Moore in home stretch of returning to Rays

Jennings, Jaso also among players making progress with injuries

Moore in home stretch of returning to Rays

ST. PETERSBURG -- Matt Moore will throw two innings in an extended spring training game Saturday morning at 10 a.m. ET. The outing will be his first live game action of the season.

Moore had Tommy John surgery in April 2014 that ended his season last year, and the left-hander now appears in the home stretch toward returning to the team.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rays alone in 1st place with shutout of A's

Rays alone in 1st place with shutout of A's

ST. PETERSBURG -- David DeJesus provided most of the offense and the Rays' pitching did its part in a 3-0 win over the A's on Thursday night with a crowd of 10,605 watching at Tropicana Field.

The Rays grabbed sole possession of first place in the American League East by a half-game over the idle Yankees. It's the first time Tampa Bay has been alone in first since April 12, 2014.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. Michael Kolligian is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

DeJesus keeps swinging 'huge bat' for Rays

Hitting .417 in past 15 games, DH stings A's with homer, RBI double

DeJesus keeps swinging 'huge bat' for Rays

ST. PETERSBURG -- Being a reliable teammate -- and not just on the diamond -- is something in which David DeJesus takes great pride.

"Relationships are what you bring out of baseball," DeJesus said. "We're all going to play, we're all going give it 100 percent on the field, but when you are done playing your career, you're going to bring relationships with you. So, I think being a guy who can talk to anybody and know that I'm going to be reliable each and every day, that's the trait I want everybody to know about me."

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Troy Provost-Heron is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Colome attacks hitters in bounce-back outing

Right-hander leads way for Rays with 5 innings in shutout of A's

Colome attacks hitters in bounce-back outing

ST. PETERSBURG -- Alex Colome needed to rebound from a bad stretch, and he managed to do so Thursday night in the Rays' 3-0 win over the A's at Tropicana Field.

The Dominican right-hander entered his start on the heels of a two-game funk against the Yankees and Twins. The combined totals from those outings showed an 0-1 record with a 10.61 ERA in 9 1/3 innings.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

HS pitcher with rare disorder throws first pitch

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HS pitcher with rare disorder throws first pitch

Approximately one in 200 high school baseball players will eventually be drafted by a major league team. The chances that you're born with DiGeorge syndrome are estimated to be one in 4,000. That's to say: There's a greater likelihood of getting drafted to compete for a job in the big leagues than being born with the chromosome disorder.

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Smyly needs 8 weeks of rehab for shoulder

Rays lefty avoids surgery, hopes to follow path of Dodgers' Bolsinger

Smyly needs 8 weeks of rehab for shoulder

ST. PETERSBURG -- After more than a week of deliberation, Rays starting pitcher Drew Smyly has decided not to end his 2015 season. Smyly announced Thursday that he will not undergo surgery on the torn labrum in his left shoulder, electing to instead rehab the injury.
 
"After talking with a few of the doctors that I've met with, we've decided to rehab [the shoulder]," Smyly said. "Everyone seems very optimistic that is the route to take. It's not choosing that over surgery. They act like surgery is not even really an option right now, so that is the route I'm taking."
 
Smyly said the rehab process should take about eight weeks and believes he could pitch again for the Rays by late July or August, but added that there is a possibility surgery may be needed later if the rehab does not work.
 
"We'll know whether it works or not in eight weeks," Smyly said. "In eight weeks, I might say 'It's not working, we'll explore other options.' There still is a lot of unknown, but the best doctors in the country have looked at my MRIs and seen me personally, examined it, and everyone seems confident that surgery isn't needed."
 
The decision to undergo rehab instead of surgery was helped by the experiences of Smyly's former college teammate and current Dodgers pitcher Mike Bolsinger, who went through a similar situation several years ago.
 
"[He] was diagnosed with a torn labrum, rehabbed for two months -- that happened when he was in the Minor Leagues -- and he hasn't had a problem with it since, and it has been three or four years," Smyly said. "He's doing great for the Dodgers, and he has said, 'You'll be fine, man.'
 
"Talking with other doctors, I'm not the first guy who will try to pitch through it. It's something that happens when you pitch at this level. A lot of pitchers' MRIs look abnormal. There's stuff going on in there and you work through it and keep playing."
 
The first step in Smyly's rehab will be playing catch, which he expects to be doing come early June.
 
In three starts this season, Smyly is 0-1 with a 2.70 ERA, allowing five runs in 16 2/3 innings while walking three and striking out 21. He was placed on the disabled list May 9. Smyly was transferred to the 60-day disabled list on May 13 after the Rays confirmed the torn labrum.
 
"It is a good thing that there is a chance that he pitches for us this year," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "That's a lot better than maybe what we were thinking a couple of weeks ago."
 
In other injury news, Cash said Matt Moore (Tommy John surgery) will pitch "two innings, roughly 35-40 pitches," in an extended spring game Saturday.

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Troy Provost-Heron is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hard-luck Odorizzi shakes off lack of run support

Right-hander allows two runs over six innings vs. Braves; drops to 3-4

Hard-luck Odorizzi shakes off lack of run support

ATLANTA -- If Jake Odorizzi didn't have hard luck, he wouldn't have any luck at all.

The Rays right-hander fell to 3-4 on the season after notching his team-leading eighth quality start in nine outings this season in a 2-1 loss to the Braves.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. Listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cash concerned over lack of innings from starters

Cash concerned over lack of innings from starters

ATLANTA -- While Jake Odorizzi gave the Rays much-needed innings in Wednesday night's 2-1 loss to the Braves, he had no choice because his outing was sandwiched between starts by Erasmo Ramirez and Alex Colome.

Two of the Rays' five starting pitchers have had difficulty getting deep into the game. Ramirez posted five innings his last two outings -- each a win -- and Colome has averaged just under five innings per start in four outings.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. Listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Odorizzi's strong effort not enough

Odorizzi's strong effort not enough

ATLANTA -- Freddie Freeman fueled the decisive sixth inning with a one-out double and Williams Perez made the most of his first career start while helping the Braves claim a 2-1 win over the Rays Wednesday night at Turner Field.

Rays starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi had surrendered just two hits before allowing Freeman's double and Nick Markakis' single with one out in the sixth. After Todd Cunningham followed with a go-ahead RBI groundout, the Braves' bullpen preserved the lead and the effort provided by Perez, who surrendered just one run and notched seven strikeouts over five innings.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. Listen to his podcast. Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. Listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rays welcome return of 'Jake and The Box'

McGee, Boxberger finish off Tuesday's victory over Braves

Rays welcome return of 'Jake and The Box'

ATLANTA -- "Jake and The Box" are back and coming in from the Rays' bullpen to put games on ice.

At least that's the way it went Tuesday night in the Rays' 5-3 win over the Braves at Turner Field.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. Listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kiermaier sets tone with hustle triple

Center fielder leads off with three-bagger to spark offense

Kiermaier sets tone with hustle triple

ATLANTA -- Kevin Kiermaier has a different motor and he revved it up in the first inning of the Rays' 5-3 win Tuesday night at Turner Field.

The Rays' center fielder hit in the leadoff spot Tuesday night and got busy right away when he blooped a hit into right field.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. Listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Franklin adds versatility to infield rotation

Switch-hitter returned from rehab stint this past Saturday

Franklin adds versatility to infield rotation

ATLANTA -- Nick Franklin arrived in such a hurry on Sunday that Rays manager Kevin Cash opted to wait before talking to the infielder about his role with the team now that he's off the disabled list.

"We had a great conversation today," said Cash of Franklin, who finished his rehab at Triple-A Durham on Saturday before flying to Minnesota to meet the team on Sunday. "Nick's been very in tune to what's going on here. Followed us a lot [while he was on the DL]. He's excited to join us. He's going to definitely have a valuable role for us."

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. Listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ramirez, bullpen close out win over Braves

Ramirez, bullpen close out win over Braves

ATLANTA -- Erasmo Ramirez held steady after a rough second inning and benefited from the two-run fifth inning the Rays produced against rookie right-hander Mike Foltynewicz during Tuesday night's 5-3 win over the Braves at Turner Field.

Ramirez surrendered three runs during a 30-pitch second inning, but allowed the Braves to produce just one other baserunner during the other four innings he completed. The right-hander was rewarded in the fifth inning, when the Rays produced a decisive two-out, two-run rally that included Logan Forsythe's go-ahead single and David DeJesus' RBI double.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. Listen to his podcast. Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. Listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Snell extends scoreless streak to 49 innings

Rays' No. 9 prospect pushes run to 49 straight innings with no runs allowed

Snell extends scoreless streak to 49 innings

A Rays prospect has picked up where he left off from last season, and has carried it on in historic fashion.

Blake Snell, the Rays' No. 9 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, has turned in 49 straight scoreless innings -- 46 this year -- dating back to last season.

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Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Boxberger comfortable no matter when Rays call

Reliever has thrived as closer, but knows role could change with McGee back in fold

Boxberger comfortable no matter when Rays call

Brad Boxberger may be a perfect 10-for-10 in the closer's role for the Rays this season, but he understands that Jake McGee's return to the bullpen may bring about some changes.

"I'm comfortable [in the closer role] right now, and I feel like I've done a pretty good job there," Boxberger said. "But with McGee coming back and everything he's done, it'll just be a matter of what [the coaches] want to do."

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Troy Provost-Heron is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rays get welcome offensive outburst in big 6th

Rays get welcome offensive outburst in big 6th

MINNEAPOLIS -- Pitching and defense is all the Rays' offense ever hears when there's talk about the team.

Sunday afternoon at Target Field the Rays' offense became part of the conversation, showing what it's capable of doing in a five-run sixth inning that salted away the 11-3 win over the Twins.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Longo leads 19-hit barrage as Rays clobber Twins

Longo leads 19-hit barrage as Rays clobber Twins

MINNEAPOLIS -- Right-hander Chris Archer threw six strong innings and was backed by three RBIs each from Evan Longoria and James Loney to help the Rays to an 11-3 win over the Twins in the series finale on Sunday afternoon at Target Field.

Archer saw his streak of 20 2/3 scoreless innings on the road come to an end on an RBI single from Joe Mauer in the first, but settled down after that. He scattered four hits and walked one with four strikeouts.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

McGee dominant in long-awaited return to hill

Reliever strikes out two in 2015 debut

McGee dominant in long-awaited return to hill

MINNEAPOLIS -- If there was a prettier sight than the scoreboard for Rays fans Sunday, seeing Jake McGee back on the bump had to be it.

"It felt good to get out there," McGee said. " ... It was good to get out there. Feel good, throw strikes and get ahead of guys."

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rays' Honeywell among Minors' top performers Sunday

Cubs' Schwarber belts two more homers; D-backs' Blair strikes out nine in solid start

Rays' Honeywell among Minors' top performers Sunday

Rays No. 6 prospect Brent Honeywell didn't get a chance to make history on Sunday afternoon, but he still turned in one of the Minor Leagues' best pitching performances this season.

The 20-year-old righty was pulled after seven no-hit innings for Class A Bowling Green, taking a perfect game into the sixth inning before giving up a lone walk. Sunday marked the third time this season that Honeywell has blanked the opposing side -- he gave up only one hit in each of the first two instances. As one might expect, his season WHIP is now a skinny 0.71.

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Alex M. Smith is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rays fall despite late home runs

Rays fall despite late home runs

MINNEAPOLIS -- Right-hander Trevor May bounced back after a rough outing to turn in a quality start and was backed by a four-hit day from Eduardo Escobar to help lead the Twins to a 6-4 win over the Rays on Saturday afternoon at Target Field.

May gave up three runs on seven hits over a career-high 6 2/3 innings, but exited with the game tied after giving up a two-run homer to Tim Beckham in the seventh. The only other run he gave up came on a sacrifice fly from Logan Forsythe in the fourth.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. Listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bellatti's week in the Majors ends on a high note

Right-hander sent to Triple-A following scoreless relief outing vs. Twins

Bellatti's week in the Majors ends on a high note

MINNEAPOLIS -- Andrew Bellatti's week in The Show ended Saturday, but the right-hander more than took advantage of that time to make a favorable impression with the Rays.

A week after joining the Rays, Bellatti was optioned back to Triple-A Durham after Saturday's game to clear room for infielder Nick Franklin, who has been on the disabled list all season with a left oblique strain.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. Listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Odorizzi, Rays bested by Twins' two-run 7th

Odorizzi, Rays bested by Twins' two-run 7th

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins rallied late, keyed by a game-tying RBI triple from Danny Santana, and a go-ahead sacrifice fly from Brian Dozier in the seventh inning in a 3-2 win over the Rays on Friday night at Target Field.

With the Twins trailing by a run in the seventh, Aaron Hicks led off with a single before Santana tripled into the corner in right field to score Hicks. It knocked Rays starter Jake Odorizzi from the game, as reliever Kevin Jepsen was brought in and promptly gave up the go-ahead sac fly to Dozier. It was the second RBI for Dozier, who also hit a homer in the third.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Odorizzi can't finish strong start on high note

Odorizzi can't finish strong start on high note

MINNEAPOLIS -- Jake Odorizzi continued his string of pitching deep into games on Friday night. Unfortunately for him, the residue of his final inning brought down the Rays in a 3-2 loss to the Twins at Target Field.

The right-hander entered the game as the only American League starter to pitch into the seventh in seven starts. Friday night made eight when Odorizzi pitched six-plus innings.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

McGee returns to strengthen Rays' bullpen

McGee returns to strengthen Rays' bullpen

MINNEAPOLIS -- Following the Rays' 6-1 win over the Yankees on Thursday night, the team reinstated left-hander Jake McGee from the 15-day disabled list and optioned right-hander Matt Andriese to Triple-A Durham.

McGee led the Rays in saves with 19 last season after taking over the closer duties from Grant Balfour when he struggled. In December, McGee had surgery to remove "loose bodies" from his left elbow.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Jennings will need game action before return

Moore throwing bullpens, slated to pitch Monday at extended spring

Jennings will need game action before return

MINNEAPOLIS -- Outfielder Desmond Jennings will need to hit in some games before returning to the Rays.

Manager Kevin Cash said as much on Friday when talking about Jennings' progress toward rejoining the team.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Work in cage pays off for Rivera vs. Yankees

Rays catcher homers, tallies four RBIs to power club to victory

Work in cage pays off for Rivera vs. Yankees

ST. PETERSBURG -- With Yankees starter Chase Whitley in the clubhouse because of a right elbow injury in the second inning on Thursday, Rene Rivera made sure incoming reliever Esmil Rogers didn't get comfortable.

On his first pitch out of the bullpen, the right-hander tossed a slider, and the Rays' catcher hammered it over the center-field fence for a three-run home run.

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Troy Provost-Heron is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.