June 2012

Tarp Back on the Field

Don’t know if they’re going to get this one in tonight.

After a lengthy delay, the Rays-Phillies game was supposed to get underway at 8:45.  James Shields even went out to warm up for his start, but now the tarp has been rolled back on the field and it’s raining again.

–Bill Chastain

Peralta Enters Game

Joel Peralta isn’t suspended just yet.  So Rays manager Joe Maddon just pulled the trigger for the right-hander to enter the game with one out in the eighth.

Peralta, who was ejected from last night’s game because his glove was found to have a significant amount of pine tar on it, was greeted by a chorale of boos.

Borrowing Jeremy Hellickson’s glove, Peralta struck out the first batter he faced, Adam LaRoche. He then got ahead  0-2 to Roger Bernadina before retiring him on a ground out to shortstop Elliot Johnson.

–Bill Chastain

Rays Fans in the House

For any Rays fan who has experienced Red Sox or Yankees fans taking over Tropicana Field with their raucous cheers, tonight appears to be your night at Marlins Park, where I do believe the Rays’ contingent in the stands might well be able to take this one over.

Of course the Heat play the Celtics in Game 7 of the NBA’s Eastern Finals — tonight in Miami!  But we won’t go there.  Rays fans simply need to celebrate the moment.

So if you’re watching the Rays game at home, don’t be surprised if you hear, “Let’s Go Rays!!!” — at a visiting ballpark.

How about that?

–Bill Chastain

Now the Roof is Closed

They have now closed the roof at Marlins Park.

Guess they’re just like everybody in the Tampa Bay area–need to get the grass watered when you can.

And again, this  place is top shelf. Way cool.

–Bill Chastain

Raining with the Roof Open

Marlins Park is a beautiful new venue, complete with retractable roof–if they would just use it.

It’s raining and they have not turned on the switch to shut the roof.

Anyway, here’s a look-see.

–Bill Chastain

Stopped Raining

Well, it’s stopped raining and they’re saying the game will start on time.

While we’re waiting, a rainbow has appeared outside Yankee Stadium, take a look.

Putting the Tarp on the Field

Rays batting practice just got cut short as the rain began to come down harder and the grounds crew put the tarp over the infield. Looks like they might have to fight the weather all night, though the forecast is not dire.

If you’re a Rays fan and looking for good karma, diminutive Will Rhymes took the last swing by a Rays player and he deposited the ball into the right-field stands.

–Bill Chastain

Day 2 Coverage of MLB Draft

Day 2 of the MLB Draft is underway. This post will be updated regularly throughout the day by associate reporter Greg Zeck as Bill Chastain is in New York covering Tuesday’s game.

The Rays selected third baseman Richie Shaffer in the first round Monday night.

Tampa Bay’s first selection Tuesday is No. 88 overall.

Second Round: No. 88 Overall — Spencer Edwards, SS, Rockwall HS (Texas)

The Rays elected to take high school shortstop Spencer Edwards with their second round pick.

He is widely considered to be a good athlete with plus speed and has reportedly run the 60-yard dash in 6.7 seconds and the 40-yard dash in 4.4. He could project to the outfield, and the switch hitter has a quick bat at the plate.

Edwards has a commitment with the University of Texas. In addition to baseball, Edwards played wide receiver and defensive back for his high school football team.

Third Round: No. 119 Overall — Andrew Toles, CF, Chipola College (Florida)

Tampa Bay took another position player with the 119th pick in its selection of outfielder Andrew Toles.

In his only season at Chipola, Toles hit .387 with a .565 slugging percentage. He showed good speed getting 32 stolen bases in 40 attempts in 51 games.

Toles transferred from Tennesse after his freshman season, when he hit .270 with 25 RBIs in 51 games.

He was a fourth round pick by the Marlins in 2010 and the son of former Tennessee Volunteers linebacker Alvin Toles.

Fourth Round: No. 152 Overall — Nolan Gannon, RHP, Santa Fe Christian School (California)

Gannon was the first pitcher taken by the Rays in the draft. The righty is committed to play for San Diego State University.

In his final game with Santa Fe Christian, Gannon struck out 15 batters en route to a 4-3 win for the CIF San Diego Section Division IV championship. He went 10-1 on the season.

Fifth Round: No. 182 Overall — Bralin Jackson, CF, Raytown South HS (Missouri)

The Rays selected another outfielder with their fifth round pick in Bralin Jackson.

He is most well known for his speed, but has shown a solid arm and has a good approach at the plate.

Jackson is committed to the University of Missouri.

Sixth Round: No. 212 Overall — Damion Carroll, RHP, King George HS (Virginia)

Damion Carroll became the second right-handed pitcher selected out of high school by Tampa Bay when he was picked in the sixth round.

His fastball is consistently in the lower-to-mid 90s but has touched 95 mph. Scouting reports suggest his curveball and changeup need work.

He also played basketball in high school. He is committed to play for San Jacinto Community College in Texas.

Seventh Round: No. 242 Overall — Marty Gantt, CF, College of Charleston (South Carolina)

Gantt was the third center fielder selected by the Rays in their first seven picks.

He started all 60 of Charleston’s games and led the team in several categories including a .373 batting average, .614 slugging percentage and 29 steals. He added 11 home runs.

Gantt transferred to Charleston after spending his first two seasons in junior college at Spartanburg Methodist.

Eighth Round: No. 272 Overall — Luke Maile, C, Kentucky

Tampa Bay selected its first catcher of the draft day in Luke Maile, a junior from the University of Kentucky.

He started 62 games for the Wildcats and was tied for the team lead in batting with a .319 average. He led the team with 51 RBIs, 12 home runs and a .533 slugging percentage.

Maile was a 43rd round pick by the Boston Red Sox in 2009.

Ninth Round: No. 302 Overall — Joey Rickard, CF, Arizona

The Rays picked another speedy center fielder with good bat speed when it selected Joey Rickard of the University of Arizona.

Rickard started 54 games for the Wildcats and batted .326 with 30 RBIs.

He was a 2011 All-Pac-10 First Team selection, and a 2010 honorable mention.

Tenth Round: No. 332 Overall — Sean Bierman, LHP, Univ. of Tampa (Florida)

Tampa Bay got its first southpaw of the draft, selecting Sean Bierman of the University of Tampa.

Bierman pitched 83 and 1/3 innings this season, going 8-3 in 15 starts. He boasted a 2.27 ERA, and opponents hit .241 against him. He had 85 strikeouts.

He missed most of the 2011 season after receiving a medical redshirt two games into the year.

Eleventh Round: No. 362 Overall — Clayton Henning, CF, St. Thomas Aquinas HS (Kansas)

Clayton Henning became the fifth center fielder selected by the Rays in 11 rounds.

He was selected as a 5A Second Team All-State pitcher in Kansas.

Henning also played football in high school. He is committed to play at Dayton University.

Twelfth Round: No. 392 Overall — Taylor Hawkins, C, Carl Albert HS (Oklahoma)

The Rays selected their second catcher in the draft, Taylor Hawkins of Oklahoma.

He was named a Louisville Slugger High School All-American Honorable Mention after hitting .360 with 15 home runs and 48 RBIs as a junior.

Hawkins hit .486 as a sophomore and helped lead his school to a state title as a freshman.

Hawkins is committed to play at Oklahoma University.

Thirteenth Round: No. 422 Overall — Dylan Floro, RHP, California State – Fullerton

Tampa Bay selected Dylan Floro with its 13th pick, a right-handed pitcher.

In 15 starts this season, Floro was 10-4 and recorded 70 strikeouts in 114 and 1/3 innings pitched. His ERA was 2.83 and batters hit .255 against him.

Floro was picked in the 20th round in 2009 by the Rays but didn’t sign.

Fourteenth Round: No. 452 Overall — Christopher Kirsch, LHP, Lackawanna College (Pennsylvania)

The Rays selected their second southpaw on the day when they picked Christopher Kirsch in the 14th round.

Kirsch pitched 70 innings over the course of 13 games this season, posting a 1.80 ERA and 101 strikeouts. He was 10-1 and allowed 38 hits and 35 walks.

Kirsch was a 13th round pick of Pittsburgh in 2010 but did not sign.

Fifteenth Round: No. 482 Overall — William Gabay, RHP, Herkimer County Community College (New York)

With their last pick of the day, the Rays selected righty Willie Gabay.

Gabay pitched 58 and 1/3 innings in 14 games. He went 6-1 with a 2.62 ERA and 91 strikeouts.

He is a native of Mahopac, New York.

— Greg Zeck