MLB Team Report - Tampa Bay Rays - INSIDE PITCH
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The post-David Price era began Friday in Tampa Bay, with the Rays attempting to move on from the three-way trade that sent their left-handed ace and clubhouse leader to Detroit.
The Rays expressed a collective sense of disappointment that Price was dealt prior to Thursday's nonwaiver trade deadline, but they vowed to continue pushing toward a playoff spot.
"I was hoping it wouldn't happen, but it did happen. So you move forward," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "This is how we have to operate. This is who we are."
Most Rays players said they weren't surprised by the trade, even coming off a 17-6 record in July that put them back on the fringes of postseason contention. Price's name had simply been too prevalent in recent trade rumors, and there was no way Tampa Bay could have afforded to keep Price and his potential $18-20 million salary on the roster next season.
This is also the way the Rays have done business, shipping off their most valuable assets in exchange for younger talent they can keep on board for several years.
"I think the players have done a wonderful job of understanding this moment," Maddon said. "I don't anticipate any letdown or letup."
The Rays were aware that they were partially responsible for Price's departure, as their sub-.500 record was far below what was expected of them heading into the season.
"That's not something that we've really talked about, but I guess it's the obvious. The standings had something to do with David not being here, but we can't think about it anymore," said right hander Chris Archer, who said he looked at Price as a big brother and mentor. "We can't think about 'what if' and 'we wish something else would've happened' because we're here right now in a good position to hopefully win the division and, if not, get one of those two wild card spots.
"I think the second wild card spot was created for teams like us who are always in it, who are always scrapping for that first wild card spot. It's still openly available, as far as I think."
From that perspective, the Rays were somewhat encouraged that executive vice president Andrew Friedman elected to only deal Price. The rest of their roster returned to Tropicana Field on Friday, and they will add left-hander Drew Smyly on Saturday prior to his first start Tuesday. At some point, infielder Nick Franklin -- also acquired in the three-way trade with Detroit and Seattle -- likely will join the big-league roster.
Second baseman/outfielder Ben Zobrist was also a popular topic of trade conversation, and his name even surfaced in an erroneous report Thursday afternoon. But he stayed, and the Rays will hold out hope that they can continue their drive toward a potentially historic comeback and push into the postseason.
"I'm really happy the team on the field remained intact, Zo as an example," Maddon said. "That would have been a little more difficult only because of the every-day component and the versatility component. That might have been a little bit more difficult to deal with."
"Everybody understands we're not throwing in the towel whatsoever," outfielder Matt Joyce said. "We'll come back and play our game and continue to play really good baseball and leave it all out there."
MLB Team Report - Tampa Bay Rays - NOTES, QUOTES
STREAK: Lost two
NEXT: Angels (LHP C.J. Wilson 8-6, 4.33 ERA) at Rays (RHP Chris Archer, 6-6, 3.37 ERA)
--RHP Jeremy Hellickson hasn't finished the fifth inning in any of his three starts this season and Friday was no different. He suffered the loss Friday when the Angels beat the Rays and lasted only 4 2/3-innings at Tropicana Field. Hellickson is one of two starters in Tampa Bay franchise history to make five straight starts of less than five innings. Overall, Hellickson is winless over his last six starts dating to Sept. 4, 2013. The issue for Hellickson has been running into trouble early on, preventing him from pitching deep into games.
--2B Cole Figueroa snapped an 0-for-18 drought spanning two major league stints with the Rays on Friday, going 2-for-3 with a sacrifice fly in the Rays' 5-3 loss to the Angels at Tropicana Field. Figueroa's sixth-inning single was his first hit since May 26, and his sacrifice fly accounted for his fourth RBI. Friday was the first multihit game of his career.
--C Ryan Hanigan took early batting practice on Friday as he continues to recover from a left oblique strain. The Rays had hoped to have him playing in minor-league rehabilitation games this weekend. Manager Joe Maddon said Hanigan is "fighting" to get back on the field. "He wants to play," Maddon said. The Rays hope to have Hanigan start a minor league rehab assignment with Class A Charlotte on Saturday as the designated hitter.
--OF Wil Myers went through batting practice in the cage on Friday taking about 15 swings and hitting what he described as "a couple cage bombs." Myers (right wrist fracture) likely will hit in the cage again on Saturday and hopes to have a rehabilitation schedule put together soon.
--RHP Chris Archer has lasted six-plus innings in 10 of his last 12 starts. Since the start of 2013, the Rays are 20-7 when he lasts at least six innings and just 4-13 when he doesn't. Archer is 2-1 with a 3.31 ERA in three career starts against the Angels, who he will face Saturday at Tropicana Field. Archer has allowed only six homers in 125 2/3 innings for a 0.45 home-run-per-nine-inning ratio, sixth best in the majors and fifth in the American League.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Getting close is wonderful, and playing with great effort is also really good. But we have to figure out a way to win these games when they're winnable." -- Manager Joe Maddon, on getting close to playing .500 ball for the season.
MLB Team Report - Tampa Bay Rays - ROSTER REPORT
--C Ryan Hanigan (left oblique strain) took batting practice on Aug. 1. He went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 9. He ran the bases and caught a bullpen session July 25. Hanigan could play minor league games Aug. 2-3 and travel with the Rays to Oakland on Aug. 4.
--RF Wil Myers (right wrist sprain) took batting practice on Aug. 1, and too about 15 swings. He went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 31, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on July 18. It was decided June 3 that he would not need surgery, although he was in a cast until it was removed in mid-July. He hit off a tee for first time July 25. He might return in mid-August.
--INF/OF Jerry Sands (strained tendon in left wrist) went on the 15-day disabled list June 23. He underwent season-ending surgery July 22.
--DH David DeJesus (fractured left hand) went on the 15-day disabled list June 19. His brace has been removed but as of July 29, he still was unable to swing a bat. He might return in early to mid-August.
--SS Tim Beckham (right knee surgery in December 2013) went on the 15-day disabled list March 30, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 1. He was training with the Rays' high Class A club as of mid-April. He began a rehab assignment in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League on July 21.
--LHP Matt Moore (left elbow surgery in April 2014) went on the 15-day disabled list April 8, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 27. He is out for the season.
RHP Chris Archer
RHP Jake Odorizzi
RHP Alex Cobb
RHP Jeremy Hellickson
LHP Drew Smyly
LHP Jake McGee (closer)
RHP Joel Peralta
RHP Kirby Yates
RHP Grant Balfour
RHP Brad Boxberger
LHP Cesar Ramos
LHP Jeff Beliveau
1B James Loney
2B Logan Forsythe
SS Yunel Escobar
3B Evan Longoria
INF Cole Figueroa
LF Matt Joyce
CF Desmond Jennings
RF Ben Zobrist
OF/INF Sean Rodriguez
OF Kevin Kiermaier
OF Brandon Guyer