SPRING TRAINING: Red Sox rock Rays, MLB rule changes, preview of today’s game

By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports

FORT MYERS — Major League Baseball and the Players’ Association announced on Thursday a list of seven rule changes for the 2017 season.

The most notable of rules being the start of a no-pitch intentional walk, allowing the defensive team’s manager to signal a decision to the home plate umpire to intentionally walk the batter.

There is also now a 30-second limit for a manager to decide whether to challenge a play and invoke replay review.

“I think, if you look back at the last two years of replay, most of them come within that time. So it shouldn’t be that big of an adjustment,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “It’s really putting a lot of pressure on Jeremy Sowers, our video analysts.”

Other replay-related rules include: When a manager has exhausted his challenges for the game, Crew Chiefs may now invoke replay review for non-home run calls beginning in the eighth inning instead of the seventh inning.

A conditional two-minute guideline for Replay Officials to render a decision on a replay review, allowing various exceptions.

Jose De Leon was roughed up in the first spring training start of his career.

The 24-year-old didn’t make it out of the first inning before being pulled. Recording just two outs, De Leon allowed four runs on two hits and two walks, while striking out one batter.

“I just couldn’t locate my fastball,” De Leon said. “The change up was good, but it doesn’t matter if you don’t have that fastball command. My last BP, everything was down, too. I just have to keep on working on it. The sun will come out tomorrow.”

De Leon totaled 29 pitches, 16 of which went for strikes.

Thursday was just the second time in Nick Franklin’s career he played in centerfield (played one game in 2016 with Triple-A Durham), and things didn’t go very well.

Franklin misjudged a routine pop fly in the second inning, which allowed Brock Holt to get a double rather than an out.

There were also two times the ball was hit in the right-center gap, which appeared to be playable for him or Jake Bauers.

“It was definitely a rough day,” Franklin said. “Have to take it with a grain of salt, move forward and try to get better. There’s no excuse, but there’s always room to improve.”

FOX Sports Sun announced its schedule for the 2017 season. The network will be carrying 150 Rays games this season.

It will also be broadcasting opening day on April 4, beginning at 1:05 p.m. With Dewayne Staats in his 20th year doing play-by-play, joined by Brian Anderson doing color commentary.

All games on FOX Sports Sun will also be available on the FOX GO app on supported devices.

One-time Tampa Bay Rays ace turned division-rival, David Price, was scratched from his upcoming start on Sunday for Boston.

According to RedSox.com writer Ian Browne, Price had an MRI Wednesday on his left forearm, and while the results aren’t publicly known, the Red Sox believe it’s serious, Browne reported.

Price is expected to seek additional opinions on the injury, the report said.


Jackie Bradley Jr., Red Sox:
The Boston outfielder mashed two home runs in the win, driving in a total of five runs on those two hits.

Jeff Walters, Rays:
Walters was the only Tampa Bay pitcher to not allow a run. In two-thirds of an inning, he struck out both batters he retired.

Bottom of 1st:
Things got off to a rough start right from the get go for the Rays. Boston sent nine batters to the plate in the bottom of the first, scoring five runs, and chasing starting pitcher Jose De Leon after recording just two outs.

Casey Gillaspie, Rays:
 In a game that lacked positives for the Rays, Casey Gillaspie was a bright spot. He broke Boston’s perfect game in the fifth inning and came around to score a run. With his glove, he robbed Mookie Betts, catching a rocket line drive at first base.


“That’s my fault more than anything. Trying to give some guys a day off. We don’t anticipate Nick Franklin playing too much centerfield for us. We stuck him out there, it was a tough wind today, and of course the ball kind of finds you.”

— Rays manager Kevin Cash on Nick Franklin’s performance at CF

DETROIT (3-5) at TAMPA BAY (4-2-1)
WHEN: Today, 1:05 p.m.
WHERE: Charlotte Sports Park, Port Charlotte
SCHEDULED STARTERS: LH Ryan Yarbrough vs. LH Matthew Boyd
LH Ryan Yarbrough (start), LH Xavier Cedeno, RH Alex Colome, LH Jose Alvarado, RH Shawn Tolleson, RH David Carpenter, RH Chih-Wei Hu.
TIGERS: LH Matthew Boyd (start), RH Buck Farmer, RH Joe Jimenez, RH Victor Alcantara, RH Dustin Molleken.

SATURDAY: vs. Baltimore, 1:05 p.m. SUNDAY: at Toronto, 1:07 p.m. MONDAY: Off Day. TUESDAY: vs. New York (AL), 1:05 p.m. WEDNESDAY: vs. Team Colombia (WBC), 6:35 p.m.

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