HOUSTON – Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier made his impact felt defensively in his return from the disabled list on Tuesday. There will be changes in playing time moving forward as well.
With Kiermaier James Neal Jersey , who missed 57 games with a torn ligament in his right thumb, back in the fold, Mallex Smith shifted to left field while Johnny Field claimed a reserve role. While Smith appears a likely bet to maintain regular at-bats, Field could see a decline in his. Field could potentially share time in right field with veteran Carlos Gomez, whose defense played a part in the Rays’ 2-1 victory Tuesday that ended Houston’s 12-game winning streak and set the stage for the rubber match of this three-game series on Wednesday night.
“Mallex is going to play a lot,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “He’s done a good job; I think he’s deserving to play. He’s probably back in the spot that benefits us the most in left or right when he goes over there at certain times. I like that he can rove to all three of (the outfield slots) and back up K.K. in center. But now it’s like the infield thing: I’m just going to have to do a good job of making sure that everybody gets some consistency and also rest at the same time.
“I don’t think it’s going to hurt Carlos Gomez to get an extra day here and there. Same with Johnny. You see with really good teams that have a full roster the ability to rest their so-called regulars. So, we’ll take that approach.”
The Rays designated outfielder Rob Refsnyder for assignment to make room for Kiermaier.
Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (1-2, 4.63 ERA) will start the series finale for the Rays (34-39). He is 1-0 with a 2.52 ERA over four career starts against Houston but hasn’t faced them since April 7, 2016, while pitching for the Yankees.
Eovaldi has faced the Astros once in Houston, earning a 3-2 win on June 26, 2015, after allowing two runs on five hits and two walks with six strikeouts over six innings.
Wednesday will mark his fifth start since returning from a second Tommy John surgery.
The Astros (49-26) will counter with right-hander Charlie Morton (8-1, 2.94 ERA), who is 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA over three career starts against the Rays. Morton went 1-1 with a 5.73 ERA in two starts against the Rays last season Jonathan Marchessault Jersey , allowing seven runs on 10 hits and five walks over 11 innings.
He picked up the win in his last start, the 200th of his career, limiting the Royals to three runs on four hits and four walks with nine strikeouts over six innings in a 7-3 victory on June 15.
Major League Baseball released the second update of the American League All-Star voting results on Tuesday, and Astros second baseman Jose Altuve leads all players in fan balloting with 1,572,101 votes. Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts is just behind Altuve at 1,568,417.
“I think it’s remarkable, and I think it’s well deserved for someone who represents our game in exceptional fashion,” said Astros manager A.J. Hinch, who will manage the AL All-Stars in Washington, D.C., next month. “I think the voters are getting it right. He’s every bit what’s right about baseball. I love the guy and I’m happy that he’s getting the recognition that he should.”
For a team with some of the biggest stars in baseball, the New York Yankees are getting many of their most critical contributions from a remarkable group of unflappable youngsters.
Gleyber Torres hit another three-run homer, fellow rookie Domingo German struck out a career-high 10 for his first major league win and the Yankees edged the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 in the opener of a four-game series Thursday night.
”All the young guys we have Luca Sbisa Jersey , they’ve been excelling. So, it’s fun to watch,” reliever Dellin Betances said. ”I think the fans are excited to kind of see this wave of young guys just helping this team out and you’re going to be seeing them for a lot of years.”
Aaron Hicks also homered off Blake Snell (8-4) as New York beat the blossoming left-hander for the second time this season and ended his four-game winning streak.
”Gave them a lot of opportunity to do damage,” Snell said. ”Everything was inconsistent.”
German (1-4) allowed Matt Duffy’s home run on the first pitch of the game but quickly recovered to strike out the next three batters.
”Unfazed,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. ”A really strong outing for us, especially after getting punched there right before Roll Call even started.”
Making his seventh start in place of injured Jordan Montgomery, the right-hander permitted three runs, five hits and two walks in his 19th career appearance.
Chad Green and Betances set up Aroldis Chapman for his 19th save in 20 attempts.
”It’s been a long battle for me,” German said through a translator. ”It means a lot. Hopefully I can relax a little more.”
Wilson Ramos and Joey Wendle each had an RBI single for the Rays, who were coming off a three-game sweep of Toronto.
Duffy tried to score from first on Ramos’ run-scoring single in the third when the ball caromed off left fielder Giancarlo Stanton after he charged in for it. Stanton chased down the ball and fired a strike to catcher Gary Sanchez at home plate, nailing Duffy for the final out of the third to keep the score 2-0.
Fresh off a three-day breather, the slumping Sanchez had an eventful night on defense. He also dropped a foul popup for an error, allowed a wild pitch that put a runner in scoring position and threw out Carlos Gomez trying to steal third with one out in the seventh.
Hicks hit an opposite-field homer in the fifth. Aaron Judge singled and Sanchez drew a two-out walk before Torres drove a 96 mph, full-count fastball to left for his 13th homer since being called up from the minors on April 22. This was the first one that didn’t come from the No. 9 hole – Torres batted fifth as the Yankees started nine right-handed hitters against Snell.
The rookie has five three-run homers already, most among big league hitters. Torres also went deep in Wednesday night’s loss to Washington.
”I think when you mature every day Marc-Andre Fleury Jersey , every at-bat, you believe in what (you) can do,” the 21-year-old Torres said. ”Just try to take good at-bats, believe, focus and do my job.”
New York, with the best record in the majors at 44-20, hasn’t lost consecutive games since May 22-23 at Texas.
Making a strong bid for his first All-Star selection, Snell struck out eight and threw 105 pitches in five innings. He was 3-0 with a 0.38 ERA in his previous four starts.
”We need to get him deep in ballgames. He’s done that all season for us and today for whatever reason, he just didn’t have the command to get it done,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
Rays: Gold Glove CF Kevin Kiermaier (right thumb surgery) and SS Adeiny Hechavarria (strained right hamstring) are moving from Class A Charlotte to Triple-A Durham this weekend to continue their rehab assignments. … RHP Chris Archer (left abdominal strain) is likely to play catch Friday, Cash said. … INF Daniel Robertson (strained left hamstring) probably will play a rehab game or two at Class A and the team hopes he’ll be ready to come off the disabled list next Thursday, the first day he’s eligible, Cash said.
Yankees: RHP Masahiro Tanaka (two strained hamstrings) was kept home with a virus but is expected back at the ballpark Friday. The issue shouldn’t delay Tanaka’s return, Boone said.
After the game, the Yankees optioned 1B-DH Tyler Austin to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to open a roster spot for Jonathan Loaisiga. The right-hander will be called up from Double-A Trenton to make his major league debut Friday night Nate Schmidt Jersey , pitching in place of Tanaka.
Rays: Nathan Eovaldi (1-1) starts Friday night against his former team, his fourth outing since coming back from a second Tommy John surgery. Eovaldi pitched for the Yankees from 2015-16, going 14-3 in 2015, but has never faced New York. ”I wish I would have been able to finish on a healthy note. Other than that, I really enjoyed my time there,” Eovaldi said. The right-hander visited with Yankees players during batting practice and said he still keeps in close contact with Betances and reliever Chasen Shreve.
Yankees: The 23-year-old Loaisiga, from Nicaragua, returned last year from Tommy John surgery. ”I think he’s really talented. I think he’s going to be a really good pitcher in this league,” Boone said. ”I think there’s just a presence about him.” Loaisiga was 3-1 with a 4.32 ERA in six starts at Trenton after going 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA at Class A Tampa this season, striking out 58 in 45 innings combined. ”Super excited. This is a great opportunity the Yankees are giving me,” he