4/20/2014 7:45 P.M. ET
Triple-A Durham teeming with quality relief options
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
ST. PETERSBURG -- C.J. Riefenhauser made his Major League debut on Saturday night against the Yankees. The left-hander is one of several relievers who have done well after being called up from Triple-A Durham.
Jeff Beliveau, Brad Boxberger and Riefenhauser have made a combined seven appearances and have allowed three runs in eight innings.
When asked about the depth of the group, Rays manager Joe Maddon noted there were others in the system, too.
"[T.J.] Yates is still down there. [Adam] Liberatore, there's others," Maddon said. "Truly, we have that kind of quality relief pitching at our Minor League Triple-A team. I don't think I've ever seen anything like it. Back in the day with the Angels, whatever. I've never seen that kind of group that are Major League ready at Triple-A at the same time. And that you feel good about.
"It's not like it's a reach. It's not like you bring them up and say, 'I hope he does it.' You really believe he's going to do well. They're all good-stuff, good-makeup guys. They're all that."
Oviedo reinstated from disabled list
ST. PETERSBURG -- Right-hander Juan Carlos Oviedo was reinstated from the disabled list and rookie left-hander C.J. Riefenhauser was optioned back to Triple-A Durham following the Rays' 5-1 loss to the Yankees on Sunday afternoon.
"Oviedo is coming up," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "He's been doing really well. ... He's going to make this bullpen thicker."
Oviedo arrived at Spring Training late, due to visa issues in his native Dominican Republic. He began the season on the disabled list, rehabbing at Durham.
Oviedo signed with the Rays prior to the 2013 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery to his right elbow, but he did not pitch for the Rays. The team re-signed Oviedo on Jan. 24 to a $1.5 million deal that can escalate to $2.9 million with incentives.
Riefenhauser made his Major League debut on Saturday night, retiring the four batters he faced. He retired the first two men he faced on Sunday, before running into trouble and eventually walking in the winning run.
Price hopes offense saves runs for his start
ST. PETERSBURG -- Tampa Bay's lackluster offense turned into a juggernaut on Friday and Saturday, when the team scored 11 and 16 runs, respectively, in wins over the Yankees.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Rays are the first team in nearly 26 years to produce at least 10 runs and 16 hits in consecutive games against the Yankees since the Angels did it on Aug. 27-28, 1988, in Anaheim.
David Price will start for the Rays on Tuesday against the Twins, and noted that he hoped the offense would save some runs for him.
"I hope they saved a whole bunch," Price said. "[They scored 27] the last two days, so I hope we just keep scoring. It's fun for us in the dugout. Baseball can be a very long game. If you're going to play 3 1/2-, four-hour games, let's just score. It's fun."
The Rays had scored just 10 runs in their previous six games heading into Friday night's 11-5 win.
"We enjoy cheering for them," Price said. "We see how hard they're trying, especially when they're struggling. We've all been there, we know what it feels like, and we have their backs 110 percent. We know they have our backs, as well."
Yankees infielder Dean Anna pitched the eighth, becoming the first Yankees position player to pitch since Alberto Gonzalez on May 15, 2013, against the Mariners.
Price, who normally observes the other team's pitcher, was asked if he learned anything watching Anna's performance.
"Yeah, don't put forth too much effort," Price said. "But what he did was extremely tough -- to come in and to essentially lob the ball the way he did and still be able to throw strikes like that. I don't know how many pitchers would be able to do that. It's tough, it really is. ... He was just lobbing fastballs."
Price, like most pitchers, sees himself as a master batsman. Thus, he saw an opportunity on Saturday night. Why shouldn't he take a few hacks against Anna?
"I was lobbying with Joe," Price said. "I gave him a scenario where I was going to hit."
When asked how that conversation went, Maddon smiled.
"Not well," said Maddon. "You've already got three of [the starters] on the shelf. You don't want to take your chances on the fourth."
Myers finally hitting his stride at plate
ST. PETERSBURG -- Wil Myers finally seems to be getting on track. He went 6-for-9 with seven RBIs in Friday and Saturday night's games. Prior to that, he had just four RBIs.
"I'm not there yet, but it's a lot better," Myers said.
It's "all about confidence with all of these guys," according to Rays manager Joe Maddon.
"His confidence is being picked up, right now, because of those performances -- and you're seeing the ball going up and not rolling over," Maddon said. "The timing's getting there."
Earlier, Maddon had noted that Myers wasn't putting the ball in the air, which contributed to the slugger's slump. Now that Myers is getting the ball in the air again, Maddon was asked why he had not been doing so.
"A lot of it is jumping at the ball," Maddon said. "You're getting out too quick on the front side. And when you do that, your bat is going to lag behind and you're going to play catch up at the end and roll it over."
Maddon complimented Myers for handling his struggles well.
"And beyond that, too, for the most part, he's chasing less," Maddon said. "And that speaks to, for the most part, staying back, seeing the ball longer."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.