justin Houston, S Eric Berry and QB Alex Smith, and he arranged a shoe swap with RB Charcandrick West. Though Morrison - listed at 6-foot-3, 245 pounds - is big for a baseball player, he said being at football practice made him feel small.
. LF Corey Dickerson was well aware he ran through 3B coach Charlie Montoyo's stop sign in the fifth inning on Monday in trying to get his first inside-the-park home run, saying he wouldn't have done so had the score, 8-0 at the time, been closer.
. Though not ruling out a late September return, the Rays acknowledge that SS Matt Duffy won't be far enough along in his season-long battle with heel issues to play any meaningful role. Given that he'd need a 40-man roster spot to be activated off the DL, Duffy may be more likely to play in the instructional league.

Full Story

For starters: Rays at Royals, looking to keep two streaks going

The Rays feel good about their chances with veteran Alex Cobb on the mound.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

The Rays feel good about their chances with veteran Alex Cobb on the mound.

UPDATE, 6:35: RHP Matt Andriese will indeed slide back in the rotation, starting Sunday at the White Sox. RHP Austin Pruitt will move into the bullpen, and expected to be available as soon as Friday. ... Manager Kevin Cash said the Rays will make a few call-ups when rosters first can be expanded Friday, then more deeper into September as some players will stay with Triple-A Durham into the playoffs to get at-bats. ... Cash said it was pretty easy to stick with the same lineup after scoring 12 runs last night.

DEVELOPING: The Rays take the field tonight looking to keep streaks going, as they seek a third straight win and hope to extend the Royals scoreless streak that is at 43 innings, five shy of the major-league record.

After rallying to win in extra innings Sunday in St. Louis, the Rays on Monday snapped an 8-game losing streak at Kauffman Stadium with a 12-0 win.

In doing so, they blanked the Royals, extending their futility that has now been more than four games. The MLB record is 48 innings, shared by the 1906 Philadelphia A's and 1968 Cubs.

The Rays feel good about their chances with veteran RHP Alex Cobb on the mound. The Royals are starting rookie RHP Jakub Junis. …

Full Story

History at Trop tonight as Astros face Rangers

George Springer, Jose Altuve and the Astros will open a three-game series against the Rangers tonight at the Trop.

Getty Images

George Springer, Jose Altuve and the Astros will open a three-game series against the Rangers tonight at the Trop.

Displaced from their usual home in storm damaged Houston, the Astros will be joined by the Rangers to make history tonight when they instead open a three-game series at the Trop.

This is believed to be just the fourth time in MLB history a series has been relocated to a neutral site stadium due to weather issues, and just the sixth time since World War II games were moved to another team's ballpark.

Tickets for the games - 7:10 tonight and Wednesday, 1:10 Thursday - will be $10 with general admission seating in the lower bowl (excluding premium areas), available via raysbaseball.com/tickets and at the Gate 1 box office. Gates open one hour before first pitch, with parking $10 and limited concessions available.

The Astros may stick around through the weekend, with ample speculation they also will shift a scheduled series with the Mets to the Trop.

Here, based on research by the Rays, are three previous series shifted by MLB due to weather: …

Full Story

Rays morning after: How Logan Morrison's binging is a good thing

Logan Morrison has hit 32 home runs in what continues to be a breakout season.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Logan Morrison has hit 32 home runs in what continues to be a breakout season.

Home runs tend to come, somewhat inexplicably, in bunches for Rays 1B Logan Morrison.

After hitting just one in a 20-game stretch Aug. 3-26, Morrison on Monday launched his third in two days - and that after just missing one earlier in the game, giving him 32 in what continues to be a breakout season.

Morrison is beyond trying to explain his binge-hitting.

"No idea,'' Morrison said after Monday's 12-0 win. "If I knew I wouldn't be going through these six weeks of not hitting them so they'd just keep coming. Whatever it is, let's keep 'em coming and hopefully they don't stop 'til the end of the year, whenever that may be.''

Of Morrison's 32 homers, 15 have come in either the same game or back-to-back games. For further clumping, he has hit six in 14 games, six in 16 games, six in 14 games and four in 10.

Manager Kevin Cash doesn't have any good ideas why either, but says he's all for the hot streaks.

"I'm good,'' he said. "Let's do it.''

But he did throw out the idea that the milestones can occasionally get in the way. …

Full Story

Rays suspend top prospect Brent Honeywell 4 games for disciplinary reasons

Brent Honeywell, pictured during the All-Star Futures Game, has been suspended for four games for "disciplinary reasons.''

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Brent Honeywell, pictured during the All-Star Futures Game, has been suspended for four games for "disciplinary reasons.''

The Rays suspended top pitching prospect RHP Brent Honeywell for four games for what they are calling "disciplinary reasons.''

The Tampa Bay Times has learned it was for an internal incident involving being "disrespectful."

Honeywell has been angling for a call-up to the majors, posting an 11-8, 3.80 record in 23 starts for the Bulls. He earlier this season was voted MVP of the All-Star Futures Game.

Full Story

For starters, Rays at Royals, facing history with Pruitt on mound

The Rays will send struggling rookie Austin Pruitt to the mound.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

The Rays will send struggling rookie Austin Pruitt to the mound.

UPDATE, 6:54: The Rays shuffled their bullpen, calling up RHP Matt Andriese - who was to make his final rehab start tonight with Triple-A Durham tonight - to provide depth behind starter RHP Austin Pruitt. To make room on the active roster for Andriese, who was out since June with a hip injury, they sent down RHP Chih-Wei Hu and on the 40-man roster they DFA'd INF Taylor Featherston. …

Full Story

Astros games will be played at Trop this week

MLB is nearing a final decision on relocating Astros games from Houston and at least three are expected to come to the Trop.

Getty Images

MLB is nearing a final decision on relocating Astros games from Houston and at least three are expected to come to the Trop.

UPDATE, 6:50: Tickets will be $10 for general admission seating in the lower bowl (excluding premium areas), available online at raysbaseball.com and Gate 1 of the Trop. Parking will be $10 and there will be limited concessions available. Rays clubhouse staffers, such as longtimer Torian Sands, are busy packing up the Rays lockers now.

UPDATE: The move is official, with the Astros and Rangers playing a three-game series starting Tuesday. No decision has been made yet on shifting the weekend Mets-Astros series.

Game times for the Astros-Rangers series will be 7:10 on Tuesday, 7:10 Wednesday and 1:10 on Thursday.

Ticket information is not final yet, but there is talk of a $10 ticket for open seating with the option to donate an additional $5 to the relief fund.

MLB and the players union announced a joint donation of $1 million to various relief efforts, including the American Red Cross.

DEVELOPING: MLB is nearing a final decision on relocating Astros games from Houston and at least three are expected to come to the Trop.

That would include a three-game series with the Rangers starting Tuesday at the Trop. …

Full Story

UPDATE: Astros-Rangers series shifted to Trop starting Tuesday; Mets series possible

MLB officials have inquired about the availability of the Trop as a neutral-site venue for the series between the Astros and Rangers.

Getty Images

MLB officials have inquired about the availability of the Trop as a neutral-site venue for the series between the Astros and Rangers.

UPDATE, 4:18: The move is official, with the Astros aand Rangers playing a three-game series starting Tuesday at the Trop. No decision has been made yet on shifting the weekend Mets-Astros series.

Game times for the Astros-Rangers series will be 7:10 on Tuesday, 7:10 Wednesday and 1:10 on Thursday.

Ticket information is not final yet, but there is talk of a $10 ticket for open seating with the option to donate an additional $5 to the relief fund. More details are expected soon.

MLB and the players union announced a joint donation of $1 million to various relief efforts, including the American Red Cross.

DEVELOPING: Storm damage and aftermath in Houston could lead to the Astros hosting the Rangers at the Trop this week while the Rays are out of town.

MLB officials have inquired about the availability of the Trop as a neutral-site venue for the three-game series, which is slated to start Tuesday, and the Rays have said they are ready to help if needed.

A final decision is expected today, and any details - such as game times, ticket prices, etc. - will be worked out and announced later, though obviously quickly. …

Full Story

Rays morning after: Kansas City, here they come .. Uh-oh

The Rays have lost their last eight and 15 of their last 16 games in Kansas City.

John Sleezer/Kansas City Star/TNS

The Rays have lost their last eight and 15 of their last 16 games in Kansas City.

The last time the Rays beat the Royals in Kansas City, Joe Maddon was their manager, Ben Zobrist and James Loney were key hitters in their lineup and Wil Myers was their future.

That was April 8, 2014 - in a game started by Chris Archer - and at the time it seemed like a breakthrough as the Rays had lost their previous seven games there.

Instead, it turned out to be an aberration, as the Rays return to Kauffman Stadium tonight having lost their last eight and 15 of their last 16 games there overall.

And for no great reason why.

"They're our kryptonite,'' Rays starter Jake Odorizzi said. "In the past they have been. Hopefully we can change that.''

During the same five years, the Rays went 7-10 against the Royals at the Trop, so it's not a matter of total domination. (The Royals also took three of four at the Trop earlier this year.)

But put the games in the picturesque stadium by the highway and it's a different story. …

Full Story