6/2/2014 8:26 P.M. ET
McGee turning it up a notch in Rays' bullpen
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
MIAMI -- Jake McGee is a force out of the Rays' bullpen.
The hard-throwing left-hander has been good over the past several years, but he's really turned it up a notch this season. Entering Monday night's action, he had a 2-0 record with a 1.09 ERA. On top of that, he made 14 appearances in May and did not allow a run. In club history, only J.P. Howell (also 14 in June 2009) had as many appearances in a one month without allowing a run. McGee last allowed a run on April 28 against the White Sox, and he has retired the last 18 batters he's faced -- eight by strikeout.
McGee is doing it all primarily with one pitch. Yes, he started throwing a curveball again during Spring Training, but his fastball is so good, that seeing another pitch from him is rare.
"It's about location with me," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "But don't always listen to your daddy, although I'm all about daddies."
Maddon was referring to the fact that he doesn't believe a pitcher's success is always determined by being able to keep the ball low. This particularly applies to McGee.
"It's not about the ball being down all the time, either," Maddon said. "It's not always about catching the ball with two hands; that's inappropriate also. There's all these misconceptions. And Jake does better work when he's not down all the time.
"Infielders aren't always better when they catch the ball two-handed. When Jake's locating the ball where he wants to, that's the point."
Joel Peralta has been around McGee for several years now. When asked about McGee, he expanded on what Maddon said.
"He's been able to figure out how to pitch with one pitch," Peralta said. "It's not only because of velocity, because there are guys who throw as hard as he throws and get hit. But this dude is able to do it with one pitch, practically, and challenge the hitters.
"But I think that he understands that when he throws a ball up in the zone, nobody can touch him. He's been really good, and I think he's only going to get better."
McGee did not originally intend to find success in the top half of the strike zone. But after getting a lot of popup outs and swings and misses when he ventured above the waist, he figured he was on to something.
"But for me, I have to show both," McGee said. "I got to show down and high. I feel like some games, if I'm sitting high all the time, they'll see that and hit it. For me that's like throwing -- low and high -- two different pitches."
Rays await word on Myers; Hellickson progressing
MIAMI -- The Rays' disabled list is dotted with prominent members of the team. Here's the latest as far as how they are advancing toward their returns.
Wil Myers (right wrist) went on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday. He returned to St. Petersburg to have the injury checked out by team orthopedic surgeon Dr. Koco Eaton on Monday, and he still needs to see Dr. Douglas Carlan, who is a hand specialist. That examination will likely take place on Tuesday.
"It could be not so bad, it could be worse," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "We just have to wait for the doc to tell us."
Maddon noted that he has not heard the word "surgery" yet.
"Length of rehab seems to be the prominent concern or discussion [for Myers]," Maddon said. "... I've not heard 'broken' or 'not broken' yet, that's part of the deal. Dr. Carlan needs to see it -- he's really the expert in his field -- before we determine exactly what it is, and then how long it's going to take. Cast or no cast. Those kinds of things."
Maddon speculated that the worst-case scenario might see Myers miss a month and a half while the best-case scenario would see him miss the minimum time on the 15-day DL.
Jeremy Hellickson (right elbow) pitched a simulated game at the Charlotte Sports Complex on Monday. He threw three innings and 50 pitches and everything went smoothly.
"Helly did really well," Maddon said. "Tomorrow will be the day, the day after, to see how he feels. There's been no setbacks. If he's well tomorrow, we'll probably set out the next course. Yeah, he's probably ready to go out."
If Hellickson feels well Tuesday, he'll likely throw a bullpen on Wednesday and could be in a rehab game as early as Saturday. On the positive side, Maddon noted that in three starts, Hellickson could reach the 90-100 pitch count he needs to hit to return to the rotation. Thus, Hellickson could be back with the team in approximately 20 days.
"Yes, that's theoretically possible," Maddon said.
Catcher Ryan Hanigan (right hamstring tightness) is making good progress, according to Maddon.
"He did really well today," Maddon said. "He worked out back at the Trop. Really intense, good workout without any repercussions. But again, it's always the next day you have to look at. But today was a really good day."
On the other hand, outfielder Brandon Guyer's (fractured left thumb) return does not sound too promising.
"That's the guy that really bums me out, because he was really becoming that guy, a Major League player," Maddon said. "He got the opportunity, and it was working so well for him. Out of all the guys, especially against lefties, he was hitting the ball as well as anybody, too."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.