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Friday, Mar 06, 2015

Roger Mooney

Tribune Staff

Rays backing gay marriage in Supreme Court cases


The Tampa Bay Rays have joined more than 350 businesses in filing a brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of striking down laws that ban same-sex marriage.

Rays’ Odorizzi makes spring debut today vs. Twins


Starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi makes his spring debut this afternoon when the Tampa Bay Rays play the Minnesota Twins at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte.

Rays v Twins: notes and lineups


ST. PETERSBURG -- Jake Odorizzi makes his spring debut this afternoon when the Rays play the Twins at Charlotte Sports Park.

For fans, spring training equal parts hope and nostalgia

- The chambers of commerce in towns like Dunedin, Lakeland and Port Charlotte are hoping for a good March as fans flock to see the boys of summer knock off the dust from a long offseason.

Cash not nervous about managing debut as Rays play Orioles


PORT CHARLOTTE -- Tampa native Kevin Cash debuts today as the Tampa Bay Rays manager, albeit in a spring training game against a split-squad of Baltimore Orioles.

Play ball: Rays begin Grapefruit League play today


PORT CHARLOTTE — The Tampa Bay Rays open Grapefruit League play today against the visiting Baltimore Orioles with another pitcher in camp.

Alex Cobb named the Rays’ Opening Day starter

- Alex Cobb will be on the mound against visiting Baltimore on April 6. He will be followed in the rotation by Chris Archer, Drew Smyly, Jake Odorizzi and a fifth starter to be named.

Rays notes: Spring schedule opens with Karns on mound


— The Tampa Bay Rays begin Grapefruit League action ...

Cobb growing attached to Oscar, but stray’s original owner located

- Rays pitcher Alex Cobb is growing attached to the stray dog he found Monday on a Port Charlotte street. So is Axel, Cobb’s American Bulldog.

After time away, Baldelli back on field with Rays

- Rocco Baldelli is back, wearing one of his old baseball gloves that he fished out of the back of his closet and carrying a fungo bat that he’s trying to master.

Dog gone: Rays’ Cobb finds stray in Port Charlotte

- Rays pitcher Alex Cobb found a stray dog Monday while driving to his rental home after leaving the team’s spring training complex, and the team is now looking for his owner.

Rays Triple Play: First camp casualty is Smyly's windshield

- The first casualty of the spring was the windshield of LHP Drew Smyly’s BMW that was shattered Monday by a batting practice home run by INF Tim Beckham.

Rays’ Rivera refusing to let his dream die

- Five years after he almost walked away from baseball, new catcher Rene Rivera hopes to soar in his first season with the Rays.

Smyly welcomes enhanced role since trade to Rays

- In Detroit, Drew Smyly was the fifth starter on a team that featured former Cy Young award winners Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer. Now, he is a major piece in a rotation that is the backbone of the Rays team.

Day 3 Notes: Montgomery to ‘pen, starters for 1st 3 games


PORT CHARLOTTE -- LHP Mike Montgomery is going to make the transition this spring from starter to reliever. The Rays feel his stuff plays better in short bursts rather than five or six innings, and it could enable Montgo...

Rays’ Beliveau eager for much more stable season

- It never gets old being told you are going to the big leagues. Just ask Jeff Beliveau. “Never,” he said. He should know. He heard it over and over and over - and over and over - last year.

Morning notes: Belisario injured, Zim honored


PORT CHARLOTTE -- The Rays first full-squad workout of the Kevin Cash Era began with the news that RHP Ronald Belisario has a fracture in his left shoulder and will be off the field for two weeks.

Rays release former first-rounder Josh Sale after troubled career

- The Rays on Friday released outfielder Josh Sale, the first-round pick from the 2010 draft who was suspended three times since 2012.

New Rays reliever Frieri eager to work with coach Hickey

- It is unusual to see the pitching coach suggest a mechanical adjustment during a pitcher’s second bullpen session of the spring. However, there were Jim Hickey and reliever Ernesto Frieri working on foot placement Thu...

Wilson willing to put in work to be Rays’ backup catcher

- Seminole High graduate Bobby Wilson feels his performance behind the plate this spring will help him land a spot.

Morning notes: Balfour returns home for ailing dad


PORT CHARLOTTE -- Rays pitcher Grant Balfour left the team and is returning home to be with his father, David, who is battling pancreatic cancer.

Longoria excited about Rays changes as he seeks old form

- Evan Longoria walked into a changed clubhouse Tuesday afternoon when he reported to the Tampa Bay Rays' spring training camp. There is the new manager and the new teammates, and they bring a freshness to the place.

Rays Triple Play: Souza could be Rays’ ‘Kam Chancellor’

- The Rays could field an outfield this season of Desmond Jennings (6-foot-2, 210 pounds), Kevin Kiermaier (6-1, 215) and Steven Souza Jr. (6-4, 225). Sounds more like a trio of NFL safeties, right?

Cash: Balfour could return as Rays' closer

- Manager Kevin Cash said it's possible Grant Balfour will return to the role he lost last June after a rough start.

Smyly clarifies tweet about Moncada’s signing bonus


PORT CHARLOTTE -- Rays LHP Drew Smyly caused a bit of a stir Monday night with his tweet regarding the reported $31.5 million signing bonus given by the Red Sox to 19-year-old Cuban free agent infield prospect Yoan Monca...

Cabrera shows versatility in first Rays workout

- INF Asdrubal Cabrera reported to camp Monday and worked out at both shortstop and second base.

Rays’ Balfour delays throwing to build arm strength


RHP Grant Balfour, who plans on earning the closer role he lost last season, will delay the start to his throwing this spring by a few days. The idea is so he can build his strengt...

Sternberg says clock ticking to build new Rays stadium

- Team owner Stuart Sternberg says the goal for having a new stadium, wherever that would be, has to begin with the assumption it will be in place by the time the Rays' contract with St. Pete ends in 2027.

With Price gone, Cobb now considered ace of Rays’ pitching staff

- It wasn’t too long ago that Alex Cobb had doubts. Now, Hall of Fame baseball writer Peter Gammons wrote this offseason that Cobb is the only “legitimate No. 1 starter in the (American League) East” until M...

Optimism abounds as Rays report for spring training

- The Rays took the field this morning for the first time in 2015 as pitchers and catchers participated in the first workout of the spring at Charlotte Sports Park.

New-look Rays have good feel for how the roster will look

- The offseason is over. Pitchers will be pitching and catchers will be catching this morning when the Rays officially open camp at Charlotte Sports Park with the first workout of the spring.

Rays’ Silverman engineers seamless transition after Friedman


— They are close friends, Matt Silverman and Andrew Friedman, always bouncing ideas off each other during their years together in the Rays’ front office, always ...

New-look Rays ready to shift focus to the field

- The offseason is over for the Rays. Finally. It was long, it was busy, and it came to an end Friday when Matt Silverman and Kevin Cash sat down for the first spring training news conference.

It's almost time for new look at Rays

- Plenty of unfamiliar faces will start to come together today for new manager Kevin Cash and new general manager Matt Silverman. Yes, spring training is here.

Rays position-by-position spring training preview

- The Tribune looks at nine areas of concern as the Rays try to rebound from an 85-loss season while embarking an a new era in franchise history.

Coming home: Rays’ Cash back where it started for him

- Kevin Cash is four years removed from his days as a journeyman catcher who played for five big-league teams. Now he’s a major-league manager, managing his hometown team.

INF Elmore signs minor league deal with invite to camp


ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays continued to add to their depth at middle infield Monday when they signed Jake Elmore to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training.

Age, price may be why ex-Rays pitcher Shields still unsigned

- New Year’s Day is in the books. The Super Bowl, Groundhog Day and National Signing Day fade in the rear-view mirror and James Shields is still a free agent. What happened?

Fan Fest autograph passes on sale Wednesday


Autograph passes for the 2015 Tampa Bay Rays Fan Fest go on sale at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Rays website.

Rays sign RHP Belisario, INF Casilla. LHP Zarate to minor league deals


Rays signed right-handed pitcher Ronald Belisario, infielder Alexi Casilla and left-handed pitcher Robert Zarate to minor league contracts with an invitation to major league spring training.

Rays Beat: Players’ winter workouts a perk for Cash


ST. PETERSBURG — One aspect of managing the Tampa Bay Rays that already appeals to Kevin Cash is the amount of players who live in the area and work out at Tropicana Field during the offseason.

Commissioner Manfred: Rays can succeed with ‘right facility’

- New baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said he shares Stuart Sternberg’s vision for baseball in Tampa Bay and believes a team can thrive in the area providing it has a proper venue.

Manfred's idea to ban defensive shifts not a hit with Rays

- New commissioner Rob Manfred offered a solution to halt the sport's declining offense: eliminating a longtime Rays strategy that has spread throughout baseball.

Rays’ trades beef up farm system that had gone dry

- The top three rated prospects in the Tampa Bay Rays’ farm system where not in the organization before the July 31 trade deadline.

Rays Beat: Beckham gets a chance in unsettled infield


— Is this the year Tim Beckham finally fits into the Tampa Bay Rays plans?

Rays promote Jared Sandberg to manage Triple-A Durham

- The Rays have promoted Jared Sandberg to manage their Triple-A club in Durham, replacing Charlie Montoyo, who recently joined new Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash as third-base coach.

Sandberg to manage Durham, Johns hired to manage Stone Crabs


ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays are expected to officially announce their minor league coaching staff this week, but Class A Charlotte sent out a release Wednesday morning announcing Michael Johns as the new Stone Crabs manag...

Rays Beat: Moves make them different, but are they better?

- Offseason transactions were aimed at shedding salary, yes. But they also addressed a farm system that was in need of some high-end, upper-level prospects and made the big-league roster a little younger.

Cobb avoids arbitration, becomes highest-paid Rays starter

- Pitcher Alex Cobb, who accepted the team's offer of a one-year, $4 million deal. was one of eight arbitration-eligible Rays who agreed to one-year deals by Friday's deadline.

Rays agree to terms with arbitration-eligible players


The Tampa Bay Rays agreed to terms with all eight of their arbitration-eligible players by Friday’s 1 p.m. deadline.