ST. PETERSBURG -- Newly acquired outfielder Rich Thompson picked up his first career hit and RBI with a fourth-inning single in Thursday night's game against the Red Sox.
The ball was thrown into the Rays' dugout to commemorate the event. Thompson then stole second base, prompting pitcher David Price to call to Thompson to take second base as another souvenir. Thompson did not do as instructed, but he did steal third base.
Thompson made his Rays debut as a pinch-runner in the eighth inning of Wednesday's 2-1 win over the Red Sox.
Prior to that appearance, Thompson's only stint in the Major Leagues came with the Royals in April 2004, when he appeared in six games and had one at-bat in a game at Cleveland that saw him ground into a double play.
"I think I had a lot more nerves [going to the Major Leagues] when I was 23 or 24, whatever I was," Thompson said. "I think I'm probably just a little more confident. I'd only been in Triple-A the year before. Now I feel kind of like I know who I am now."
Thompson thought he had arrived to The Show for a prolonged stay during his first stint in the Major Leagues.
"I was a Rule 5 [Draft pick], so I thought my chances were pretty good," Thompson said. "My role was pretty solid. Things just didn't quite pan out. I didn't expect to be in Triple-A for a long time, but then, when I was in Triple-A, I'm like, 'At least I don't have to go back to Double-A.' Then a couple of days later I end up in Double-A.
"So certainly never take anything for granted. As soon as you feel like you're where you're going to be for good, things can change."
As for his one at-bat?
"I didn't spend a whole lot of time thinking about it," said Thompson, recalling that catcher Tim Laker was pitching for the Indians in a blowout. "I was facing a backup catcher. ... It was cold in Cleveland and I was pretty sure I wasn't going to have the tightest strike zone, so I was like, 'I'm not striking out.'
"I got a decent pitch to hit and Omar Vizquel stepped on second and turned two. That was a little bit disappointing. I was supposed to be one of the faster guys in baseball and I hit into a double play. I've hit into a lot more double plays since."
Rhymes feels fine, out of Thursday's lineup
ST. PETERSBURG -- Will Rhymes felt fine on Thursday, but he won't likely see action against the Red Sox on Thursday night, a day after fainting in the eighth inning of the Rays' 2-1 win.
"I feel good now," Rhymes said. "Last night, I was a little out of it and stuff. This morning, I was a little nauseous. As far as the arm goes, it feels way better than yesterday."
With pinch-runner Rich Thompson on third, Rhymes was plunked on the right forearm by a 95-mph fastball from Boston lefty Franklin Morales.
"Right when it hit, I was thinking that's got to be broken," Rhymes said. "That's as hard as you can take a ball off that particular bone. I felt like he had just gotten me square. The way it felt I thought it was broken."
After being examined by the trainers, Rhymes walked to first base, but while standing on the bag, the second baseman pointed to his chest and motioned to the dugout saying he needed to come out. As Rhymes walked off the field, he collapsed into the arms of first-base coach George Hendrick.
A hushed crowd watched as Rhymes stayed prone on the field and was surrounded by the team's medical and coaching staff. He regained consciousness, and after a few minutes, he was taken off the field on a medical cart.
"At first, I just didn't have time to tell him what I was feeling," Rhymes said. "I just looked in the dugout and motioned that I needed to come out, because my eyes crossed a couple of times and I got really nauseous. That's why I kind of went down. ... Then it was just lights out completely. I saw the replay later. I thought I was just out for a split second."
Rhymes regretted all the attention the episode received.
"I guess it was on ESPN, social media, I guess it was all over," said Rhymes. "I feel bad for my family and my friends who were watching. What happened looked really bad, but it's not that big of a deal. My body just shut down. I think it's just something that happens sometimes when you get massive blood flow to one area. My body just shut down."
Rhymes was not fully dressed out when the Rays took batting practice Thursday, and he wore an elastic sleeve over the spot where he got hit.
"I wanted to do some baseball activity today, but they didn't want me to, because extra blood flow might cause some more swelling," said Rhymes, who brought out the Rays' lineup card to home plate Thursday. "Kind of try not to do anything today except pinch-run if I have to. Try to kind of give it a day to calm down."
Manager Joe Maddon said he didn't expect Rhymes to be out too long.
Health improving, Zimmer visits Tropicana Field
ST. PETERSBURG -- Senior advisor Don Zimmer was at Tropicana Field Thursday night after dealing with a rash of recent health problems, including kidney dialysis three times a week for four hours per session.
"That's a long four hours, too, boy," Zimmer said.
Zimmer's health issues began approximately a month ago.
"I was gone, I was in a diabetic coma," Zimmer said. "If my wife doesn't wake me up, I'm still sleeping. My blood sugar was 20 and they rushed me to the hospital. My son was with me. My wife. That's where it all started.
"She tried to wake me up at noon, she couldn't wake me. She called my son, who lives in the same building we do. He came over and neither one of them could wake me up. He said, 'Call 911.'"
Zimmer, 81, still doesn't feel great, but he's headed in the right direction.
"This is the best I've felt," Zimmer said. "They say dialysis, the more you take it the stronger you get. I get out of breath if I walk too far, so my wife brought me down here [to Tropicana Field] and she will come and get me after a little while."
Zimmer smiled just being back at the ballpark.
"I'm back where I'm supposed to be," Zimmer said. "What games I've been watching, [wow]!"
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.