4/19/2014 11:36 P.M. ET
Riefenhauser recalled, makes debut
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays on Saturday recalled left-hander C.J. Riefenhauser from Triple-A Durham and optioned right-hander Brad Boxberger to Durham.
Manager Joe Maddon didn't waste any time getting Riefenhauser into his first Major League game; the 24-year-old took over from starter Chris Archer with two outs in the seventh and the Rays leading, 14-1.
Riefenhauser retired the first batter he faced, Alfonso Soriano, on a groundout. He then worked the eighth, retiring the Yankees in order to end his outing.
"I couldn't be more happy," Riefenhauser said. "[Joel] Peralta gave me a head's up. He said, 'Hey, man, just go out there and throw strikes.' And that's what I tried to do.
"This is probably the most jacked up I've ever been, even if it [had been] a 3-2 game in the ninth. This was a different ballgame. This was a lot of fun."
Maddon complimented Riefenhauer's performance.
"Kind of stone-faced, I loved it," Maddon said. "He threw [two] balls and 10 strikes. Totally composed. Outstanding first performance, does not surprise me in the least."
Maddon noted that Riefenhauser can retire right-handers as well as left-handers, "but he's really good against lefties."
"He's got a nice breaking ball/slider for his other pitch," Maddon added. "He throws the ball pretty hard, and he's not afraid. So he's got a nice combination of things."
Riefenhauser was a 20th-round selection by the Rays in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.
"I talked to him a lot [during Spring Training]," Maddon said. "He's just a really nice kid, really unpretentious. I think he's grateful for being here, but he's also earned the right to be here. So that's pretty cool when you get a guy like that, drafted in the low rounds and works his way up through the ranks. And every year you just keep hearing his name, 'Riefenhauser, Riefenhauser.' And I finally got to see him this past Spring Training and got to see what all the talk was about. He's good. He's good. He's really good on lefties, but he's going to get out righties, too."
Riefenhauser sounded appreciative of the treatment accorded him by the Rays.
"[The organization] always sees something in you, and they try to bring it out," said Riefenhauser, a native of Mahopac, N.Y., which is about an hour away from Yankee Stadium. "And I couldn't be more blessed to have this opportunity here, especially against the team I grew up loving, and it's really something."
Meanwhile, Boxberger returned to Durham with an unblemished slate, including a standout two innings of scoreless relief in Friday night's win over the Yankees.
Maddon was clearly impressed with Boxberger, who allowed no runs on one hit and two walks while striking out four in four innings over three appearances.
"Boxy is a Major League pitcher, period," Maddon said. "Sometimes the rules work against you on pitchers and young players, but there's going to be a time when it's going to work in his favor also. He's a professional. I emphasized to him ... how much confidence I have in him against anybody at any time. He's got that kind of stuff. He can pitch against righties and lefties at big moments."
Sore groin keeps Jennings out of lineup
ST. PETERSBURG -- Center fielder Desmond Jennings got a critical pinch-hit RBI single in the seventh inning of Friday night's win, then was lifted for a pinch-runner.
Jennings did not start again on Saturday night because of a lingering groin problem.
"He's the same today, coming off the bench, and we'll probably have to pinch-run for him again," manager Joe Maddon said. "It's kind of like a sore groin area. We don't think it's anything serious, but I don't want to push him right now, especially on this turf."
Maddon allowed that head trainer Ron Porterfield does not think the injury to be too serious.
"The fact we were willing to pinch-hit him yesterday speaks to that, too," Maddon said. "I honestly don't believe it's horrible. I'm not getting that from Ronnie. [We'll] go with him lightly this weekend, give him a day off [when the Rays are off on Monday] and see what he looks like on Tuesday."
Jennings is hitting .264 with a home run and five RBIs this season.
Loney's heroics land him in elite club
ST. PETERSBURG -- With two outs in the fourth inning of Friday night's game against the Yankees, James Loney put the Rays on the board with a two-run double. He again came through with two outs in the seventh, stroking a two-run single that turned out to be the winning hit.
According to Elias, Loney is one of two players this season to record multiple two-out hits in a game, each of which drove in at least two runs. The other is Minnesota's Chris Colabello, who accomplished the feat on April 3 against the White Sox.
B.J. Upton was the last Rays player to turn the trick, which he did on Sept. 3, 2011, against the Orioles, driving in five runs with two doubles. Each double came with two outs.
Entering Saturday night's game against the Yankees, Loney has batted .335 in the seventh inning or later since joining the Rays in 2013.
His game-winning hit on Friday night gave him four such hits this season.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.