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Category: Tampa Bay Rays

Angels pursuing Rays' Andrew Friedman for GM

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Angels owner Arte Moreno has met in Florida with Tampa Bay Rays General Manager Andrew Friedman, the first evidence that the Angels are interested in an experienced general manager.

Although Angels Manager Mike Scioscia would continue to wield significant clout in the organization, the pitching-first philosophy implemented by Scioscia and former Angels GM Bill Stoneman would mesh nicely with the work Friedman has done in Florida, where the Rays have started a home-grown pitcher under 30 for a major league record 764 consecutive games. Mike Butcher, the Angels' pitching coach, previously served in that position for Friedman and the Rays.

The Rays have appeared in the playoffs three times in four years, despite the fact that the chronically underfunded team cannot advance into postseason play without beating the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox in the American League East.  But, plagued by low attendance and the inability to secure a new ballpark, Rays owner Stuart Sternberg said after the season: "Eventually, Major League Baseball is going to vaporize this team."

It is uncertain whether Friedman would leave the Rays, where he and Sternberg are reported to have a relationship so strong that Friedman works without a contract. It also is uncertain whether the Angels might also be interested in Friedman's veteran assistant, Gerry Hunsicker, the highly successful former GM of the Houston Astros.

The meeting among Friedman, Moreno and Angels President John Carpino was first reported by the website DRaysBay.com.

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-- Bill Shaikin

Photo: Andrew Friedman. Credit: Chris O'Meara / Associated Press.

Vernon Wells runs Angels into 6-5 win over the Rays

Angels1_600 Vernon Wells hasn't done much with his bat this season. But Sunday he helped win a game for the Angels with his feet, staying in a rundown long enough for Torii Hunter to race home with the go-ahead run in a 6-5 win over the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.

Wells, who had just one hit in the three-game series, came to the plate with Hunter on third and one out in the eighth inning and drew a walk. Hank Conger followed by bouncing a ball to second for what looked to be an inning-ending double play. But rather than throwing to second, Tampa Bay's Ben Zobrist tried to tag Wells, who avoided the tag long enough for Hunter to score the winning run.

That capped a comeback that saw the Angels erase a 5-0 first-inning deficit.

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Rays beat Angels on walkoff wild pitch, 2-1

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Tampa Bay's James Shields may be the hottest pitcher in baseball. But for a time Saturday, he also seemed to be the unluckiest as well.

After coming within three outs of a third consecutive complete game and second straight shutout, Shields had to watch from the dugout as the Angels rallied to send the game into extra innings before the Rays staged a rally of their own to win, 2-1, on Fernando Rodney's two-out, two-strike wild pitch in the 10th.

Matt Joyce, whose home run leading off the fifth gave Tampa Bay its first run, started the 10th with an opposite-field double to left, then moved to third on a groundout. With Felipe Lopez at the plate, Rodney bounced a two-strike pitch that skipped off catcher Hank Conger and bounced toward the Tampa Bay dugout as Joyce raced home without a throw.

Shields, who set down the first 13 Angels in order, had allowed just five singles through eight innings and was in trouble just once, when the Angels loaded the bases on three consecutive one-out singles in the fifth. But the right-hander, who matched a career high with 12 strikeouts, escaped the jam when he  struck out Peter Bourjos and Alexi Amarista.

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Manny Ramirez retires after being notified of an issue under MLB's drug policy

Manny_620 Manny Ramirez, a former Dodger who started the season with the Tampa Bay Rays, is retiring after being notified of an issue under Major League Baseball's drug policy.

The commissioner's office issued a statement Friday afternoon that said Ramirez decided to retire rather than go through MLB's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Ramirez tested positive for a drug, the name of which has not yet been revealed.

(3:36 p.m. Update: Ramirez tested positive for performance-enhancing drug).

“Rather than continue with the process under the program, Ramirez has informed MLB that he is retiring as an active player,” the league said in a statement. “If Ramirez seeks reinstatement in the future, the process under the drug program will be completed.”

The 38-year-old Ramirez, who was one-for-17 with the Tampa Bay Rays this season, made his name with the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox. He was being booed by fans in Tampa because of his slow start this season. The 12-time All-Star agreed to a $2-million, one-year contract with the Rays in the off-season. 

“The Tampa Bay Rays were informed today by the Commissioner's Office that Manny Ramirez has decided to retire after being informed of an issue under the Drug Program,” the Rays said in a statement. “We are obviously surprised and disappointed by this news. We will have no further comment on this matter, and our fans and organization will carry on.”

Ramirez, who was suspended for 50 games for violating the MLB drug policy while with the Dodgers, would have faced a 100-game suspension if he had not retired.

We will have more on this developing story as it happens on latimes.com/sports.

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--Houston Mitchell

Photo: Manny Ramirez. Credit: Kim Klement / U.S. Presswire.

Dan Haren pitches Angels past Rays, 5-1

Haren_275 Right-hander Dan Haren found a way around the Angels' bullpen problems Wednesday, pitching well enough to keep most of the team's relievers on the bench during a 5-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.

Haren scattered four hits over 7 2/3 innings, striking out six and not issuing a walk. In two starts and 14 2/3 innings this season, Haren has yet to walk a batter.

Kevin Jepsen came on to get the final out in the eighth, retiring pinch-hitter Manny Ramirez on a fly ball to right. Ramirez is 1 for 17 this season. Rookie Jordan Walden, the Angels' newly minted closer, then came on to pitch a 1-2-3 ninth.

The Angels had trouble finding the ball against Rays' starter Jeremy Hellickson, who set a career high with 10 strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings, twice striking out the side. But when they did hit the right-hander they hit him hard, with three of their first five hits going for extra bases.

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Tampa honeymoon could be ending for Manny Ramirez

Manny_275 Manny Ramirez's honeymoon with Tampa Bay may be shorter than the Rays' first homestand.

Ramirez, who had been on his best behavior since signing a $2-million free-agent contract with the Rays over the winter, slipped out of the clubhouse before the media were allowed in following Tuesday's 5-3 loss to the Angels. Ramirez was booed lustily while going 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. It was Ramirez's third hitless game in four starts, dropping his season average to .062. (In fairness to Ramirez, he's not the only Ray who is struggling. The team has scored six runs in four games -- all losses -- and is hitting .138. The 0-4 start is the first in team history, which is surprising given the fact the Rays' .438 winning percentage is the worst of any current franchise.)

"I want the fans to know he works. This man really works, this man really cares," Tampa Bay Manager Joe Maddon told reporters. "It's not working for him right now but he's going to be fine. We need to let him be himself and let Manny be Manny and go out there and not try to carry us."

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Weaver, Angels survive another bullpen collapse in 5-3 win

Angels3 Jered Weaver gave up a run and three hits in 6 2/3 innings and rookie Jordan Walden nailed down his first save of the season Tuesday, lifting the Angels to a 5-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.

Weaver (2-0) struck out six and retired the side in order three times, running his career record against the Rays to 4-1 with a 2.27 ERA in six starts. And the quality start was the 29th in 36 tries dating to the start of last season -- only reigning Cy Young award winner Felix Hernandez has more over that span.

The only run he gave up came in the third inning, when former Angel Sean Rodriguez drove a hanging slider into the left-center-field bleachers. But Weaver gave up just one more hit after that before turning the game over to the Angels' troubled bullpen, which nearly gave the game away.

Hisanori Takahashi replaced Weaver and walked the first batter he faced, then gave up a disputed infield single to the second, loading the bases. When the left-hander walked another man leading off the eighth, he was pulled in favor of Michael Kohn, who gave up a two-run homer to B.J. Upton.

Kohn eventually escaped the inning without further damage and Walden, handed the closer's role earlier in the day, pitched a perfect ninth to end the Angels' three-game losing streak.

The Angels jumped on Rays' starter Jeff Niemann early, scoring three first-inning runs on four singles and two stolen bases. They made it 4-0 in the second on a leadoff home run by Hank Conger, his first in the majors.

Then, after Rodriguez homered to get the Rays on the scoreboard, Howie Kendrick started the fifth with a triple and came home on Torii Hunter's second run-scoring single of the game.

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Tampa honeymoon could be ending for Manny Ramirez

-- Kevin Baxter in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Photo: Angels starter Jered Weaver delivers a pitch during the Angels' 5-3 victory Tuesday. Credit: Mike Carlson / Associated Press

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