Welcome back, Jake. (Photo Credit: Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

With RHP Matt Andriese likely out into August with a hip issue, Rookie RHP Jake Faria has been recalled from Triple-A Durham and will start Tuesday in Toronto.

Andriese left Saturday’s contest with what initially was called a right groin strain, but upon further examination the injury is actually a “stress reaction” in the hip.

The right-handed hurler will need to rest his hip for “a few weeks” and then begin the process of rebuilding his arm strength. On the positive side of things, there isn’t a fracture, nor is there a need for surgery, however, Senior VP Chaim Bloom said  “it’s going to take some time” for Andrise to get back on the mound.

2017 MLB Draft

The 2017 MLB Draft begins at 7:00 p.m. tonight, with Rounds 1 and 2, and the Competitive Balance Round A, which follows round one. The Competitive Balance Round B follows Round 2.

The second day of the draft starts at 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, and will include Rounds 3-10. It concludes Wednesday at noon with Rounds 11-40.

Due to their sub-optimal 2016 record, the Rays have the No. 4 pick in the draft, followed by numbers 31 and 40. Sporting News will be updating their draft tracker, and I highly recommend following it if we cannot update X-Rays Spex promptly enough. I will do my best to update the site as news breaks. Whatever the case, I will recap the draft Wednesday.

Round One

4. Tampa Bay Rays:

Competitive Balance Round A

31. Tampa Bay Rays:

Round Two

40. Tampa Bay Rays:

Rounds 3-40

Tampa Bay Rays:

Musings on attendance

This past Friday I was given the opportunity to upgrade my typical section 143 seats to the owner’s box behind home plate. In doing so, I rubbed elbows with a few front office executives, who will remain anonymous for obvious reasons. Of them were two marketing executives, tasked with putting together promotions, marketing the team, and attempting to get fans in the seats.

We didn’t talk about attendance, rather our conversation circulated around my day job — they know that I am a public school teacher from previous conversations — the team’s performance thus far, and how they got Gary Busey to throw out the first pitch last season.

I couldn’t help but feel for them, as their jobs are contingent upon the number of fans who show up to the Trop — something that is not completely in their control. They aren’t millionaire ball-players, they are average everyday people, like you or me, who are unable to meet the modest goal of improved attendance numbers for myriad reasons, many of which have no bearing on the hard work they’ve put in.

This weekend 62,343 people had their tickets scanned as they entered the Trop — an average of 15,586 per game. Tampa Bay is a very competitive small market, forcing sports fans to spend their discretionary income between a baseball, hockey, and a pair of professional football franchises. At times those seasons overlap, making it difficult to choose between the four sporting franchises.

In 2015 and 2016, the Lightning deployed a pair of teams that found themselves in the postseason. Choosing between hockey and baseball became easy, as the Lightning were a winning team and the Rays were not. And because of it, the Rays’ attendance numbers suffered out the gate. However, this year is different — the Lightning’s season ended on April 9, yet the expected boon in Rays’ attendance has not been seen.

Bay Area sports fans, I love hockey. It’s fast, aggressive, and fun. …and the season is over. It’s also happens to be baseball season, and, dare I say, it’s time to move on?

We’ve got a high scoring, fun baseball team who are performing well (as compared to the Cubs), and start the day two games over .500 and in third place. There’s definitely room for improvement…you know, both on the field and in the stands. That’s where you come in.

To those of you who choose not to attend ball-games, it’s now on you to cross that literal and proverbial bridge, and make your way to Tropicana Field.

Get out to the stadium. Watch a ball game. Eat a hotdog. Drink a beer, or get a free Slurpee in section 146. In the end the games are cheap, there are great promotions, and doing so would lead to fewer sad conversations about “Player X” being traded away, because the team can’t afford to purchase another player off the free-trade market.

When talking about the Rays, we shouldn’t focus solely on the stadium or you drive to it. I get it, it’s not easy to attend 81 games a season, or 30+ if you are like me. But real fans figure out ways to make it out to the ballpark, and frankly it’s pretty embarrassing to attend (or watch) ball games at a half full Trop.

Do you love the Rays, or baseball in general? Then join me at the Trop!

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