Results tagged ‘ Jason Bartlett ’

Maddon on home run-friendly Yankee Stadium

ST. PETERSBURG — After reaching the .500 mark for the eighth time this season, the Rays will enter the new Yankee Stadium on Friday for a critical four-game series against the American League East leaders.

Based on past results, home runs may be the deciding factor.
Through the first 25 games at Yankee Stadium this season, 91 balls left the yard. Comparatively, 93 home runs were hit through the first 25 games at the old Yankee Stadium in 2008 and ’07 combined.
The Rays played a two-game series in the Bronx from May 6-7 — winning both games — and nine balls went out.
Six of those were provided by the Rays in an 8-6 win in Game 2. And one of those — Jason Bartlett’s first-inning shot off Andy Pettitte — showed Rays manager Joe Maddon just how easily longballs can be triggered in the Yankees’ new place.
“The ball did go out in right,” Maddon recalled. “I mean, I can’t deny that. Even J.B.’s … he hit it out to right-center. That surprised me.”
The new Stadium’s dimensions are exactly the same as the old one. But, for some reason — whether it’s slightly altered dimensions, a smaller right-field wall or freak wind patterns — the new park plays smaller.
Nobody can really figure out why, though — including Maddon.
“I really don’t know what the issue is,” he said. “I mean, it doesn’t feel like there’s a strong breeze down there, and I don’t even know if it’s the open concourse. I’ve heard different things. But, for whatever reason, [the ball is] just going more.
“It’s hard to tell, but it was different [the last time the Rays played there].”
Check out more on the launching pad that now is Yankee Stadium here:http://newyork.yankees.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090604&content_id=5135218&vkey=news_nyy&fext=.jsp&c_id=nyy
– Alden Gonzalez

6-4 lineups; Longo, Bartlett progressing

ST. PETERSBURG — When you score nine runs without your best player, you don’t tend to change things up the following game.

For Thursday, the Rays didn’t alter much in the starting lineup, except Michel Hernandez will give Dioner Navarro a breather behind the plate with the relatively quick turnaround, and Joe Dillon will serve as the designated hitter against Royals starter Gil Meche.
Evan Longoria (sore left hamstring) is available to pinch-hit on Thursday, but he has not been running at full speed yet. Manager Joe Maddon said if he bats, he’ll “waddle” to first base, and the Rays will get a pinch-runner. Longoria said he hopes to start at third base for the opener of a four-game series against the Yankees on Friday, but that has yet to be determined.
The 23-year-old hit live pitching in the batting cage on Thursday — there was no BP on the field — jogged and played catch. The only thing left is to run at full speed.
Shortstop Jason Bartlett (left ankle sprain) was able to jog on Wednesday — which he called “the biggest step” in his recovery — and though he felt a bit sore from that on Thursday, he said he “really can’t make [the ankle] worse.” This weekend, Bartlett will start running some arcs to further test the injury, then progress into taking ground balls and hitting more live pitching.
The 29-year-old is eligible to come off his DL stint Wednesday, but he’s not sure if he’ll be ready by that time. Bartlett does not, however, think he’ll need to play in Minor League rehab games before getting back.
“As long as I can come out and get some ground balls in and take some BP, I should be fine,” he said.
On to the lineups, as the Rays look to move to .500 for the eighth time this season:
Royals
Coco Crisp, CF
Alberto Callaspo, 2B
Billy Butler, 1B
Mike Jacobs, DH
Jose Guillen, RF
Mark Teahen, 3B
Miguel Olivo, C
David DeJesus, LF
Willie Bloomquist, SS
SP: Meche
Rays
B.J. Upton, CF
Carl Crawford, LF
Willy Aybar, 3B
Carlos Pena, 1B
Ben Zobrist, 2B
Matt Joyce, RF
Dillon, DH
Hernandez, C
Reid Brignac, SS
SP: James Shields
– Alden Gonzalez

6-3 recap before Royals finale

ST. PETERSBURG — Got some time to kill here before players have to report for their 4:08 p.m. ET game against the Royals on Thursday (is it just me, or is that a really odd time for a weekday game?).

Anyway, bunch of stuff from last night — which ended with the Rays beating Kansas City, 9-0, to improve to 27-28 and move to five back of the Red Sox and Yankees in the American League East.
* Evan Longoria’s sore left hamstring is fine. He’s likely to start at third base once Tampa Bay starts its four-game road series against the Yankees on Friday. I haven’t seen the lineup yet, but I can’t imagine he’d be on it Thursday.
UPDATE: Longoria just finished running around the infield and playing catch along the right-field line.
* Pat Burrell (stiff neck) was in here early getting treatment. He hit off the tee on Wednesday and is scheduled to do so again. The 32-year-old will stay back while his team is in New York this weekend and take live batting practice. If all goes well, the Rays will map out a schedule for him to take part in some rehab games.
* Jason Bartlett (left ankle sprain) and Scott Kazmir (mechanics issues and a right quad strain) are progressing, but still no timetable. Kazmir threw a bullpen session on Wednesday and will continue to do so — with a couple of off-days in between — for about a week. Then, perhaps, get in some rehab games (though that’s still unknown). It’s going to be interesting to see how the Rays handle Bartlett in the next six days. He’s eligible to come off his DL stint on Wednesday, but not much is known as to whether or not he’ll be ready.
* In case you haven’t heard, Jeff Niemann was really good on Wednesday night. In fact, better than he’s ever been since being the Rays’ fourth overall pick in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft. The 26-year-old rookie — who’s had a rough start to his career ever since that Draft day — now sports a 2.03 ERA in his last five starts and is beginning to look like the 6-foot-9, hard-throwing, downhill stud Tampa Bay expected.
* More Niemann: With his complete-game, two-hitter on Wednesday (though the second-to-last out could’ve been ruled an error by Joe Dillon at third base) he became the eighth player in Rays history to throw a complete game shutout with two or fewer hits and the third Tampa Bay rookie. It was also the first complete game or shutout by a Rays pitcher since Matt Garza on Aug. 15, 2008, against the Rangers (afterward, Garza made sure he gave his teammate props by decking him in the face with a shaving-cream pie).
After Wednesday’s game, Maddon beamed about Niemann’s newfound confidence lately, and he feels it can continue to improve after his latest outing:
“When you can get a young pitcher to throw a complete game, often times it really does boost their confidence even more,” Maddon said. “To be able to be out there in the ninth inning standing and have command of the game does a lot for your confidence. … He’s starting to get it. He’s still a young man, there’s still a long ways to go, but I’ve seen a steady improvement in him over the last couple of months.”
With Scott Kazmir on the shelf, if Niemann — who many saw as the biggest question mark in the rotation going into the season — can continue to show he was worth an early pick in the Draft, the already dangerous Rays rotation could be flat-out deadly.
* Another below-the-radar guy who keeps producing is Ben Zobrist. More on his franchise-record fourth career grand slam on Wednesday will be on the site later, but here are some interesting numbers about Zobrist’s recent production, courtesy of the Rays’ PR staff.
- He’s started 11 straight games and reached base in 40 of his last 77 plate appearances (22-for-58, 16 walks, five home runs, 19 RBIs and seven doubles).
- Is currently tied for his career-high with a nine-game hitting streak that has him batting .387 (12-for-31) with nine walks in that span.
- He’s raised his team-best slugging percentage to .659, which would’ve been second in the AL — trailing Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis’ .664 — but Zobrist is 14 plate appearances shy of qualifying.
- Has 22 home runs in 331 at-bats since the beginning of 2008 — an average of 15.05 at-bats per home run.
Yes, eight guys — including four starters — are currently on the shelf for the Rays. But at least some of those who fans perhaps didn’t expect much from at the beginning of the year are keeping them afloat.
– Alden Gonzalez

Iwamura likely headed to DL; Bartlett, Shields fine

MIAMI — The reports were still a little hazy, but Akinori Iwamura is likely headed to the 15-day disabled list with a left knee injury, manager Joe Maddon said.

Iwamura said it was the worst pain he had ever felt since getting to the United States but wanted to wait for the MRIs before speculating if he’d be out for a long period of time.
For now, Maddon said his options at second base are open, with Willy Aybar, Ben Zobrist and recent call-up Reid Brignac being options.

“He’s not feeling really good right now,” Maddon said about Iwamura, who was in a brace.

“Obviously, when you get hit like that, you’re going to be in a lot of pain. And once he sat himself up, he was able to gather himself. I think the initial shot probably hurt a lot, but, again, I don’t know what it is, and I just know that we’re going to have a setback, and then do the MRI thing, and if I had to guess, he’s going to be on the DL.”

As for Jason Bartlett, who hurt his left ankle after being slid into by a stealing Dan Uggla and trying to pick catcher Dioner Navarro’s throw, that situation doesn’t appear to be too serious. Bartlett stayed in the game after walking it off. He won’t be in the lineup in the beginning of a four-game series against the Indians on Monday, but that was a planned off-day, considering he’s 0-for-15 lifetime against starter Fausto Carmona.

“I think [Uggla] just slid over it, and [the left ankle] rolled on me,” Bartlett said. “Tomorrow was a day off anyway, so hopefully it will feel better.”

James Shields was fine after getting hit by a comebacker from Ross Gload with two outs in the seventh inning. Maddon just wanted to get Grant Balfour in the game there.

– Alden Gonzalez

Bartlett hurt, too?

MIAMI — Not a good day for the Rays’ middle infield with regards to plays at second base.

This time, however, shortstop Jason Bartlett stayed in the game.
With one out in the bottom of the 10th, Dan Uggla stole second base and, in trying to pick Dioner Navarro’s throw, Bartlett’s left leg twisted awkwardly and was checked on by the Rays’ medical staff. But after getting on his feet and walking it off, he stayed in the game. It appeared to be his left ankle that was the problem.
More to come postgame from the Rays’ clubhouse …
– Alden Gonzalez

Iwamura wheeled off field after collision

MIAMI – The Rays lost their second baseman early on Sunday,
and it did not look good.

With one out in a tied game in the bottom of the eighth, the
Marlins had runners on first and second when Wes Helms hit a tapper back to
reliever Dan Wheeler. The right-hander picked it up and fired it to second
base, where Akinori Iwamura made the force out. But upon turning to fire the
ball to first, he was barreled into hard by rookie Chris Coghlan.

Iwamura laid on the ground in agony, and John Baker tried to
score from second, but shortstop Jason Bartlett wrestled the ball out of
Iwamura’s hand and gunned him down at the plate to preserve the 4-4 tie and end
the inning.

After that, the Rays players and medical staff – and eventually
the Marlins players who were coming back onto the field – huddled around
Iwamura, who stayed on the ground in pain for several minutes holding his left
leg.

Eventually, Iwamura was carried onto a cart and driven off
the field while getting an applause from the 12,839 fans at Land Shark Stadium.

Iwamura was diagnosed with a left knee injury. He will be driven back to St. Petersburg, Fa., on Sunday night, where he will get an MRI.

* Rays starter James Shields — who gave up four runs on a season-high 12 hits through 6 2/3 innings — got hit in the leg by a hard comebacker from Ross Gload with two outs in the seventh. After trying to get Gload at first but to no avail, he was taken out of the game by manager Joe Maddon. But Shields had 102 pitches at that point and didn’t appear to be in pain, so the move likely was just to get reliever Grant Balfour in the game.

– Alden Gonzalez

Final tally on Crawford

ST. PETERSBURG — Carl Crawford ended up reaching base all five times and stealing a club-record six bases. He became just the fourth player to steal six bases in a single game (it’s been done a total of five times, though). The last time it happened was when Eric Young did it on June 30, 1996, against the Dodgers.

The Rays’ 8 steals in the game was also a franchise record.
One thing that won’t show up in the box score: With two outs and the Rays sporting a one-run lead in the bottom of the eighth, Crawford’s speed also allowed him to beat out an infield single to score Jason Bartlett from third base for an insurance run.
Troy Percival then got the save, and the Rays beat the Red Sox, 5-3.
– Alden Gonzalez

Red Sox – Rays lineups, Game 4

ST. PETERSBURG — “We have to get back to winning series,” is what designated hitter Pat Burrell said after Saturday’s 10-6 letdown against the Red Sox.

The Rays will have one last chance to do it against Boston on Sunday afternoon.
Dioner Navarro will get an off-day behind the plate because of the quick turnaround — giving way to Michel Hernandez — Ben Zobrist will start for the second straight game — this time in right field as Jason Bartlett returns to shortstop — and Tampa Bay will be without the services of Gabe Gross.
But he has a legitimate excuse.
Gross flew to Alabama on Sunday as his wife, Kelly, is expected to give birth to their first girl. Manager Joe Maddon said he expects the 29-year-old outfielder back by Tuesday’s game against the Orioles.
On to the lineups:
Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
J.D. Drew, RF
Jason Bay, LF
Mike Lowell, 3B
Jason Varitek, C
Julio Lugo, SS
SP: Brad Penny
Rays
B.J. Upton, CF
Carl Crawford, LF
Evan Longoria, 3B
Carlos Pena, 1B
Pat Burrell, DH
Zobrist, RF
Akinori Iwamura, 2B
Bartlett, SS
Hernandez, C
SP: James Shields
– Alden Gonzalez

Red Sox – Rays lineups, Game 3

ST. PETERSBURG — To quote one of my favorite movie lines ever (courtesy of fictional character Lou Brown from ‘Major League’): “We won a game yesterday. We win one today, that’s two in a row. We win one tomorrow, that’s called a winning streak. It has happened before.”

For the Rays, it can happen on Saturday night, when they host the Red Sox in the third of a four-game series at 7:08 p.m. ET. It would be the Rays’ first three-game winning streak of the season if they can beat Tim Wakefield.
Couple of changes for Tampa Bay with the veteran knuckleballer on the other side. Ben Zobrist will take the place of Jason Bartlett at shortstop, and Gabe Kapler will man right field.
Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
J.D. Drew, RF
Jason Bay, LF
Mike Lowell, 3B
George Kottaras, C
Nick Green, SS
SP: Wakefield
Rays
B.J. Upton, CF
Carl Crawford, LF
Evan Longoria, 3B
Carlos Pena 1B
Pat Burrell, DH
Zobrist, SS
Akinori Iwamura, 2B
Kapler, RF
Doner Navarro, C
SP: Jeff Niemann
– Alden Gonzalez

Game 1 lineups for Red Sox – Rays

ST. PETERSBURG — Not many surprises here. Both teams’ catchers will have an off-day on Thursday, and Jason Bartlett said his left hamstring — which forced him to leave Wednesday’s game after the top of the fifth inning — is just fine. Gabe Gross will get his ninth start of the year in right field, and Michel Hernandez will get his fourth starting nod behind the plate to give Dioner Navarro a rest.

Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
J.D. Drew, RF
Jason Bay, LF
Mike Lowell, 3B
George Kottaras, C
Julio Lugo, SS
SP: Josh Beckett
Rays
B.J. Upton, CF
Carl Crawford, LF
Evan Longoria, 3B
Carlos Pena, 1B
Pat Burrell, DH
Gabe Gross, RF
Akinori Iwamura, 2B
Michel Hernandez, C
Jason Bartlett, SS
SP: Matt Garza
– Alden Gonzalez
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