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For starters: Rays looking to get even with Angels, with no TV

Matt Andriese will start for the Rays.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Matt Andriese will start for the Rays.

The Rays are looking for a split in the four-game series with the Angels in today's 1:10 matinee, a game that is not on TV in the Tampa Bay market.

RHP Matt Andriese will start for the Rays, seeking to go deeper than his last start, when he was ejected after hitting New York's Aaron Judge with his first pitch of the sixth.

The Angels are starting RHP Daniel Wright, a call-up from Triple-A to replace injured Alex Meyer.

The Rays lineup has a slightly different look, with Tim Beckham getting the day off and Daniel Robertson at short, with Michael Martinez at second. Also, Jesus Sucre is catching.

Here is the Rays lineup:
Dickerson lf,
Kiermaier cf,
Longoria 3b,
Morrison 1b,
Souza RF,
Rasmus DH,
Robertson SS,
Martinez 2b,
Sucre c,
Andriese p

And here is the Angels lineup:
Maybin cf
Trout dh
Valbuena 3b
Simmons ss
Calhoun rf
Marte 1b
Revere lf
Graterol c
Espinosa 2b
Wright p

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Morning after: Souza comes alive and other notes from Wednesday's win

Steven Souza Jr. turned in his first multi-hit game since his three-hit game April 25 at Baltimore.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Steven Souza Jr. turned in his first multi-hit game since his three-hit game April 25 at Baltimore.

The slump began for Steven Souza Jr., in late April when he noticed pitchers were making adjustments in reaction to his hot start to the season. Problem was, Souza was slow to make his adjustments.

On April 29, Souza was batting .349/.426/.590 with 11 extra-base hits and 17 RBI through the Rays first 22 games. Since then he was hitting .119/.286/.194 with three extra-base hits and six RBI. That slide included a 1-for-19 with runners in scoring position.

Souza brought an 8-for-67 funk into his first at-bat Wednesday then launched an 0-1 fastball from Angels right-hander Rickey Nolasco 423-feet over the centerfield fence for a two-run homer, the first of his two home runs in the Rays 5-2 victory.

“I was honestly trying to get a good pitch to hit, whatever it was, and barrel it up,” Souza said. “Really just trying to be in control of the at-bat and I got some in some good counts and do some damage.”

His second homer came on a 2-0 pitch in the seventh and found the seats in left-center for the final run of the night.

It was the fourth two-homer came of his career and doubled the amount he hit during his last 22 games (21 starts).  …

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UPDATED: Rays activate Tommy Hunter, place Jumbo Diaz on DL

Tommy Hunter was activated from the disabled list for Thursday's series finale against the Angels.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Tommy Hunter was activated from the disabled list for Thursday's series finale against the Angels.

UPDATED, 9:40: The Rays did activate Hunter this morning, and placed Diaz on the DL with "right arm fatigue, retroactive to Tuesday.

DEVELOPING: The Rays plan to activate RHP Tommy Hunter from the DL for Thursday's series finale against the Angels.

Hunter has missed a month due to a calf strain. He threw well in and felt good after a one-inning rehab appearance on Tuesday in Port Charlotte.

To make room for Hunter, the Rays could send RHP Ryan Garton, who was called up Wednesday, back to Triple-A Durham, or they could either drop or put on the DL RHP Jumbo Diaz, who has been limited.

Garton was called up to replace RHP Diego Moreno, who went on the DL due to shoulder bursitis.

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For starters: Rays looking for runs and a win

Erasmo Ramirez makes his third start of the season.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Erasmo Ramirez makes his third start of the season.

UPDATE, 5:10: The Rays put RHP Diego Moreno on the DL with shoulder bursitis and called up RHP Ryan Garton, who is 2-0, 0.59 in 12 games at Durham with 24 strikeouts in 15 1/3 innings. ... Cash said RHP Tommy Hunter came through his Tuesday rehab assignment fine and is likely to be activated soon. ... 2B Brad Miller (abdominal strain) made some progress today in terms of running and swinging but there is still no set day for his return. ... RHP Daniel Wright will come up from Triple-A and replace RHP Alex Meyer as the Angels Thursday starter; Meyer has back stiffness.

Here is the Angels lineup:
Maybin rf
Trout cf
Pujols dh
Valbuena 1b
Revere lf
Simmons ss
Maldonado c
Fontana 2b
Pennington 3b
Nolasco p

DEVELOPING: The Rays try to snap their three-game losing streak tonight against the visiting Angels.

The offense that carried them to six wins in a stretch of nine games disappeared Sunday against the Yankees and has yet to return.

The Angels have held the Rays to two runs – zero in the last 17 innings – and 10 hits in the first two games of this four-game series.

Erasmo Ramirez makes his third start of the season, his second since replacing Blake Snell in the rotation.  …

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Rays morning after: Are cold bats a sign of things to come?

Steven Souza Jr. extended his weeks-long skid to 8-for-67.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Steven Souza Jr. extended his weeks-long skid to 8-for-67.

How does an offense that has ranked among the most productive in the league for seven weeks go so cold?

The 17 straight zeroes by the Rays hitters are quite glaring, but you can go back to Sunday, when they were held to two runs by Yankees lefty CC Sabathia and company for the start of the skid. In three games, the Rays have scored just four runs, and rapped only 14 hits total.

Baseball is a team game comprised of a series of individual battles, so you make the case it starts there.

And they aren't winning enough of them.

Take Steven Souza Jr.'s at-bat in the seventh inning Tuesday when he had bases loaded and one out and couldn't even put the ball in play, the strikeout extending his weeks-long skid to 8-for-67.

"I've just got to do a better job of getting runners in ... from third base,'' Souza said. "I think that's plain and simple right there. Anytime you have less than two outs with a runner on third, strikeouts or hitting homers, we've got to figure out a way to get him in and I'm the head of that right there. So we get a run right there it's 2-1, momentum kind of shifts back to us a little bit. We've got figure out a way to get the job done." …

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The homer that almost was hurts Rays in Tuesday's loss

What could have been the game-winning blast turned into a long single for Colby Rasmus.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

What could have been the game-winning blast turned into a long single for Colby Rasmus.

The Rays offense was going nowhere Tuesday. Just a bunt single by Tim Beckham in the second inning and a pair of walks through six innings against Angels right-hander Matt Shoemaker.

But this is an offense that lives on the long ball, and with Alex Cobb shutting down the Angels offense after allowing back-to-back solo homers to start the game, the Rays had a chance.

It came in the seventh, and as quickly as it came, it was gone.

With runners on first and second, Colby Rasmus launched what looked like a three-run homer to right field. Only the ball didn’t carry far enough.

What could have been the game-winning blast turned into a long single and a frustrating turn of events in the middle of a frustrating inning in what ended as a 4-0 loss.

The ball struck the top of the fence, just above the glove of Angels rightfielder Kole Calhoun, who tried to make a leaping catch.

Because of that, Logan Morrison, who was on second after a one-out double, had to hold until the ball hit the fence and could only advance as far as third. Beckham, on first after a walk, could only move up a base.  …

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Wilson Ramos feeling good and confident, eyeing late June return to Rays

Wilson Ramos is aiming to be back with the Rays by this time next month.

WILL VRAGOVIC / TAMPA BAY TIMES

Wilson Ramos is aiming to be back with the Rays by this time next month.

Sitting on the bench in the Rays dugout in his full catcher's gear, Wilson Ramos talked excitedly Tuesday about the progress in his recovery from right knee surgery and the potential to be back in the major leagues by this time next month.

"I feel like a player right now,'' Ramos said.

Ramos, 29, is doing full workouts behind the plate, catching pitches, blocking balls and throwing to bases, all significant milestones since his Oct. 14 surgery to repair a torn ACL as well as his medial and lateral meniscus. He has also been hitting and running.

"It feels great,'' he said.

The plan for now, Ramos said, is to go to extended spring training next week for some at-bats, then to start a rehab assignment around May 28. With rehabs limited to 20 days, that should put him, with no setbacks, back in the majors around the third week of June, well ahead of schedule.

"That's pretty good for me and for the team,'' said Ramos, a 2016 All-Star with Washington who signed a two-year deal with the Rays. "All the expectation was for after the All-Star break. Now I feel a lot better, I feel confident, I feel strong. ... I want to be behind the plate as soon as possible.'' …

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For starters: Rays vs. Angels, with Cobb leading the way

Alex Cobb will start tonight when the Rays play the Angels.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Alex Cobb will start tonight when the Rays play the Angels.

UPDATE, 5:32: 2B Brad Miller (abdominal strain) is not doing much in the way of baseball activity yet so that means he won't be ready when eligible to come off the DL on Friday. ... SS Matt Duffy (left heel) said he is still slowed by the big left toe he bruised taking BP on Saturday and does not have a date to resume his rehab assignment. ... C Wilson Ramos (right knee surgery) continues to make progress in his workouts and is aiming to get some at-bats in extended spring training next week and start a rehab assignment around May 28 and make a mid- to late-June return, which would be ahead of schedule.

Here is the Angels lineup:
Maybin lf
Trout cf
Pujols dh
Valbuena 1b
Simmons ss
Calhoun rf
Maldonado c
Espinosa 2b
Pennington 3b
Shoemaker p


 …

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Morning after: Upon no review, ump knew he was wrong during Rays 3-2 loss

The play occurred in the third inning when Angels rookie Nolan Fontana, making his major league debut, tried to slide past the tag of Rays second baseman Michael Martinez.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

The play occurred in the third inning when Angels rookie Nolan Fontana, making his major league debut, tried to slide past the tag of Rays second baseman Michael Martinez.

By ROGER MOONEY

Times Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG – It didn’t take a replay review Monday to prove second base umpire Hunter Wendeltstedt made the wrong call. Wendelstedt knew he blew the call and reversed it himself.

“That was new to me,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said, “but a lot of things are new to me sometimes.”

The play occurred in the third inning when Angels rookie Nolan Fontana, making his major league debut, tried to slide past the tag of Rays second baseman Michael Martinez.

Wendeltstedt immediately made he safe signal.

Martinez waved to the dugout for Cash to use his replay challenge, which Cash did.

Wednelstedt and crew chief Joe West huddled, walked off the field as if they were going to the headsets, huddled some more and called Fontana out.

So, without using replay, Wendelstedt changed his safe call to out, which was the correct call based on the replays shown on TV and the Tropicana Field video board.
The reason: Wendelstedt knew his call was wrong.  …

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For starters: Rays vs. Angels and Trout, with Odorizzi on mound

Jake Odorizzi will be on the mound for the Rays.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Jake Odorizzi will be on the mound for the Rays.

After losing Sunday's game but winning a third straight series, the Rays open a four-game series tonight against the Angels and Mike Trout.

RHP Jake Odorizzi will be on the mound for the Rays, RHP J.C. Ramirez for the Angels.

Evan Longoria is getting a DH day, so the Rays have rookie Daniel Robertson at third base and Michael Martinez, making his first Rays start, at second. Also, Steven Souza Jr. is off, with red-hot Corey Dickerson in left and Colby Rasmus in right.

Here is the Rays lineup:
Dickerson lf
Kiermaier cf
Longoria dh
Morrison 1b
Beckham ss
Rasmus rf
Robertson 3b
Norris c
Martinez 2b
Odorizzi p

 

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What's in a number? Not much if you're Jake Odorizzi

Jake Odorizzi has a winning record for his career when pitching on five days of rest. He’s 12-9 in 34 starts. Pitching on a normal four days of rest, Odorizzi is 15-17 in 34 starts. On six or more days rest he is 6-6 in 18 starts.

[WILL VRAGOVIC | Times]

Jake Odorizzi has a winning record for his career when pitching on five days of rest. He’s 12-9 in 34 starts. Pitching on a normal four days of rest, Odorizzi is 15-17 in 34 starts. On six or more days rest he is 6-6 in 18 starts.

It’s a numbers game, so here is one to begin your Monday morning: 5.

As in days of rest, as in RHP Jake Odorizzi faces the Angels tonight on five days of rest.

Odorizzi has a winning record for his career when pitching on five days of rest. He’s 12-9 in 34 starts. Pitching on a normal four days of rest, Odorizzi is 15-17 in 34 starts. On six or more days rest he is 6-6 in 18 starts.

What does this mean?

Not much, since his ERA on five days of rest is 4.14 compared to 3.34 four days and 4.35 on six or more.

“Personally, I don't really care one way or the other,” Odorizzi said before Sunday’s game. “I'm perfectly fine staying on (four days of rest). But I've got the extra day, so it's just another day for rest and recovery. That's the big thing is when you get an off-day, you need to really take advantage of it and pretty much do nothing. You need to let your body recover."

The extra day was made possible by last Thursday’s off day that ended a run of 20 games in 20 days for the Rays (23-23).

They responded by taking the first two games of the three-game weekend series with the Yankees.

Now they have the Angels (23-23) with all-world CF Mike Trout.  …

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For starters: Rays go for sweep against Yankees

The Rays go for the series sweep this afternoon against the Yankees at Tropicana Field.

Chris Archer (3-2, 3.70) starts for the Rays against Yankees southpaw CC Sabathia (3-2, 4.93).

The Rays have won four straight and six of their last eight. They begin the day in third place in the AL East, a half-game ahead of the Red Sox.

With Sabathia on the hill, Rays manager Kevin Cash is rolling out his right-handed lineup with SS Tim Beckham at the top and Rickie Weeks Jr. at 1B in place of Logan Morrison. Peter Bourjos gets the start in LF over Colby Rasmus.

Here are the lineups:

 

YANKEES

Gardner LF

Sanchez C

Holliday DH

Castro 2B

Judge RF

Ellsbury CF

Headley 3B

Gregorius SS

Carter 1B

Sabathia LHP

 

RAYS

Beckham SS

Dickerson DH

Longoria 3B

Weeks 1B

Souza RF

Kiermaier CF

Norris C

Robertson RF

Bourjos LF

 

Archer RHP

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For starters: Rays vs. Yankees, seeking to climb above .500

UPDATE, 2:15: RHP Tommy Hunter (calf strain) threw well, but Cash said he will have to show he can run and field the position before being activated and there is no timetable. ... SS Matt Duffy (heel) said he didn't have a setback but after feeling soreness in his first step out of the box they decided he should spend a week or so on strengthening that area, and expects to be back on his rehab assignment by the end of next week. .. Stanek said he learned from the experience of giving up the two-run homer on Friday and will be better for it.

Here is Girardi's Yankees lineup:
Gardner lf
Sanchez c
Holliday 1b
Castro 2b
Judge dh
Ellsbury cf
Headley 3b
Gregorius ss
Hicks rf
Tanaka p
 …

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Rays RHP Shawn Tolleson has Tommy John surgery, out until 2018

Shawn Tolleson will have Tommy John surgery on Wednesday, the team announced today.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Shawn Tolleson will have Tommy John surgery on Wednesday, the team announced today.

The Rays signed RHP Shawn Tolleson during the winter hoping he could regain his past form and help their bullpen.

But that won't happen, as Tolleson's spring training elbow issues led to him having Tommy John surgery on Wednesday, the team announced today.

Tolleson, who starred previously for the Rangers, had the surgery done in Texas by Dr. Keith Meister and will rehab there.

Given the standard recovery, he could return at the end of the 2018 season.

Tolleson signed a one-year, $1-million deal with the Rays. He was also slowed during the spring by back problems which had been an issue earlier in his career.

 

 

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Video preview: Rays can prove things vs. Yankees this weekend

Steven Souza Jr. slides into home plate during a game between the Rays and Yankees earlier this season.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Steven Souza Jr. slides into home plate during a game between the Rays and Yankees earlier this season.

Our video preview of the Rays-Yankees series that opens tonight at the Trop, with Erasmo Ramirez starting against Luis Severino.

 

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