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04/03/16 7:30am
04/03/2016 7:30 AM

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Steve Ascher 020215 copy

Life for a minor league baseball player during spring training can get pretty routine. Arrive at the complex early in the morning, run, stretch and throw.

For Steve Ascher, though, Saturday morning was different. That was when the pitcher in the Tampa Bay Rays organization saw team rosters posted by the main entrance and learned that he had been promoted to the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits in Alabama.
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03/02/15 2:00pm
03/02/2015 2:00 PM
Steve Ascher said his pitching arm "never felt better" before heading to Florida for spring training in the Tampa Bay Rays system. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Steve Ascher said his pitching arm “never felt better” before heading to Florida this week for spring training in the Tampa Bay Rays system. (Credit: Garret Meade)

It wasn’t what Steve Ascher said so much as the way he said it that made an impression. Asked how his pitching arm felt, his reply bursted with confidence and enthusiasm.

“Awesome!” he said. “It’s never felt better. I’m really excited.”

The explanation may lie in the rest. Following his first professional season last year in the Tampa Bay Rays’ system, Ascher, 21, did something he said he had never done before: He gave his arm an extended rest in the off-season, as recommended by the Rays. (more…)

06/11/14 10:00am
06/11/2014 10:00 AM
SUNY/Oneonta junior pitcher Steve Ascher was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 17th round. (Credit: SUNY/Oneonta athletic department)

SUNY/Oneonta junior pitcher Steve Ascher was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 17th round. (Credit: SUNY/Oneonta Athletic Department)

Steve Ascher, who was a Yankees fan growing up, may one day get the chance to pitch against the Bronx bombers — as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Rays made Ascher, a 20-year-old left-hander from Cutchogue, their choice in the 17th round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Saturday. (more…)

06/07/14 2:56pm
06/07/2014 2:56 PM
Steve Ascher was drafted in the 17th round by the Tampa Bay Rays.

Steve Ascher was drafted in the 17th round by the Tampa Bay Rays.

Steve Ascher, a former standout pitcher who led Mattituck to a Long Island Championship in 2011, was drafted this afternoon by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 17 round of the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft.

The news came just after his former team took the field for a regional final after winning another Long Island crown yesterday.

(more…)

12/24/11 5:00pm
12/24/2011 5:00 PM

SUNY/ALBANY COURTESY PHOTO | SUNY/Albany pitcher Dave Kubiak, who played for Southold/Greenport in high school, was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays.

Dave Kubiak has a New York Yankees logo tattooed on the inside of his left arm, but the Tampa Bay Rays are undoubtedly close to his heart.

That must have been the case in June when the Rays told Kubiak that they wanted him. Tampa Bay picked the SUNY/Albany pitcher in the 36th round of the Major League Baseball draft. He was the 1,109th player selected.

Kubiak greeted the news of his selection with “a lot of excitement, but I guess a lot of relief.” Discussing his baseball future, he said: “I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a fun ride.”

Kubiak, a Jamesport resident, played for the Southold/Greenport Clippers when he attended Southold High School. The 6-foot-7, 245-pound right-hander, was Albany’s ace pitcher, starting 14 games on the mound this past season. He recorded a 4.72 earned run average as a senior and led the Great Danes’ pitching staff with 73 strikeouts. He threw five complete games, including one shutout, and allowed 43 earned runs in 82 innings of work. Kubiak finished his four-year career as the Albany program leader with 227 strikeouts and 278 innings pitched. His 82 innings this past season were good for second on the school’s single-season record board.

A ground-ball pitcher, Kubiak’s pitching arsenal includes a two-seam fastball, four-seam cutter, curveball, changeup and splitter.

“I’m not going to throw 89, 91 [miles per hour] and overpower anybody any more,” he said. “I’ll strike some people out, but that’s not what I’m looking for. I’m pitching to contact. … Make them get thrown out. It’s a hard game as it is, don’t make it harder.”

This past summer Kubiak was promoted from the Gulf Coast Rays in the Gulf Coast League to the Princeton Rays in the Appalachian League. He posted a 2-1 record at Princeton with a 3.26 earned run average, three saves, three walks and 27 strikeouts.

“Everyone is just very, very good,” he said. “Every player makes the routine plays look routine. They look so athletic and everybody is so fast here.”

And what about that Yankees tattoo on his arm?

Kubiak said it’s a tribute to his late grandfather, Arthur Phillips. Phillips, who died last year, was a big Yankees fan. If he was alive today, there is little doubt, however, that he would be cheering for the Rays as well.

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