ST. PETERSBURG — The Tampa Bay Rays took a closer look at two close plays during the first two games of the season and decided both times they weren't worth another look by umpires.
The first occurred during the third inning of Monday night's 9-2 win against the Blue Jays when LHP David Price threw over to first base and 1B James Loney slapped the tag on CF Colby Rasmus as he dived back into the bag. First-base umpire Bill Welke called Rasmus safe.
As manager Joe Maddon slowly jogged onto the field, bench coach Dave Martinez called video coordinator Chris “Chico” Fernandez on the new phone installed in the Rays dugout for such occasions.
Fernandez sat in front of a bank of 12 screens, one for each camera working the game. Four were focused on first base. One showed that Rasmus was out. Fernandez didn't think it was a strong enough replay to overturn the call on the field. He told Martinez, and Martinez waved his hand, signaling to Maddon to not ask for the replay.
The sequence was repeated in the first inning Tuesday when LF Matt Joyce was called out on a close play while attempting to steal second.
“As soon as a play is close, I go right for the phone,” said Martinez, who was on the phone with Fernandez before Maddon reached second base.
Within seconds, Martinez hung up the phone, shook his head no and Maddon returned to the dugout.
Fernandez, watching the replay feeds available to the replay crew watching the game in New York, has the final say during those situations.
Maddon said his instructions for Fernandez are, “Be honest. Tell me what you see. Don't be afraid of being wrong, ever. Just like I tell the players, don't be afraid of being wrong. Give us your best call and we'll go with it.”
Martinez said they might do away with the head-shaking and make signs that Maddon can see from the dugout. Maybe a happy/sad face of Fernandez.
“We're working on some stuff,” Maddon said.
Extra security at the Trop
The Rays, acting on the recommendation of MLB, began Monday using security wands on all those who entered the Trop — team employees, stadium workers, media and fans. The Rays will continue the security measure for the remainder of the season. This will be mandatory at all MLB parks beginning in 2015.
The Rays are also testing metal detectors, with the goal of having them in place for 2015.
Hitting the ground drumming
RHP Heath Bell surprised his teammates Monday when he broke out a bass drum during the post-victory clubhouse dance party.
“I like to jump in and be part of the crew,” Bell said. “I don't want to be on the outside looking in. I want to be one of the boys.”
Bell was inspired by a Kings & Country concert he and DeJesus attended in Tampa last month. At one point, the members of the band were jumping around the stage banging cymbals. Then one member came out banging a bass drum like he was in a marching band.
DeJesus said those would be great for the parties, so Bell bought a drum for himself and cymbals for DeJesus. Bell hid his drum in the clubhouse so the rest of the team wouldn't see it until after the first win of the year.
“I started walking around banging it,” Bell said. “They were loving it. It was a lot of fun.”
LF DeJesus was not in Tuesday's lineup because of a sore right foot, the result of being struck there Monday by a pitch. DeJesus said he doesn't expect to go on the DL and will return as soon as the swelling subsides. ... Maddon said he plans to hit RF Wil Myers second in the order on a regular basis. According to Elias, Myers was the third reigning rookie of the year to have at least three hits, two runs scored and two RBIs on Opening Day. The other two were Boston's Carlton Fisk (1973) and Raul Mondesi (1995) of the Los Angeles Dodgers.