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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


Blog: The Heater

Twitter: @TBTimes_Rays

  1. For starters: Rays vs. Angels and Trout, with Odorizzi on mound


    After losing Sunday's game but winning a third straight series, the Rays open a four-game series tonight against the Angels and Mike Trout.

    RHP Jake Odorizzi will be on the mound for the Rays, RHP J.C. Ramirez for the Angels.

    Evan Longoria is getting a DH day, so the Rays have rookie Daniel Robertson at third base and Michael Martinez, making his first Rays start, at second. Also, Steven Souza Jr. is off, with red-hot Corey Dickerson in left and Colby Rasmus in right....

    Jake Odorizzi will be on the mound for the Rays.
  2. Rays journal: Ejections the theme of day against Yankees

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — There was plenty to see in the Rays' 9-5 win Saturday over the Yankees.

    And the players weren't the only ones putting on the show.

    Home-plate umpire Scott Barry made three ejections, tossing Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild for arguing balls and strikes during a mound visit in the fifth, then manager Joe Girardi for continuing that argument, and then Rays starter Matt Andriese for hitting Aaron Judge to open the sixth....

    Yankees manager Joe Girardi buries the plate in dirt after being ejected by home-plate umpire Scott Barry in the fifth inning, moments after pitching coach Larry Rothschild also got the boot.
  3. Rays show resilience, unity in win over Yankees

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — There were several big hits in the Rays' 9-5 win over the Yankees on Saturday that pushed them back above .500 for the first time in nearly a month.

    White-hot Corey Dickerson had a pair to continue his All-Star-worthy start, a leadoff homer to put the Rays out front, then a massive three-run blast to right in the fourth that hit at the base of the back wall of the Trop....

    Rays starter Matt Andriese heads off after being ejected in the sixth for plunking Aaron Judge.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Yankees game

    The Heater

    RHP Chase Whitley was the Rays' unsung star, coming in unexpectedly when starter Matt Andriese was ejected after hitting Aaron Judge to open the sixth inning. He worked three one-hit innings in the long-relief role he seems best suited for.

    3B Evan Longoria has been battling some issues, including a sore foot, but he has zoned in on his approach at the plate and is starting to get hot. He is following up an 0-for-13 stretch by going 6-for-his-past-8, with the key hit among his four on Friday and a homer Saturday....

  5. Rays vs. Yankees, 1:10 p.m. Sunday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Today: vs. Yankees

    1:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 760-AM (Spanish)

    Tickets: $36-500; available at Tropicana Field box office,, team Tampa store; surcharge of up to $5 within five hours of game.

    Promotion: Super Rays comic book for kids 14 and under

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

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Pitcher Chris Archer #22 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait at Charlotte Sports Park during photo day on February 26, 2014 in Port Charlotte, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
  6. Corey Dickerson homers twice to lift Rays past Yankees and over .500 (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Corey Dickerson hit two more home runs, and curiously got hit by a pitch, as the Rays scored a second straight win over the Yankees, this time 9-5 on Saturday in an entertaining and eventful game at the Trop.

    The win secured a third straight winning series against the contending Red Sox, Indians and Yankees and pushed the Rays' record to 23-22, their first time above .500 since being 10-9 on April 22....

    Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) connects for a three run home run in the fourth inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Saturday, May 20, 2017. Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Daniel Robertson (29) and catcher Jesus Sucre (45) score.
  7. Rays Tales: Mike Trout on short list of greatest ever to visit Trop

    The Heater

    Fourteen Hall of Famers have played at the Trop over the years, and there's a guy coming in this week on a pretty good career path to join them, in Angels CF Mike Trout.

    With two American League MVP awards (and three second places), five All-Star selections, a rookie of the year trophy, five Silver Sluggers and league-leading totals in RBIs, steals, walks and runs all before turning 26, Trout has the credentials to be considered the best player in the game today....

    ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 17:  Albert Pujols #5 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim looks on from the dugout after being tagged out at second base during the sixth inning of a game against the Chicago White Sox  at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 17, 2017 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) 700010836
  8. For starters: Rays vs. Yankees, seeking to climb above .500


    UPDATE, 2:15: RHP Tommy Hunter (calf strain) threw well, but Cash said he will have to show he can run and field the position before being activated and there is no timetable. ... SS Matt Duffy (heel) said he didn't have a setback but after feeling soreness in his first step out of the box they decided he should spend a week or so on strengthening that area, and expects to be back on his rehab assignment by the end of next week. .. Stanek said he learned from the experience of giving up the two-run homer on Friday and will be better for it.

    Here is Girardi's Yankees lineup:
    Gardner lf
    Sanchez c
    Holliday 1b
    Castro 2b
    Judge dh
    Ellsbury cf
    Headley 3b
    Gregorius ss
    Hicks rf
    Tanaka p

  9. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Friday's Rays-Yankees game

    The Heater

    3B Evan Longoria is usually ultra-smooth when charging in to field a bunt, so it was surprising to see his errant throw that led to a run. But he more than made up for it with his fourth hit of the night, a two-out single that put the Rays ahead in the eighth.

    Rickie Weeks is said to have a big impact in the clubhouse, and he finally came through in a big way on the field. His infield chopper bounced under third baseman Ronald Torreyes' glove for a two-run double in the seventh that gave the Rays a 4-2 lead....

  10. Rays RHP Shawn Tolleson has Tommy John surgery, out until 2018


    The Rays signed RHP Shawn Tolleson during the winter hoping he could regain his past form and help their bullpen.

    But that won't happen, as Tolleson's spring training elbow issues led to him having Tommy John surgery on Wednesday, the team announced today.

    Tolleson, who starred previously for the Rangers, had the surgery done in Texas by Dr. Keith Meister and will rehab there....

    Shawn Tolleson will have Tommy John surgery on Wednesday, the team announced today.
  11. Video preview: Rays can prove things vs. Yankees this weekend


    Our video preview of the Rays-Yankees series that opens tonight at the Trop, with Erasmo Ramirez starting against Luis Severino.


    Steven Souza Jr. slides into home plate during a game between the Rays and Yankees earlier this season.
  12. For starters: Rays vs. Yankees with a chance to prove something


    UPDATE, 5:22: Cash said SS Matt Duffy (heel) felt good enough to take ground balls and batting practice and likely will do so again Saturday with the idea that he resumes his rehab assignment soon. He has not played since experiencing soreness last Saturday. ... Cash confirmed Robertson will take over at 2B and said they hope regular playing time helps his timing at the plate. ... C Wilson Ramos (knee surgery) took BP on the field and Cash said it was impressive noting how far he hit balls. ... Miller said he doesn't have a date to resume baseball activities but expects to be ready when eligible to come off the DL next Friday in Minnesota. .... Yankees manager Joe Girardi will miss tonight's game to attend his daughter's high school graduation; Rob Thomson will manage....

    The Rays will have Erasmo Ramirez on the mound.
  13. Rays put Brad Miller on DL, plan to start Daniel Robertson at second

    The Heater

    2B Miller goes on DL

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays put second baseman Brad Miller on the 10-day disabled list Thursday, planning to start rookie Daniel Robertson in his place and acquiring veteran utility man Michael Martinez from Cleveland for depth.

    Miller felt a tweak in his lower abdomen Monday. A Thursday MRI exam led to the diagnosis. He was placed on the DL backdated to Tuesday, making him eligible to return May 26. If not back then, the Rays don't expect Miller — struggling at .205, two homers, 14 RBIs — to be out much longer....

  14. Rays vs. Yankees, 7:10 Friday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Yankees

    7:10, Tropicana Field

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

    Tickets: $26-350; available at Tropicana Field box office,, team Tampa store; surcharge up to $5 within five hours of game.

    Promotion: $7.11 upper-deck tickets with coupon from 7-Eleven stores

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

    New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros at Yankee Stadium, Sunday, May 14, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) NYY101
  15. Rays turn to rookies Jose Alvarado, Ryne Stanek to turn up heat in bullpen

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Evan Longoria has seen it plenty of times over the years from the batter's box, and the view has not been especially enjoyable.

    "One of the things we always say is that when you're facing these other teams and they have three, four guys at the back end of the bullpen throwing 95-plus, there's something to be said for that. It's just not a very comfortable at-bat," Longoria said....

    Left-hander Jose Alvarado has six straight scoreless appearances in relief for the Rays.