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Rays video tribute to ex-manager Joe Maddon upon return with Cubs

Here is the Rays video tribute to former manager Joe Maddon, who returned to the Trop for the first time on Tuesday with his Cubs team:

 

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Joe Maddon on being back at Trop, Cash, a new stadium

Joe Maddon, right, speaks with Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey before Tuesday's game at Tropicana Field.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Joe Maddon, right, speaks with Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey before Tuesday's game at Tropicana Field.

More to come later, but a couple of quick early highlights from former Rays manager Joe Maddon's return to the Trop with the Cubs:

* He enjoyed the drive over from his Tampa home, chatted with parking lot guard Vinny Paolozzi and other stadium personnel and then headed past the Rays clubhouse that housed his office for nine years to the visiting clubhouse, where two inflated pink flamingo pool floaties (stocked with Bud Light) were waiting in his office. "It was very cool walking in,'' he said, noting he had been through a similar return going back to Anaheim with the Rays. "I was really looking forward to this when I saw it on the schedule. ... Eager to get back. It's good to get back.;;

* Noting he was free to comment since he no longer worked for the Rays, Maddon ripped on the Trop saying it's clear the Rays need "a better stadium in a better location,'' saying it would be very helpful to have a "more vibrant" building, and one that should be on the Tampa side. "For this organization to get to really where they want to on an annual basis you need a better building in a better spot. …

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For starters: Rays vs. Cubs in Joe Maddon's return to Trop

Joe Maddon returns to Tropicana Field tonight for the first time since leaving the Rays to become manager of the Cubs.

Getty Images

Joe Maddon returns to Tropicana Field tonight for the first time since leaving the Rays to become manager of the Cubs.

Joe Maddon's return to the Trop will be the main story tonight, but there is still a baseball game to be played, between a Cubs team surging toward another division title with six straight wins and a Rays team struggling to keep alive a longshot bid for the second AL wildcard spot.

RHP Chris Archer will be on the mound for the Rays, seeking to snap a three-game skid in which he has a 14.14 ERA, walking off the mound in the first inning of his Sept. 2 due to forearm tigthness and then having two rough and abbreviated outings.

The Cubs are starting LHP Mike Montgomery, a forrmer Rays minor-leaguer who has bounced between the rotation and the bullpen this season. He also has the notation of being the pitcher who got the final out of the 2016 World Series.

Logan Morrison is back in the lineup for the Rays, as they are are starting five lefties against Montgomery.

Here is the Rays lineup:

Kiermaier cf,
Souza rf,
Longoria 3b,
Morrison 1b,
Ramos c,
Duda dh,
Hechavarria ss,
Dickerson lf,
Miller 2b,
Archer p

And here is the Cubs lineup, with two ex-Rays:
Jay cf
Zobrist lf
Rizzo 1b
Contreras c
Schwarber dh
Happ 2b
Heyward rf
Russell ss
Baez 3b
Montgomery p

 

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For ex-Rays/now Cubs manager Joe Maddon, the legacy is in the jeans

"The only thing I've really focused on regarding my legacy to this point is that fact that I think I really altered dress codes,'' Joe Maddon said.

LUIS SANTANA | Times (2010)

"The only thing I've really focused on regarding my legacy to this point is that fact that I think I really altered dress codes,'' Joe Maddon said.

Joe Maddon has plenty of memories of his time at the Trop during nine years of managing the Rays. "Too many to count,'' he said. …

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Cubs bring some other ex-Rays to Trop such as Wade Davis, Ben Zobrist

Two-time Rays MVP Ben Zobrist is finishing strong after a slow start to his second season in Chicago.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times (2014)

Two-time Rays MVP Ben Zobrist is finishing strong after a slow start to his second season in Chicago.

Joe Maddon's first trip back to the Trop is getting most of the headlines tonight, but there are several other familiar faces among the eight former Rays now wearing Cubs uniforms. …

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Rays Evan Longoria, Kahwa Coffee brewing up help for charities

Evan Longoria and Kahwa are teaming up for a new blend — aptly called Signature Series No. 3 — that will be sold with proceeds to benefit Hurricane Irma relief efforts and then local charities.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Evan Longoria and Kahwa are teaming up for a new blend — aptly called Signature Series No. 3 — that will be sold with proceeds to benefit Hurricane Irma relief efforts and then local charities.

Rays 3B Evan Longoria and the Tampa Bay-based Kahwa coffee roasting company are teaming up for a new blend — aptly called Signature Series No. 3 — that will be sold with proceeds to benefit Hurricane Irma relief efforts and then local charities.

The blend, sourced from three high-quality beans, was selected by Longoria and will be introduced Tuesday.

Bags will be available at all 12 Tampa Bay Kahwa locations, at KahwaCoffee.com and at the Trop.

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For starters: Rays looking to avoid sweep against Red Sox

Jake Odorizzi, pictured, faces lefty Eduardo Rodriguez.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Jake Odorizzi, pictured, faces lefty Eduardo Rodriguez.

The Rays (72-77) begin the day five games below .500, 5-1/2 games behind the Twins for the final Wild Card spot and, according to FanGraphs, with a 0.3 percent chance of reaching the postseason.

So ...

They look to avoid a sweep this afternoon against the Red Sox. Jake Odorizzi faces lefty Eduardo Rodriguez.

Want more bad news? The Rays are an AL-worst 16-27 this season when facing a left-handed starter. They are currently riding a six-game losing streak against southpaws.

With the playoff chances basically at zero, the Rays will use the final two weeks making evaluations for next season. Today they will get a look at Cesar Puello in left field and will see more of Lucas Duda, a free agent after this season, at first.

The first-place Red Sox (85-63), meanwhile, begin the day with a three-game lead over the second-place (and AL wild Card-leading) Yankees.

Here are the lineups:

 

RED SOX

Bogaerts SS

Pedroia DH

Benintendi LF

Betts RF

Moreland 1B

Vazquez C

Devers 3B

Holt 2B

Bradley CF

Rodriguez LHP (5-5, 4.19)

 

RAYS

Kiermaier CF

Bourjos RF

Longoria DH

Duda 1B

Hechavarria SS

Plouffe 3B

Miller 2B

Sucre C

Puello LF


Odorizzi RHP (8-8, 4.52)

 

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For starters: Rays lineup vs. Red Sox

The Rays and Red Sox are back at it tonight for a 6:10 start, returning to the field they walked off this morning at 1:15 after Friday’s/Saturday’s 15-inning marathon.

The Red Sox won that 13-6 with a seven-run 15th.

The Rays (72-76) are 5.5 games behind the Twins for the final Wild Card spot in the AL. There 14 games remaining on their schedule. It looks bleak.

Speaking of bleak, tonight is likely the final start at Tropicana Field for Rays RHP Alex Cobb, who will be a free agent at the end of the season.

Here are the lineups:

 

RED SOX

Bogaerts SS

Vazquez C

Benintendi LF

Betts RF

Moreland 1B

Young DH

Devers 3B

Holt 2B

Bradley CF

Porcello RHP (9-17, 4.64)

 

RAYS

Kiermaier CF

Souza RF

Longoria 3B

Duda 1B

Ramos C

Dickerson DH

Hechavarria SS

Miller 2B

Smith LF

 

Cobb RHP (11-9, 3.59)

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Rays morning post: Kiermaier not concerned with back tightness

Kevin Kiermaier said he tweaked his back while making a throw to the plate in the top if the 15th inning.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Kevin Kiermaier said he tweaked his back while making a throw to the plate in the top if the 15th inning.

The Rays were down to their last out early Saturday morning in the 15th inning of a very long game when CF Kevin Kiermaier was lifted for a pinch-hitter.

The reason: his back had tightened up, which is understandable since he spent 15 innings standing on the Trop’s unforgiving turf and he threw his body around while making a diving catch in the ninth inning that nearly saved the day, but turned into a footnote in a 13-6, 15-inning loss to the Red Sox.

Kiermaier said he tweaked his back while making a throw to the plate in the top if the 15th.

“That’s probably from a six-hour game,” he said. “We’re all dealing with that out there. It’s just one of those things where I felt something grab a little hit. I’m not worried about it.”

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Thoughts on Joe Maddon returning to Trop? Please do tell ...

Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon stands in the dugout before a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh on Sept. 4, 2017.

Gene J. Puskar | Associated Press

Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon stands in the dugout before a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh on Sept. 4, 2017.

With former Rays manager Joe Maddon returning for the first time to the Trop this week with his Cubs team, we want to know what you'll think seeing him back there.

Tell us in 50 words or less via email at sports@tampabay.com and we'll print the best in Tuesday's Tampa Bay Times, and more online at tampabay.com.

 

 

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For starters: Rays vs. Red Sox, facing Chris Sale as they try to get on a roll

The Rays are back at the Trop today as they try to gain ground in the AL wild-card race.

But they will have a tough challenge, facing the Red Sox and ace LHP Chris Sale.

The Rays start the day at 72-75, 5 1/2 games - and six teams - from the second wild card currently held by the Twins. Though still mathematically possible, the Rays chances likely will require them to get on an extended roll, perhaps needing to win 12 or 13 of their final 15 games.

Here is the Rays lineup:

Kiermaier cf,
Souza rf,
Longoria 3b,
Plouffe 1b,
Hechavarria ss,
Ramos c,
Bourjos lf,
Puello dh,
Espinosa 2b,
Andriese p

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Rays morning after: One title, another close and a big-league challenge

The Renegades celebrate their NY-Penn League championship.

COURTESY @HVRENEGADES

The Renegades celebrate their NY-Penn League championship.

We'll get back in a minute to the challenge facing the big-league Rays in trying to make it to the AL playoffs, but first want to acknowledge some not-so-minor matters.

First, that the short-season Class A Hudson Valley Renegades late Thursday won the NY-Penn League Championship, beating the Vermont Lake Monsters (A's) to sweep their way to the title.

Playing under first-year manager Craig Albernaz, playing with 2017 first-round draft pick Brendan McKay hitting and pitching, and playing their way back from an 11-game losing streak, the Renegades won the league championship for the first time.

Second, that the Triple-A Durham Bulls moved to the brink of their fifth International League Governors' Cup championship with a 6-2 win Thursday over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Yankees).

The Bulls lead the series 2-1 and can clinch as soon as tonight, with RHP Burch Smith on the mound in Moosic, Pa., and a 6:35 p.m. first pitch.

RHP Brent Honeywell, the top prospect (though not necessarily the best pitcher this season) on their staff, stepped up with a big game, striking out 10 over six shutout innings. Shane Peterson hit a two-run homer in the second inning to get the Bulls started. …

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Former Rays/now Cubs manager Joe Maddon donates $25,000 to Hurricane Irma relief efforts

Joe Maddon in pitching in to help hurricane relief efforts in his adopted home state of Florida.

AP photo

Joe Maddon in pitching in to help hurricane relief efforts in his adopted home state of Florida.

Former Rays and current Cubs manager Joe Maddon in pitching in to help hurricane relief efforts in his adopted home state of Florida.

Maddon will donate $25,000 through his Respect 90 Foundation.

"My wife, Jaye, and I are fortunate to call Florida home," Maddon said in a release. "Our thoughts and prayers are with all our fellow residents including neighbors and friends affected by Hurricane Irma. We are thankful for Florida's leadership and the many first responders who are leading recovery efforts in a state we truly have come to love."

Maddon's foundation, which has worked previously with the Salvation Army, also helped out the Tampa shelter, which was without power, to feed residents tonight and Friday. The food will be purchased and delivered from Maddon's Ava restaurant in south Tampa and partner Michael Stewart's 717 South, both which just recently had power restored.

Maddon will be back in the area next week for his first visit back to Tropicana Field when the Cubs play the Rays on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Maddon's foundation last month donated money from his Burnout Classic Fundraiser near Chicago to help storm victims in Houston.

 

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Rays, Feeding Tampa Bay to provide food, water 5-6:30 today at Trop for Hurricane Irma victims

The Rays and Feeding Tampa Bay will provide food, bananas and water today at Tropicana Field for those in need due to Hurricane Irma.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

The Rays and Feeding Tampa Bay will provide food, bananas and water today at Tropicana Field for those in need due to Hurricane Irma.

UPDATE, 2:14: Distribution will run from 5-6:30. St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, Police Chief Anthony Holloway and officers, and Rays front office staff will assist Feeding Tampa Bay reps.

DEVELOPING: The Rays and Feeding Tampa Bay will provide food, bananas and water today at Tropicana Field for those in need due to Hurricane Irma.

The items - including MREs (Meals Ready to Eat, similar to military rations) will be available starting at 5 p.m. in Lot 6. Entry is off First Avenue South or the main Tropicana Field entrance off Ninth Street S.

The Rays had already announced plans to host a food drive with Feeding Tampa Bay at this weekend's games

Fans who donate unopened cans and non-perishable food items will get a voucher for two complimentary tickets to a 2018 home game (some will be exsluded), with collection areas outside of Gate 1 and inside Gates 1 and 3. …

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Rays get final approval, so it's play ball at Trop on Friday vs. Red Sox

Will Vragovic | Times

The Rays got final approval this morning to return to the Trop and resume their home schedule by hosting the Red Sox starting Friday night.

Through Tropicana Field didn't sustain any major damage from Hurricane Irma, the Rays were waiting for the okay to play from St. Petersburg and Pinellas County officials, specifically tied to power outages that left traffic lights near the staidum inoperable.

"Tropicana Field is in good shape, and staff are busy making sure it is ready for Friday,'' Rays president Brian Auld said. "Our biggest concern was not overburdening the remarkable first responders who have been working around the clock to get Tampa Bay up and running. Now that we have the go-ahead from them, we are encouraged to be getting things back to normal."

After having their series against the Yankees relocated to the Mets' Citi Field, the Rays are flying home after today's game and were optimistic of playing at the Trop at some point this weekend. Now they have the go-ahead to play as scheduleld, with games at 7:10 Friday, 6:10 Saturday and 1:10 Sunday.

 

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