Rays rookie Hellickson misses chance to dog Jeter
Jeremy Hellickson says he’s never been able to tame his dog.
He’s talking about that scruffy Yorkshire Terrier of his. The
one named Jeter.
A persistent downpour Friday night prevented the Tampa Bay Rays’
rookie starter from getting the chance to deny Derek Jeter the two
hits he needs to reach 3,000. The second game of a four-game series
against the New York Yankees was rained out, bumping Hellickson
back in the rotation.
”I don’t really know if he knows his name because he never
listens to me,” Hellickson said of his dog, not Derek.
Hellickson grew up a Yankees fan in Iowa with his dad – Reggie
Jackson was his favorite player. The right-hander got the dog in
2005, the year Tampa Bay drafted him in the fourth round.
A baseball fanatic, he did the best he could in naming the
”I’m really not that good on dog names, I guess,” Hellickson
said. ”I just came up with it.”
It’s hard to blame him. By then, Jeter was already a four-time
World Series champion and captain of the Yankees.
Hellickson, a 24-year-old rookie, is 1-0 with a 4.91 ERA in two
relief appearances against the Yankees. Jeter is 1 for 2 against
”It’s kind of funny that it happened,” Hellickson said of
lining up to face Jeter so close to the milestone. ”It’s not like
I expected this to happen when I gave him this name.”
Now, Hellickson will miss Jeter and all the other Yankees in
this series. The teams play 15 more times this season, though. Rays
ace David Price will face A.J. Burnett on Saturday, and James
Shields will go up against New York’s best, CC Sabathia, on Sunday,
the final game before the All-Star break.
Once Friday’s game was postponed, the Rays decided to skip
The game will be made up Sept. 22. The rainout gives Jeter, with
2,998 career hits, just two games to reach the mark at Yankee
Stadium before the break. New York opens the second half with an
eight-game road trip.
The Rays could have agreed to play a split doubleheader
Saturday, but voted for the later makeup date.
”I don’t think there’s really a win,” third baseman Evan
Longoria said. ”The initial thought was they wanted to play a
doubleheader tomorrow. I think we all know why they’d like to get
these three games in and obviously they’re rooting for Derek to get
his 3,000th hit here in this series, I mean, we’d like to see him
do it, too. And he’s got two more days to do it.”
But the teams had a two-game series scheduled for Sept. 20-21 in
New York bookended by two off days, and manager Joe Maddon said
putting off the makeup game would suit the Rays better.
”Where we are right now, if I had my druthers about it, we
would probably choose later,” Maddon said before the decision was
made. ”At this point in the first half, guys are run down. … I
like the idea you have expanded rosters in September.”
Despite posting a lineup Friday that did not include Alex
Rodriguez and Nick Swisher because of injuries, Yankees manager Joe
Girardi wanted to play for all the people who wanted a shot at
seeing Jeter’s big hit.
”Whether I’m frustrated or not, it doesn’t matter,” Girardi
said. ”It was important to us, it was important to our fans.”
Maddon wasn’t swayed by the absence of Rodriguez because of an
aching knee and Swisher with a sore left quadriceps.
”Two games right now is not appealing,” Maddon said.
One of Maddon’s stars who could use the rest is Johnny Damon. He
sat out Thursday night’s 5-1 victory after being hit on the left
hand by a pitch from the Twins left-hander Francisco Liriano the
previous day. Damon might be able to play Saturday.
”It’s still kind of a weakness about it because it was
swollen,” Maddon said.
Price and Shields were not averse to playing catch in the
outfield while lightning lit up the sky overhead and rain fell
”I wasn’t worried. We wanted to get our throwing in,” Shields
said. ”Besides, we’re from Florida and used to it.”
The Rays play in a domed stadium.
NOTES: Maddon, Price, reliever J.P. Howell and reserve infielder
Elliot Johnson were fined by Major League Baseball for their
actions in a loss to St. Louis last week. All four were ejected in
a wild eighth inning for arguing balls and strikes. … The Rays
are 28-18 on the road, best in the majors. They are 21-21 at home.
… The Rays signed 16-year-old right-hander Abrahan Rodriguez of