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Baz gives 97-win Rays food for thought

Rookie continues push for spot on postseason roster as club ties franchise mark for wins
@adamdberry
September 26, 2021

ST. PETERSBURG -- The American League East champion Rays haven’t finalized any postseason pitching plans yet, but in only two starts, top prospect Shane Baz has given them a lot to think about. The 22-year-old right-hander was downright dominant again Sunday afternoon, holding the Marlins to three hits and a

Franco reports to Triple-A, nears Rays return

Baz set to make second start; club's longtime staffer to step down
@adamdberry
September 21, 2021

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rookie phenom Wander Franco is nearly ready to rejoin the Rays lineup. Franco, Tampa Bay’s switch-hitting shortstop, reported to Triple-A Durham on Tuesday to begin his Minor League rehab assignment and took part in an afternoon workout on the field at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Manager Kevin

'Dream come true': Baz electric in debut

Top prospect maintains composure over five strong IP, picks up first MLB win
@adamdberry
September 21, 2021

ST. PETERSBURG -- Before Shane Baz could walk, his mother Tammy has said, he could throw a baseball. He’s wanted to throw a baseball for a living since he was a young child. Pitching in the Major Leagues, the 22-year-old right-hander said Sunday, is “kind of what I feel like

What to expect from Shane Baz in bigs

@SamDykstraMiLB
September 20, 2021

The Rays hold a comfortable lead over the Red Sox, Yankees and Blue Jays in the AL East but have sputtered a bit in September. Perhaps adding one of the best pitching prospects in baseball and one of the most effective arms from the 2021 Minor League season will provide

Rays' No. 1 prospect Baz set to debut Monday

22-year-old RHP: 'I was pinching myself this morning when I woke up'
@adamdberry
September 19, 2021

ST. PETERSBURG -- This has already been an eventful season for Shane Baz. The 22-year-old right-hander pitched in big league Spring Training, quickly earned a promotion from Double-A to Triple-A, took part in the All-Star Futures Game and represented his country with Team USA in the Tokyo Olympics. The top

No. 4 prospect Lowe gets 1st hit in debut

Arozarena to paternity list; Choi, Wisler reinstated; Archer to come out of 'pen vs. Detroit
@adamdberry
September 9, 2021

BOSTON -- The Rays took a look at another one of their top prospects Wednesday night, as outfielder Josh Lowe made his Major League debut in a 2-1 loss to the Red Sox at Fenway Park hours after being officially called up from Triple-A Durham. Lowe, the Rays’ No. 4

What to expect from Josh Lowe

@SamDykstraMiLB
September 8, 2021

The Rays have a temporary opening in the outfield. They’re going to fill it with a Top 100 prospect because that’s what one of the most successful player-development systems in recent memory can do. Tampa Bay is calling up No. 76 overall prospect Josh Lowe for his Major League debut,

Wander's game draws high praise from Sale

Red Sox's ace tips his cap to Rays' rookie shortstop for impressive home run
@adamdberry
September 4, 2021

ST. PETERSBURG -- It was not a pitch that should have been hit out, Chris Sale said. The Red Sox's ace fired a 94.5 mph fastball outside the strike zone, 3.44 feet off the ground, presumably too far up and away for Wander Franco to do anything with it. And

Wander feels better but gets night off

@adamdberry
September 3, 2021

ST. PETERSBURG -- A day after having to leave the Rays’ 4-0 loss to the Red Sox due to a headache, Rays rookie shortstop Wander Franco was feeling better but was not in Tampa Bay’s starting lineup against the Twins on Friday night. Manager Kevin Cash said Franco slept well,

Farm kings fallen? Not hardly, say Rays

@adamdberry
August 25, 2021

PHILADELPHIA -- For more than a year, the Rays owned baseball’s top-ranked farm system. Tampa Bay stood atop three consecutive lists released by MLB Pipeline: before last season, at midseason last year and before this season. They finally ceded that title this week, when MLB Pipeline ranked the Orioles’ farm

Baz ascends to top of Rays' prospect ranks

@adamdberry
August 19, 2021

ST. PETERSBURG -- There’s a new name at the top of the Rays’ incredibly deep farm system. MLB Pipeline unveiled its midseason prospect rankings on Wednesday, revealing right-hander Shane Baz as Tampa Bay’s new No. 1. Baz also took a significant jump up MLB Pipeline’s list of Top 100 Prospects,

Notes: Fenway debuts; Kiermaier rests knee

August 8, 2021

Rays rookies Wander Franco and Luis Patiño are looking forward to making their Fenway Park debuts against the Red Sox on Tuesday night. “I think it will be a great experience,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “I think they’ll really appreciate it. Just watching Boston play at home, there are

Luplow leads things off in Rays debut

@savjaye
August 7, 2021

BALTIMORE -- The Rays have a new leadoff hitter in Jordan Luplow -- at least for now. The outfielder was recalled from Triple-A Durham after Randy Arozarena was placed on the COVID-related injured list prior to Friday’s series opener against the Orioles at Camden Yards. Acquired at the July 30

'Special' Franco propels Rays into first

Baseball's top prospect brings home 2 as Tampa Bay passes Red Sox atop AL East
@adamdberry
July 31, 2021

ST. PETERSBURG -- Wander Franco slid headfirst into third base, stared into the Rays’ dugout, pumped his right fist six times and slammed his hand on the bag once. The game’s top prospect had just put Tampa Bay on top in another duel with Boston, one that ended with the

Notes: Another first for Wander; Patiño's role

@adamdberry
July 28, 2021

ST. PETERSBURG -- More than a month into his Major League career, Wander Franco is still checking off career firsts. During the Rays’ 4-3 loss to the Yankees on Tuesday night, for instance, he faced a 103 mph fastball for the first time -- and proved once again why he

Baz pitching for USA 'once in a lifetime'

@adamdberry
July 22, 2021

ST. PETERSBURG -- Last summer, Shane Baz and Joe Ryan lived together while working out at the Rays' alternate training site in Port Charlotte, Fla. In that environment amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Baz said, they had “no choice but to get to know each other.” They haven’t spent much time

Rays' top pick Williams signs, 'ready to go'

@adamdberry
July 20, 2021

ST. PETERSBURG -- The most exciting part of Carson Williams’ day at Tropicana Field was not necessarily putting pen to paper and officially signing his contract with the Rays. It certainly wasn’t the physical exam, which the first-round Draft pick summarized as “a long day of needles and MRIs.” And

Rays ink Kinney, second Day 1 pick

@adamdberry
July 19, 2021

ST. PETERSBURG -- Eight days after hearing his name called on Day 1 of the MLB Draft, Cooper Kinney made his way around Tropicana Field wearing a Rays cap with his father, Mike, and the rest of his family. He didn’t want to wait long to start his professional baseball

Franco makes first appearance at second

@adamdberry
July 17, 2021

ATLANTA -- Not quite a month into his Major League career, top prospect Wander Franco is still checking off career firsts. On Friday night, he smacked a ball to the right-field corner at Truist Park and legged out his first big league triple. On Saturday night, he made his first

'Deathbed' to Draft: Rays take P Wicklander

@adamdberry
July 13, 2021

ST. PETERSBURG -- One Saturday last May, Patrick Wicklander was scheduled to throw a bullpen session in Fayetteville, Ark. He’d been feeling bad for weeks, dropping a lot of weight in little time. It finally reached the point that he called his bullpen catcher and told him he couldn’t make

Rays land hot-hitter Manzardo on Day 2

@adamdberry
July 12, 2021

ST. PETERSBURG -- A day after the Rays added to their collection of middle infield talent by selecting high school shortstop Carson Williams with their first-round pick then taking infielder Cooper Kinney 34th overall on Day 1 of the Draft, they picked up a few more intriguing position players then

Rays add to INF depth on Day 1 of Draft

Tampa Bay takes prep infielders with first two picks, boosting an organizational strength
@adamdberry
July 12, 2021

ST. PETERSBURG -- Looking to add talent and depth to the game’s top-ranked Minor League system, the Rays selected two high school middle infielders Sunday on Day 1 of the MLB Draft.

'Dream come true': Bruján gets call

Rays' No. 2 prospect has immediate impact with glove, bat in DH opener
@adamdberry
July 7, 2021

ST. PETERSBURG -- When Vidal Bruján signed with the Rays out of the Dominican Republic seven years ago, he weighed only 145 pounds -- “a lot smaller and a lot skinnier” than he is now, he said, laughing. His bonus was only $15,000, and his mid-October agreement hardly registered compared

Several Rays step up to bring skid to a halt

@adamdberry
July 4, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Rays reported to Sahlen Field on Sunday morning on the wrong end of several streaks. They hadn’t held a lead at the end of an inning in a week. The last time they shook hands to celebrate a win was eight days ago. Their last win

Notes: Franco adjusting; two head to Tokyo

@adamdberry
July 2, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Wander Franco said he has learned a lot during his first week and a half as a Major League player, with the most helpful piece of advice coming from outfielder Manuel Margot about how to handle slumps at the game’s highest level. “Margot told me: 'Just keep