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Heading into Tuesday night

Rays pitchers are on a pretty nice roll. They have not allowed more than three runs in any of the first seven games of the current 10-game road trip.

Hellickson starts tonight. He’s had trouble against Texas in the past, so there will provide an interesting contrast based on the fact he’s coming off a strong start against Oakland.

Don’t know yet if Kiermaier will be in the lineup after he left Monday’s game for precautionary reasons after tweaking his back. Maddon did not rule him out after Monday night’s game.

Stay tuned.

– Bill Chastain

Hanigan a Scratch

Catcher Ryan Hanigan was scratched from the Rays’ lineup Tuesday night due to a stiff neck.

Joe Maddon sounded as though Hanigan would be available if needed, but he didn’t want him to start and then have to leave the game due to the injury.  The Rays manager said that could leave the team in a bad situation where Jose Molina would be the only option. Sean Rodriguez is the team’s emergency catcher.

–Bill Chastain

Expectations for Saturday night

Joe Maddon told reporters that he would not be surprised if the umpires talked to both sides prior to Saturday night’s game to warn against further action between the Rays and Red Sox.

When asked if he expected any carryover from Friday night’s action, Maddon noted: “I hope not, I hope not.  I can’t say that I don’t expect it.  Speaking for us there’s nothing that’s going to come from us to them. It was a very heated moment. … I’m hoping not. I’m wanting to get back to playing baseball. I really do.”

Maddon added that he wants the emphasis to be on playing better baseball and trying to advance in the standings because, despite the fact the Rays are nine games under .500, he does not feel they are out of the AL East race.

–Bill Chastain

Moore Waiting

Just talked to Matt Moore and he seemed cautiously optimistic about his left elbow.

The Rays left-hander said he woke up today and his elbow did not have swelling.  Later this morning he had an MRI at the Univeristy of Kansas and he reported that he’s still waiting to hear the results. He noted that the nature of results for an MRI often depend on the opinions of several doctors and what they see on the films.

At this point he’s not on the disabled list. Stay tuned.

–Bill Chastain

Readying for the Opener

A lot of activity going on at Tropicana Field.

They just played what appeared to be a test run for the “Aussie Rage” music they plan to play when Grant Balfour enters the game — not bad.

Also, this date holds significance.  Sixteen years ago, the Rays played their inaugural game at Tropicana Field when they met the Tigers and lost.  The complexion of the team has changed dramatically since those halcyon days.

–Bill Chastain

Mark Lowe released

A day after telling Mark Lowe that he would not start the season on the Major League roster, the Rays released the veteran right-hander on Wednesday.

Lowe, 33, had a good spring, making seven appearances and allowing one earned run in 10 1/3 innings.

Maddon told reporters on Tuesday that the Rays wanted to give veterans Lowe, Jayson Nix and Wilson Betemit an opportunity to find Major League jobs, which is why they told the trio they would not be with the Rays at the beginning of the season.

–Bill Chastain

Weather Looking Good

A day after the Rays got rained out in Fort Myers, the early weather here in Port Charlotte didn’t look too promising today.

But now things are clearing up and the chances of playing today’s game at Charlotte Sports Park are looking good.

–Bill Chastain

Good Stuff from Moore

Matt Moore might have walked six in 4 2/3 innings, but according to Joe Maddon, the southpaw’s stuff was the best he’s seen from Moore since Moore won the first game of the 2011 Division Series against the Rangers.  Moore touched 97 and his breaking stuff looked particularly sharp.

The Rays had 20 hits Tuesday night — you don’t think the team wishes the regular had started, do you?  Something about wasting hits.

After the game outfielder Jeremy Moore and catcher Eddy Rodriguez were re-assigned to Minor-League camp.  Maddon continued to be impressed with Moore, whom he’s called “interesting” on more than one occasion.

–Bill Chastain


A lot of Positives Sunday

Joe Maddon didn’t have enough superlatives about David Price and the way he threw Sunday.  The Rays ace told Hickey before the game that he wished it was Opening Day.  Given the way he pitched one could certainly understand why.

Maddon gave kudos to Logan Forsythe for the diving catch he made in left while playing the outfield for the first time this spring, noting that the stiff breeze whipping around Charlotte Sports Park made for a “tough field.”

Mark Lowe pitched well again prompting Maddon to note: “He’s been fantastic.”  Looks to me like he’s going to start the season in the Rays’ bullpen.

Wil Myers did not  play Sunday after fouling a ball off his right quadriceps Saturday in Bradenton.  Myers said he felt fine on Sunday and Maddon agreed.

Sean Rodriguez has a tight left hamstring.  He is expected to play in a Minor-League game Tuesday in Port Charlotte.

The Rays are off Monday, but not Alex Cobb. He’ll pitch in a Minor-League game at Fort Myers.

–Bill Chastain

Myers Leaves Game

Wil Myers left Saturday afternoon’s game in against the Pirates in the third inning after fouling a ball off his right leg.

Myers suffered a bruise to his right quad.

–Bill Chastain


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