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Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014
Rays notes: Myers already making impact

NEW YORK - This is what Wil Myers did Saturday against the Yankees: singled and hit a grand slam off CC Sabathia, singled in the ninth inning off Mariano Rivera to bring the tying run to the plate, and slid hard into second base to break up a potential game-ending double play.

If not for a seventh-inning meltdown by the bullpen, Myers would have stolen the show. Instead, the Rays lost 7-5.

Manager Joe Maddon summed up Myers' afternoon in one word: “Outstanding.”
Myers, who served as the designated hitter, became the first visiting player to hit a grand slam for his first big-league homer at Yankee Stadium since Detroit's Rick Peters on May 27, 1980. He is the second Ray whose first major-league homer was a grand slam; Jorge Velandia did it on Sept. 25, 2007 at Tropicana Field — also against New York.

That Sabathia intentionally walked 3B Evan Longoria with two outs to load the bases made the home run a little sweeter, Myers said.

“Yeah, definitely it gives me a lot of confidence at the plate,” Myers said. “It felt good to do something like that and help the team right there.”

Equally as thrilling for Myers was facing Rivera in the ninth inning. He broke his bat swinging at Rivera's first pitch — it was the bat he used for the grand slam — and out-ran Rivera to first base for an infield single.

Expect Myers to bat behind Longoria against left-handed pitchers. Maddon did that Thursday against Andy Pettitte. Longoria had two home runs that night. In those two games, Longoria is 4-for-6 with three home runs, a double, four RBIs and four runs scored.

Price update

LHP David Price (left triceps strain) came through Friday's outing in Bradenton well and will make his next rehab start Wednesday in Port Charlotte with the Class-A Charlotte Stone Crabs.

Maddon said Price touched 96 mph with his fastball Friday.

Maddon didn't know Saturday how many innings or pitches Price will throw Wednesday. He also said the timetable for Price's third rehab start will be based on how well he responds to Wednesday's outing.

Also, RHP Brandon Gomes (right lat strain) begins his minor-league rehab assignment Monday with the Stone Crabs.

Longo vs. CC

Longoria's second-inning homer to center field was his 10th at the new Yankee Stadium, making him the all-time home run leader in the Bronx among visiting players.

It was also his sixth home run off Sabathia, tying him with Alfonso Soriano for the most off the Yankees left-hander.

It didn't surprise Maddon when Sabathia issued the intentional walk before Myers' grand slam.

“No, I was not,” Maddon said. “You look at Longoria against Sabathia, that's 10 extra-base hits. That doesn't really surprise. I told (pitching coach Jim Hickey) given the same choice I would have probably done the same thing.”

'A tricky call'

Vernon Wells was credited with a three-run double in the seventh inning despite the ball being touched by a fan sitting in the front row of the right-center field seats.

Maddon argued it should have been ruled a ground-rule double, with the runner sent back to third, which would have kept it a one-run game.

The umpires ruled fan interference, and in their judgment, David Adams would have scored. Maddon argued the Rays would have made a play on Adams at the plate had play continued, but CF Desmond Jennings and RF Sam Fuld both stopped once they saw the ball was touched.

“It's a tricky call,” Fuld said. “Technically he did touch it while it was still in play, but if he had let it go it looked like it was going to go out of play anyway. So really the fan helped them, because I think the ball was going to go out of play.”

As for Maddon saying they should have tried to get Adams at the plate after the ball was touched, Fuld said, “I was always told when the ball was touched, you throw up your arms.”

Colome's day

RHP Alex Colome, making his second big-league start, had an ugly pitching line: 4.1 innings, five hits, three runs, none earned, five walks, three strikeouts.

“The command was off a bit, but he battled extremely well,” Maddon said. “His stuff was very good. I thought he handled himself well.”

Noteworthy
The Yankees celebrate their 67th Old-Timers' Day before today's game, which is the reason for the 2:05 p.m. start. Among those to participate is former Rays C John Flaherty. Hall of Famers Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Reggie Jackson and Rickey Henderson also will be on hand. … LHP Alex Torres extended his scoreless streak to 20 innings. … Myers was used as the DH so Maddon could get starts for Fuld and LF Sean Rodriguez.