From his seat in the Tampa Bay Devil Rays bullpen, closer Al Reyes could only watch as his fellow relievers blew a five-run ninth-inning lead in the Rays' 12-11 loss to Toronto on Tuesday.
"It was tough to watch," Reyes said. "It happened so quickly. You're up five runs and then all of a sudden, things changed."
Rays manager Joe Maddon has been especially careful with Reyes' twice-reconstructed right elbow. But three straight days of work is the limit on Reyes, who has converted all 14 of his save opportunities. But without Reyes, even Maddon admits it puts the rest of his relievers "in uncomfortable positions."
Reyes, who had a second Tommy John surgery on his right elbow last year, said he's "very close" to being able to throw four days in a row. Those decisions are also based on pitch count. But despite the fact that Reyes threw 46 combined pitches over the three days leading up until, he said he felt good enough to pitch.
"I respect their decisions when they tell me, 'You're off today,'" Reyes said. "I don't push it. I feel good so far. The way my arm has been after missing the whole year has been good."
DEVIL RAYS 6, BLUE JAYS 2: The Rays' bullpen combined for four shutout innings a day after blowing a five-run ninth-inning lead. Rays starter Scott Kazmir left the game after just five innings, having thrown 103 pitches. Carl Crawford's three-run double with the bases loaded in the fourth inning proved to be the winning hit.
--Manager Joe Maddon sat CF Elijah Dukes on Wednesday after a 0-for-6 night Tuesday that dropped the rookie's batting average to .200. "I just though he was pressing a little bit," Maddon said. Maddon also said outfield coach George Hendrick would talk to Dukes about chasing two balls at half-speed in the Rays' ninth-inning collapse Tuesday. It was the second time Dukes sat out against a right-handed starter in the past week. Dukes is hitting 85 points higher against righties than lefties.
--Asked why he took RHP Gary Glover out of the game after the reliever retired the side with ease in the eighth Tuesday, Maddon said he wanted to get others -- namely Chad Orvella -- work to boost their workload and confidence. Orvella walked the leadoff batter in the ninth, and then allowed back-to-back doubles. "It's easy to second-guess yourself, but I didn't," Maddon said. "It was something I felt was the right thing to do at the moment, and I still feel was the right thing to do. You're trying to win as many games as you can during the course of the year, and everybody's got to take part."
--Maddon has used LHP Casey Fossum, a former starter, out of the bullpen the past three days, but Fossum said he felt most comfortable in his outing Wednesday, when he pitched 1 1/3 hitless innings. "I just got moved to the bullpen and I've done it before, but it's been a while and I just forgot how quickly the game is and how much adrenalin you get when you go out there," Fossum said. "I just had to slow things down a little bit." Maddon said before the game that he would likely give Fossum a day off if he used him three straight days.
--CF Rocco Baldelli (left hamstring strain) could play in an extended spring training game Saturday.
--Over the first two games of the Blue Jays series, LF Carl Crawford is batting .455 (5-for-11) with four runs and seven RBIs. He has five multi-hit games in eight games against Toronto this season.
BY THE NUMBERS: 18 -- Players on the current 25-man roster with less than 3 years of major league experience.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's a bit frustrating because you know how good he can be." -- Rays manager Joe Maddon on enigmatic starter Edwin Jackson, who is 0-7, 7.77.
C Shawn Riggans (right elbow tendinitis) went on the 15-day disabled list on June 4.
3B Akinori Iwamura (blurred vision) will be out until at least June 7 after taking a foul popup in the eye on June 2.
C Josh Paul (left elbow ligament sprain) went on the disabled list retroactive to May 20 and might miss two months.
CF Rocco Baldelli (left hamstring strain) went on the disabled list retroactive to May 16. He could play an extended spring training game June 9.
RHP Shinji Mori (torn labrum) is rehabbing without surgery and might be ready by midseason.
RHP Doug Waechter (shoulder surgery) is rehabbing and is expected to be game-ready by June.