4/23/2014 8:45 P.M. ET
2013 Thanksmas efforts continue to pay off
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
ST. PETERSBURG -- Salvation Army shelters in St. Petersburg, Tampa and Bradenton, the Homeless Emergency Project in Clearwater and the Sallie House in St. Petersburg all received visits from Rays manager Joe Maddon, coaches and front-office staff last December as part of Maddon's annual Thanksmas Project.
Next week, those shelters will each receive a check for approximately $4,100, representing additional funds raised through Thanksmas efforts in 2013.
"These donations are made possible by the generosity of the many people who have supported Thanksmas and who share our vision in helping less fortunate members of our community," Maddon said.
Maddon has hosted Thanksmas for the past eight years. As he does for every Thanksmas, Maddon prepares a traditional Italian/Polish holiday feast for hundreds of needy citizens in the region. Maddon purchases the food and, with the help of volunteers, cooks and serves the meals.
Thankmas has served approximately 7,000 individuals in need and provided many with clothing and shoes.
Myers' throws reflect new strength program
ST. PETERSBURG -- Wil Myers' throws have been noticeably stronger and more accurate this season. It turns out that Myers experienced soreness in his shoulder for most of the 2013 season.
"The shoulder muscle at the back of my [throwing] arm, it was just sore every single day," Myers said.
During the offseason Myers went through a strengthening program.
"I did a lot of a lot of rehabbing on my right [scapula]," Myers said. "There was not much strength there. I worked on that. And now I'm long tossing once a series here. I can tell a big difference."
In addition to the strengthening program, Myers follows a strict regimen with coaches Dave Martinez and George Hendrick. Drills include treating 15 minutes of batting practice like it's the game, long tossing and throwing to bases.
"I stay on him about throwing long toss all of the time and getting at least 10 minutes of doing long tossing," Martinez said. "They've been doing it at least twice a week. [Head athletic trainer] Ron [Porterfield] and the trainers, has been on our shoulder program. He did say he feels a lot better. He's throwing really well. I keep telling him, just as long as you keep with the program, you're only going to get better."
When asked if he had been pleased with the results, Myers smiled: "Absolutely."
Fuld's return to Trop evokes memory of '11 catch
ST. PETERSBURG -- Sam Fuld is in town with his new team, the Twins, prompting Rays manager Joe Maddon to reflect on the catch Fuld made on April 9, 2011, in Chicago against the White Sox.
"It was pretty spectacular," the Rays' manager said.
Juan Pierre hit for the White Sox with two outs and the bases loaded in the fourth. Pierre connected on one of Wade Davis' offerings and drove the ball into the corner near the wall in right field. Fuld gave chase before leaving his feet at the last instant to make the diving, back-handed catch on the warning track.
"That one there, airborne, into gravel, head going into the wall," Maddon said. "At a moment when we really did need it. All that stuff was there, and I would hope that as they play back the greatest catches of all time that that would be included."
A.J. Pierzynski was the White Sox catcher that day and noted of the play: "Honestly, he ran like 50 yards to get to that ball. It was an incredible catch, and I tip my hat to him for, one, he didn't kill himself on the fence and, two, he got there and made the play. It was an amazing play."
In going distance, Price paces rest of MLB
ST. PETERSBURG -- David Price on Tuesday night threw his ninth career complete game while minting the Rays' first complete game of the season.
Since returning from the disabled list July 2, Price has five complete games -- two more than any Major League pitcher. No opposing team has more complete games than Price during that span. The Reds and the Yankees each have five, and the Rays have five complete games by pitchers other than Price.
Price struck out 12 on Tuesday night, making for the fifth complete game in Rays history with 12 strikeouts or more. Price did it one other time, and James Shields did it three times.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.