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Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014

Rays Report

A baseball blog by Roger Mooney

Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune and TBO.com. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald.

Rays seek to sweep Twins, send Archer to mound

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By Roger Mooney

MINNEAPOLIS – The Rays will try to keep their momentum going as they go for the sweep this afternoon against the Twins at Target Field.

The Rays (46-53) have won four straight and 13 of their last 17. They begin the day 8 ½ games out of first place in the AL East and seven games back of the Mariners, who hold the second Wild Card spot.

Chris Archer, who has not allowed a run in two career starts against the Twins, is looking for his sixth win of the season. He will be opposed by right-hander Kevin Correia.

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Cobb, Rays kick off second half against Twins

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By Roger Mooney

MINNEAPOLIS – The Rays return to action tonight at Target Field after the four-day All-Star Break to open a three-game series with the Twins.

The Rays remain one percentage point ahead of the last-place Red Sox in the AL East and sit 9 ½ games behind the first-place Orioles.

Alex Cobb (4-6, 4.14) starts tonight for the Rays against Kyle Gibson (8-7, 3.92).

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Hellickson sent down to AA to get work in

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By Roger Mooney

ST. PETERSBURG – The final day before the All-Star Break began with news that RHP Jeremy Hellickson has been optioned to Double A Montgomery for the purpose of giving him work during the break.

Hellickson will start Monday for the Biscuits then start Sunday in Port Charlotte for Class A Charlotte. He said he will rejoin the Rays when they return from the first road trip of the second half.

This makes sense because Hellickson has made just one start since returning from the disabled list after missing more than the first three months of the season after having elbow surgery in late January. The last thing he needs is to not pitch.

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Myers has cast removed

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By Roger Mooney

ST. PETERSBURG -- RF Wil Myers had his cast removed from his tight wrist and has been cleared to begin baseball activities.

Myers said his wrist, which he fractured May 31 in Boston, is sore from the inactivity. He said he does not know the time table for his return.

The Rays begin a three-game series tonight against the visiting Blue Jays that will take them into the All -Star Break.

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Rays start Tigers series with musical coincidence

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By Roger Mooney

DETROIT – No theme for this road trip – other than winning – but there is a theme for tonight as the Rays begin a four-game series with the Tigers: Tommy Tutone.

The lineup has a decidedly 1980s pop music feel to it. In fact, it might make you sing the words to Tommy Tutone’s 1981 hit, “867-5309/Jenny” since that’s how the first seven hitters in the lineup read by the numbers associated to their position.

Maddon said it was purely by accident and had more to do with getting as many lefties in the lineup against Tigers RHP Max Scherzer and placing rookie DH Vince Belnome, who bats left, between lefties 1B James Loney and RF Kevin Kiermaier so the Tigers will have a harder time chose how to use a lefty reliever late in the game.

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Hot Rays going for series sweep in New York

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BY ROGER MONEY Tribune staff

NEW YORK – The Tampa Bay Rays will try to extend their winning streak to a season-high five games this afternoon when they try to complete the series sweep against the New York Yankees on another steamy day at Yankee Stadium (1:05 p.m.; Sun Sports).

The starting pitchers are Jake Odorizzi for the Rays and Vidal Nuno for the Yankees.

Odorizzi leads all major league rookie pitchers with 10.56 strikeouts per nine innings. Only three rookies since 1900 have finished the year with a higher rate – Kerry Woods of the Cubs (12.58 in 1998), Doc Gooden of the Mets (11.39 in 1984) and Hideo Nomo of the Dodgers (11.10 in 1995).

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Rays recall Believeau to sub for Escobar

Published:   |   Updated: July 2, 2014 at 06:55 AM
By Roger Mooney

NEW YORK – The Tampa Bay Rays recalled left-handed pitcher Jeff Beliveau Tuesday afternoon to fill the roster spot vacated when shortstop Yunel Escobar was placed on the disabled list.

This adds another arm to the bullpen after Monday’s 12-inning win at Yankee Stadium. Beliveau could also hang around for a while since left-hander Cesar Ramos is expected to leave the team later this week for the birth of his first child.

The Rays have shorted themselves with position players, but they have been playing a man short since last Wednesday when Escobar missed his first game with a sore right shoulder.

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Rays’ Archer aims for some Yankee history

Published:
By Roger Mooney

NEW YORK – The Tampa Bay Rays look to build on the momentum gained from winning three of four over the weekend in Baltimore tonight when they begin a three-game series with the New York Yankees in the Bronx.

Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer has a chance to make a little history. With a victory tonight, Archer will join Hall of Famer Walter “The Big Train” Johnson as the only pitchers to begin their careers with five straight wins over the Yankees. Johnson turned that trick in 1907-1908.

The Yankees are starting righty David Phelps (3-4, 4.35).

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Decision on Escobar injury could come today

Published:
By Roger Mooney

BALTIMORE – SS Yunel Escobar put his sore right shoulder to the test by making 40 throws at 90 feet this morning. He will also hit in the cage before today’s game with the Orioles.

All indications are the throwing went well.

Manager Joe Maddon said he would like a decision today on whether Escobar needs to go on the disabled list or whether he can return to the lineup soon.

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Rays’ Escobar out again with sore shoulder

Published:   |   Updated: June 28, 2014 at 04:17 PM
By Roger Mooney

BALTIMORE – SS Yunel Escobar is not in the lineup for the fourth straight game because of soreness in his right (throwing) shoulder.

Escobar told Rays manager Joe Maddon he doesn’t think he will need to go on the disabled list, and Maddon still remains confident Escobar will return to the lineup early next week.

But, Maddon added, “I want to figure something out tomorrow.”

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