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Roger Mooney

Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.

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Rays v Jays: Happy Opening Day

Posted Mar 31, 2014 by Roger Mooney

Updated Mar 31, 2014 at 02:41 PM

ST. PETERSBURG – Happy Opening Day!

The Rays begin the 2014 season this afternoon against the Blue Jays at Tropicana Field. David Price and knuckleballer R.A. Dickey – the 2012 Cy Young Award winners – will square off.

There are plenty of expectations surrounding this Rays team, with predictions ranging from AL East champs to World Series winners.

“I prefer having a lot of expectations to none,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said.

This will be the third Opening Day start for Price, one shy of the team record of four held by James Shields.

Fans at today’s game will get the first look at the revamped batter’s eye in center field and the walkway that stretches from foul pole to foul pole.

Here are the lineups:

Reyes SS
Cabrera LF
Bautista RF
Encarnacion 1B
Navarro DH
Lawrie 3B
Rasmus CF
Isturis 2B
Thole C

Dickey RHP (14-13, 4.21 ERA in 2013)

DeJesus LF
Myers RF
Zobrist 2B
Longoria 3B
Loney 1B
Jennings CF
Joyce DH
Molina C
Escobar SS

Price LHP (10-8, 3.33 ERA in 2013)

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Rays @ Montgomery: Lineups for exhibition against Biscuits

Posted Mar 29, 2014 by Roger Mooney

Updated Mar 29, 2014 at 11:30 AM

MONTGOMERY – The Rays have arrived at Riverwalk Stadium, home of their Double A affiliate Montgomery Biscuits.

It’s a cloudy, gloomy morning but the rain is supposed to hold off and the Rays will put their finishing touches on their 2014 exhibition season.

Chris Archer will start for the Rays. Juan Carlos Oviedo made the trip to pitch.

The Rays are running out what will likely be their lineup vs. right-handed pitchers (though neither catcher made the trip), so this could be the way it looks Monday when they open the season against R.A. Dickey and the visiting Blue Jays.

Here is the lineup:

DeJesus LF
Myers RF
Zobrist 2B
Longoria 3B
Loney 1B
Jennings CF
Joyce DH
Escobar SS
O’Conner C

Archer P

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RHP Lowe open to going to AAA Bulls if he can’t find major league job

Posted Mar 26, 2014 by Roger Mooney

Updated Mar 26, 2014 at 03:28 PM

PORT CHARLOTTE – RHP Mark Lowe was given his official release today from the Tampa Bay Rays. He was informed Tuesday that he would not make the Opening Day roster.

The 30-year-old reliever, who had a March 28 opt-out clause on the minor league contract he signed in November, said he appreciated the opportunity he received in camp and appreciated the Rays released him at this time so he has a few days to find a job with another big league team.

“I had a lot of respect for this organization and the reasons they brought me in here and the way that they treated me, class act,” Lowe said.

When asked if he would consider signing another minor league contract with the Rays if he can’t find a spot on a major league roster, Lowe said, “They’re definitely on the top of my list. I don’t think that going to Triple A is a fun thing to thing about, but that’s a reality, possibly. I would see no reason why not.”

Lowe allowed one earned run in 10 1/3 innings this spring. He certainly pitched well enough to earn a spot in the bullpen, but it seems RHP Brandon Gomes, who has not allowed a run this spring, and Jose Lueke, who has pitched well and is out of options, will take the last two spots.

Despite how well he pitched this spring and the Rays habit of keeping veteran relievers, Lowe said Tuesday’s news did not catch him by surprised.

“No, coming to the field I knew it was coming up at some point,” Lowe said. “Going through different scenarios in my head, I’ve seen this every single year in spring training for the last eight year. I knew that there was a possibility of maybe, and I always expect the worse so when it does happen I’m not caught off guard, and when something really good happens, you’re surprised.”

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Rays v BoSox: Cuts coming, protective caps for pitchers arrives, lineups

Posted Mar 25, 2014 by Roger Mooney

Updated Mar 25, 2014 at 10:16 AM

PORT CHARLOTTE – It appears the Rays are making cuts today and could be finalizing at least the position side of the roster. Players are being called into Joe Maddon’s office.

There are four players for the two spots left on the bench – OF Brandon Guyer and INFs Logan Forsythe, Jayson Nix and Wilson Betemit. Betemit and Nix are on minor league contracts. Forsythe has an option remaining. Guyer is out of options.

Also, a decision on LHP Erik Bedard is expected today since he is due a $100,000 bonus if he’s not on the 25-man roster or major league DL today. Bedard, in camp on a minor league concert, was told Saturday he was not going to make the rotation and was given permission to seek a job with another team.

Then there’s this: Remember that protective head gear for pitchers that Alex Cobb talked about last week? The ones approved by MLB and were supposed to be in camps this spring but weren’t? A rep is here today.

The swelling on Matt Moore’s lower lip has gone down significantly.

The Red Sox are here this afternoon at Charlotte Sports Park, and, as usual, a big crowd is expected.

Here are the lineups:

Nava LF
Pedroia 2B
Carp DH
Napoli 1B
Sizemore CF
Bogaerts SS
Pierzynski C
Middlebrooks 3B
Bradley RF

Buchholz RHP

DeJesus CF
Myers RF
Zobrist 2B
Longoria 3B
Loney 1B
Joyce LF
Rodriguez SS
Molina C
Escobar DH

Odorizzi RHP

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Rays prospect Colome suspended 50 games for PED use

Posted Mar 24, 2014 by Roger Mooney

Updated Mar 24, 2014 at 02:18 PM

FORT MYERS – Tampa Bay Rays pitching prospect Alex Colome has been suspended 50-game without pay after testing positive for Boldenone, a performance-enhancing substance, violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

The suspension begins at the start of the season.

The Rays issued this statement: “We were disappointed to learn of Alex Colome’s violation of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.  We fully support Major League Baseball’s policy and its efforts to eliminate performance-enhancing substances from our game.  Per the protocol outlined in the Joint Drug Program, the organization will not comment further on this matter.”

Boldenone is an anabolic steroid commonly used to treat horses.

Colome made one start for the Rays last season, earning a victory against the Marlins in June. He is considered one of the Rays top pitching prospects and was set to begin the season at Triple A Durham.

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