Familiar faces returned to Tropicana Field on Tuesday when the Rays opened a two-game series against the Brewers.

Rays Notebook: Willy, Bross, Ozzie Return; Sizzling Shane

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Familiar faces returned to Tropicana Field on Tuesday when the Rays opened a two-game series against the Brewers.

After making the unusual walk to the visiting clubhouse, Willy Adames, Mike Brosseau and Ozzie Timmons renewed acquaintance with those in the Rays’ clubhouse.

Adames, who was traded with Trevor Richards to Milwaukee in exchange for Drew Rasmussen and J.P. Feyereisen last May 21, was a favorite among fans and media during his time with the Rays.

“I will always remember the way they developed the guys here and the winning mentality they have here,” he said, when meeting with the media before the game. “All those memories are going to be right here (tapping his heart). I have a special place in my heart for this team.”

Adames, who debuted with the Rays in 2018, received a nice round of applause when he was introduced prior to the game. He received a louder ovation when he came to the plate in the top of the first, and acknowledged the fans by doffing his batting helmet. He then ripped an 0-1 fastball from Shane Baz to left field for a single.

Brosseau will forever be remembered for taking Aroldis Chapman deep in decisive Game 5 of the 2020 ALDS. The dramatic moment, which snapped a 1-1 tie and sent the Rays to the ALCS, came about six weeks after the Yankees’ reliever threw a 101-mph laser near Brosseau’s head. That ignited tensions between the division rivals. 

Brosseau, who made his MLB debut with the Rays in 2019, was dealt to the Brewers last November in return for minor league pitcher Evan Reifert. The trade brought the Indiana native much closer to family.

Familiar faces returned to Tropicana Field on Tuesday when the Rays opened a two-game series against the Brewers.
Willy Adames, Credit: Tom Layberger

“It was kind of a whirlwind getting traded, but my family was very excited about me being closer to home,” he said. “It was a little bittersweet. It is a really special group over there and I have a lot of good memories. I had this date circled on my calendar.”

Timmons, a Tampa native and former University of Tampa standout, spent what was his entire 15-year coaching career with the Rays before leaving last November to be the Brewers’ hitting coach. He was coaching first base and serving as an assistant hitting coach with the Rays.

“With Ozzie, Bross and Willy, they were part of a pretty special period for us,” said manager Kevin Cash. “I think the Covid circumstances (of the 2020 season) brought everybody closer together, so there will always be such good memories and they played such huge roles throughout that.”

Another former Ray, Brad Boxberger, pitched a scoreless seventh inning in the Brewers’ 5-3 win on Tuesday night. The righthanded reliever was an all-star with the Rays in 2015 when he saved 41 games. He was traded to Arizona following the 2017 season.

Paredes honored: Isaac Paredes was last week’s American League player of the week. He headed into Tuesday night’s game on a 10-for-15 tear over his previous four games with five homers, two doubles and nine RBI. When accounting for a couple of walks, he had reached base safely in 12 of 17 plate appearances.

Overall, the 23-year-old Paredes was 11-for-19 last week with six runs scored in five games.

“Congrats to him,” said Cash. “I am sure there are some guys that had great weeks, but it would be tough to find one who had a better week than him.”

Paredes was the second member of the Rays to be so honored this season. Manny Margot took honors for the week ending May 8.

Sensational Shane: Shane McClanahan, who is scheduled to start the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader in Toronto, has strung together a team-record nine straight starts of at least six innings and two or fewer earned runs allowed. The 25-year-old lefty has not allowed more than three earned runs in any of his 15 starts.

McClanahan, who is 8-3, leads the majors in strikeouts (123) and WHIP (0.83) and leads the American League in ERA (1.77) and batting average against (.183). In each of the latter two categories, he is second in MLB to the Dodgers’ Tony Gonsolin.

What is most important to McClanahan are the bases on balls, or lack thereof. He has walked only 16 batters in 91 1/3 innings this season and he has walked only four batters in his last six starts, which is a stretch of 39 innings.

“Trying to be consistent and control what I can control and rely on the guys behind me,” he said, in responding to a question about his lack of walks following Sunday’s outing against the Pirates at Tropicana Field, when he did not issue a walk in seven innings.

In his rookie season a year ago, McClanahan walked 2.7 batters per nine innings. This season, he has reduced that mark to 1.6.

“I was really tired of walking people and, ultimately, I got with (pitching coach) Kyle Snyder and we worked to consistently flood the zone and attack batters,” he said.

Hot Harold: Harold Ramirez enters Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Brewers hitting .379 with a .933 OPS in June. For the season, he is hitting .306 with a .766 OPS.

Ramirez, who has his safely in each of the last seven games that he has started, has shown a knack for using the whole field.

“He can beat you many ways when he’s right,” said Cash. “We have seen him drive the ball to the gap, hit a ball out of the ballpark and then shoot a ball down the lines. Kind of a line-to-line hitter.”

Busy stretch: Tuesday night’s game began a stretch of 10 games in nine days. Following Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Brewers, the Rays hit the road for five games in Toronto, including a Saturday doubleheader, and three in Boston.

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