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Marc Topkin, Times Staff Writer

Marc Topkin

Marc Topkin has covered baseball for the Times since 1987 — from the lengthy effort to secure a team, to the awarding of the Tampa Bay franchise in 1995, and through each of the Rays seasons starting in 1998. He has traveled throughout the United States with the team, as well as to Canada, Venezuela, Mexico and Japan, and has covered All-Star Games and the World Series, as well as Super Bowls and the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece.

Phone: (727) 893-8801

Email: topkin@tampabay.com

Blog: The Heater

Twitter: @TBTimes_Rays


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  1. Video: Rays Souza on that oh-so-bad dive, and reaction from Twins fans

    Blog

    What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking when he made that oh-so-bad dive for a ball in the seventh inning Friday? Well, we'll let him tell you ...

     

  2. What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking on that comically bad dive?

    Blog

    What could Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. been thinking in the seventh inning Friday when he dove for a ball and came up yards short?

    Actually, he insisted after all the laughing, teasing and standing ovation from the Twins fans was done, it was a matter of self-preservation.

    "What really happened was the ball went in the lights immediately and I couldn't find it, I just saw it in the gap in the general direction,'' Souza said....

  3. Rays pitchers rave about Twins pitching coach, ex-mentor Neil Allen

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — There have been a lot of coaches who have had a hand in helping Chris Archer get to the big leagues and to the front of the Rays rotation, and as he took the mound Friday night at Target Field, he had reason to nod appreciatively toward the home dugout.

    Now in his third season as Twins pitching coach, Neil Allen played a huge role in helping Archer during their time together at Triple-A Durham. ...

    Minnesota Twins pitching coach Neil Allen jogs back to the dugout after paying starting pitcher Tyler Duffey a visit on the mound in the first inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers on Thursday, July 7, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
  4. Rays at Twins, 2:10 p.m. Saturday, Minneapolis

    The Heater

    Today: at Twins

    2:10, Target Field, Minneapolis

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Rays info: Toll-free 1-888-326-7297

    Probable pitchers

    Rays: RH Jake Odorizzi (3-2, 3.14) TWINS: LH Adalberto Mejia (1-1, 4.96)

    On Odorizzi: Coming off solid six-inning start vs. Angels, making more use of changeup in striking out eight but with no decision. Is 0-1, 5.28 in three starts vs. Twins, pitching well at Target Field. ...

  5. Rays journal: Rookie Daniel Robertson takes pride in sparkling defense

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Rookie INF Daniel Robertson has earned raves for his defensive play at both second base and shortstop, making a highlight play almost every game he starts, including one in the fifth inning Friday.

    Making that even more rewarding is how hard he worked to be that good.

    "I've talked to (Friday starter Chris Archer) and some other guys on our staff and told them, I wake up in the morning and I want to take a hit away from someone," Robertson said....

    Los Angeles Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun (56) doubles as Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Daniel Robertson (29) jumps for the catch in the fourth inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Thursday, May 25, 2017.
  6. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Friday's Rays-Twins game

    The Heater

    RF Steven Souza is always, shall we say, entertaining. In the second, he made an impressive running, leaping catch. In the seventh, he made either the worst dive for a ball a good 15 feet away or was trying for the best deke. In the eighth, he hit a massive homer.

    Manager Kevin Cash went away from his usual platoons in benching right-handed-hitting OF Peter Bourjos against Twins lefty Hector Santiago to play lefty Corey Dickerson, and that's something he may want to do more as Dickerson is hitting everybody....

  7. Chris Archer dominates as Rays open road trip with win over Twins (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Chris Archer didn't want to give up the ball, didn't want to leave with another out to go in the eighth inning Friday, and only 106 pitches thrown. But as he walked slowly toward the dugout he took a long look at the bullpen and when he saw Alex Colome coming in, Archer felt better about manager Kevin Cash's decision.

    "I don't ever want to come out,'' Archer said. "I want the ball. ... But I get it. I get it. If it would've been anyone else than I wouldn't have understood it, but I understood that.''...

    This is a 2017 photo of Neil Allen of the Minnesota Twins baseball team. This image reflects the 2017 active roster as of Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 when this image was taken. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  8. Video preview: Rays open tough road trip facing Twins tonight

    Blog

    After splitting a four-game series against the Angels to wrap up a winning homestand, the Rays tonight open a nine-game, 10-day roadtrip with the first game of the weekend series with the Twins:

     

  9. For starters: Rays, Archer take on surprising Twins to open road trip

    Blog

    UPDATE, 6:37: Cash said it was a combination of wanting to keep Dickerson, who is a team-best . 358 against lefties, in the lineup and Santiago's splits. ... Cash said there was nothing new on the injured players back at the Trop, with Brad Boxberger still slated to throw live BP on Monday in Port Charlotte, Wilson Ramos to catch and Matt Duffy and Brad Miller to hit.

    UPDATE, 5:45: And here is the Twins lineup:
    Dozier 2b
    Mauer 1b
    Sano 3b
    Kepler rf
    Vargas dh
    Polanco ss
    Rosario lf
    Buxton cf
    Castro c
    Santiago p...

  10. For starters: Rays looking to get even with Angels, with no TV

    Blog

    The Rays are looking for a split in the four-game series with the Angels in today's 1:10 matinee, a game that is not on TV in the Tampa Bay market.

    RHP Matt Andriese will start for the Rays, seeking to go deeper than his last start, when he was ejected after hitting New York's Aaron Judge with his first pitch of the sixth.

    The Angels are starting RHP Daniel Wright, a call-up from Triple-A to replace injured Alex Meyer.

    The Rays lineup has a slightly different look, with Tim Beckham getting the day off and Daniel Robertson at short, with Michael Martinez at second. Also, Jesus Sucre is catching.

    Here is the Rays lineup:
    Dickerson lf,
    Kiermaier cf,
    Longoria 3b,
    Morrison 1b,
    Souza RF,
    Rasmus DH,
    Robertson SS,
    Martinez 2b,
    Sucre c,
    Andriese p

    And here is the Angels lineup:
    Maybin cf
    Trout dh
    Valbuena 3b
    Simmons ss
    Calhoun rf
    Marte 1b
    Revere lf
    Graterol c
    Espinosa 2b
    Wright p...

    Matt Andriese will start for the Rays.
  11. UPDATED: Rays activate Tommy Hunter, place Jumbo Diaz on DL

    Blog

    UPDATED, 9:40: The Rays did activate Hunter this morning, and placed Diaz on the DL with "right arm fatigue, retroactive to Tuesday.

    DEVELOPING: The Rays plan to activate RHP Tommy Hunter from the DL for Thursday's series finale against the Angels.

    Hunter has missed a month due to a calf strain. He threw well in and felt good after a one-inning rehab appearance on Tuesday in Port Charlotte....

    Tommy Hunter was activated from the disabled list for Thursday's series finale against the Angels.
  12. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    Rookie RHP Ryne Stanek has had his early struggles, but Wednesday he showed his high-octane potential, working around a one-out walk to strike out the mighty Mike Trout (on a 98.4 mph fastball) and legendary Albert Pujols (98.7), both swinging.

    OF Steven Souza Jr. was confident he could work his way out of a three-week-long 8-for-67 skid on his own, basically by doing a better job of hitting his pitch when he got it. He did that twice Wednesday, with his fourth career two-homer game....

  13. Rays journal: More bullpen changes as Diego Moreno heads to DL

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays bullpen has another new look.

    The latest change was promoted by RHP Diego Moreno, who pitched relatively well over five appearances, going on the 10-day disabled list due to shoulder bursitis.

    That led the Rays to summon RHP Ryan Garton from Triple-A Durham, where he was pitching remarkably well.

    And there will be another move coming as veteran RHP Tommy Hunter is set to come off the DL, having been out a month with a calf strain....

    Rays reliever Diego Moreno, pitching Sunday against the Yankees, heads the DL with shoulder bursitis.
  14. Rays morning after: Are cold bats a sign of things to come?

    Blog

    How does an offense that has ranked among the most productive in the league for seven weeks go so cold?

    The 17 straight zeroes by the Rays hitters are quite glaring, but you can go back to Sunday, when they were held to two runs by Yankees lefty CC Sabathia and company for the start of the skid. In three games, the Rays have scored just four runs, and rapped only 14 hits total.

    Baseball is a team game comprised of a series of individual battles, so you make the case it starts there.

    And they aren't winning enough of them....

    Steven Souza Jr. extended his weeks-long skid to 8-for-67.
  15. Rays bats go silent in second straight loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Sure, Alex Cobb was to blame for the Rays' 4-0 loss on Tuesday.

    He was the one who gave up the back-to-back solo home runs in the first inning to Angels leadoff man Cameron Maybin and leading man Mike Trout that were the difference in the game, after all.

    But this loss, and the newest concern about the Rays, goes on his mates for not doing anything to help.

    The Rays bats have gone silent, Tuesday's nine innings tacked on to the final eight from Monday to make it 17 straight without a run from an offense that had been, despite its odd formula, one of the American League's most productive....

    Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Matt Shoemaker (52) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Monday, May 23, 2017.