6/9/2014 3:30 P.M. ET
Rays shake things up in back end of bullpen
By Bill Chastain and David Adler / MLB.com
ST. PETERSBURG -- Grant Balfour allowed five earned runs in an inning for the second time in his career on Sunday -- and the second time this season.
Prior to Monday afternoon's game against the Mariners, Rays manager Joe Maddon informed the closer that the team was "going to go by committee right now."
"Just want him to understand I want to take a little bit off his plate right now," Maddon said, "and get him going in the right direction again. Here's one of the most consistent relievers over the last couple of years in the big leagues, but it just hasn't been working. Just hasn't been working yet. But it will.
"Right now, I just want to back off a little bit. Take a little bit off of him. And, again, he could end up closing any game. We've done this in the past. If it plays out properly and he's there at the end of the game, he will close. But I just want the ability to utilize the whole bullpen and take a little bit off his plate right now."
Balfour allowed five earned runs in the ninth inning of the Rays' April 25 loss to the White Sox, when Jose Abreu topped it off with a walk-off grand slam. Sunday's five-run performance sat even worse with Balfour, because he felt like he had good stuff.
"The [White Sox game] was me not feeling well and not pitching well," Balfour said. "... But yesterday, I'm one pitch away from striking out the side, and I give up five runs.
"I felt really good yesterday. ... It was a frustrating day. You might have been standing here saying, 'You struck out the side on 10 pitches.' Because, honestly, that's how close it was. ... As crazy as it sounds, that's just how the game goes some time."
Balfour looked sharp striking out the first two batters he faced on Sunday. Maddon agreed that Balfour had good stuff.
"He came out and struck out the first two guys," Maddon said. "... So I felt, 'Here we go.' But again, I defend, he was throwing the ball -- I thought -- better. Just something's not clicking right now."
Maddon wants to be able to get Balfour "some successful moments" to get his confidence back. In the meantime, Juan Carlos Oviedo, Joel Peralta and Jake McGee could all get work late in games with the lead.
Guyer encouraged by X-ray results on thumb
ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays outfielder Brandon Guyer, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured left thumb, got his cast off on Monday. He had his thumb X-rayed again, and it did not show a fracture.
"I kind of assumed when they re-X-rayed it, it would still show the fracture on the X-ray, but that it would be something I could work through," Guyer said. "The fact that it didn't show that was a great surprise."
Guyer, who also broke a finger last year with Triple-A Durham, said his thumb was stiff from being in a cast for two weeks, but he felt a lot better than he thought he would.
"I guess I didn't even think I'd be able to move it like I am right now, or that the first day out of the cast I'd be able to do tee work, so the fact that I was able to do that was a good positive," Guyer said.
Guyer hit off a tee Monday, and he also caught with a glove for the first time. He said he plans to do front-toss hitting on Tuesday, with coach-pitch batting practice likely to follow on Wednesday.
Guyer said he does not have a timetable for his return to game action, saying only that he hoped his original goal of mid-June was still realistic and that a couple of rehab outings would be enough to get his timing back down.
For now, Guyer has medical tape to wear on his thumb when he plays or does drills, and a splint to wear when he sleeps.
"[Guyer's] finger seems to be healing well," manager Joe Maddon said. "[Head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield] was very encouraged by what they saw on the X-ray, whatever they took today, and that he can be doing some active stuff by this weekend."
Rays invite Seminole to The Trop
ST. PETERSBURG -- After losing 12 of 13 and looking to find answers, the Rays brought in some outside help to remedy the situation.
Bobby Henry, a Seminole Indian living in Tampa, Fla., was at Tropicana Field prior to Monday afternoon's game hoping to chase away any spirits that might be affecting the Rays' fortunes.
According to a 2012 story in the Seminole Tribune, Henry's business card "reads 'Rainmaker' and lets you know how to reach him if you need a canoe, a totem pole or a chickee hut built."
After touring the facility Monday, Henry offered his assessment of Tropicana Field.
"[The field is] not so bad when I walk around," Henry said. "We might [get the job done] the first [day] or second. ... It's not real bad. We just have to open up and let it out."
Tropicana Field just needs a little tweaking, according to Henry.
"We just have to believe in the Seminole way," Henry said. "The herbs and stuff. That's what I do. I was raised in the Everglades, gator area. Something like this, [with a] big roof like that, is something new for me."
At this point, Rays manager Joe Maddon is happy to get help for his team any way he can, so he embraced Henry.
"Wonderful man," Maddon said. "Really eager, bright eyes. Just had him walk around. I guess this guy made it rain in Tampa in the mid-'80s at some point. So he's got some supernatural powers. ... If it rains at the Trop, I'd be really impressed."
Because he is a Tampa resident, Henry wants to see the Rays do well, so he wants to get the team back on track. Though Henry expected to see immediate results, he allowed that he normally needs eight days to make a change.
"Let's see what happens," Henry said. "I told Joe that I'll come back and check it."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. David Adler is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.