• First round pick Evan Longoria will not start with the single-A Visalia Oaks as originally reported. Rather, he will play one or two weeks with the short season Hudson Valley Renegades, beginning June 20th. During that period, the Oaks have 5 days off for the California League All-Star game. After 8-10 games with Hudson Valley, he will then report to Visalia the first week of July and play third base, and will surely be subjected to numerous Eva Longoria pranks from his new teammates. [tbo.com]
  • Another first round pick of the Devil Rays, Jeff Niemann, finally has a date to return to the mound. He is scheduled to start this Saturday, June 17th for the AA Montgomery Biscuits. We have to believe that if something was ever written in pencil this is it. Much like the extended absence of Rocco Baldelli, Niemann has been gone so long, we find it hard to recall if we should be excited about this. [TalkAlabama]
  • We already knew that Rocco Baldelli was gone too long, but now we know he was gone too long. [TampaBays10]
  • Apparently one oddsmaker in Vegas has cost his clients some money this season by picking the Devil Rays too often. Of course it is all Joe Maddon’s fault. [Sportsmemo]
  • A decision on the future of Josh Hamilton should be made later this week, when extended spring training ends for the Devil Rays. At this point, Hamilton has not been fully reinstated and does not have permission from the Major League Baseball to return to the field and play in games. However, we have to think that playing in games is the next logical step and that the league intends on granting Josh at least some more leeway. The logical choice is to let Hamilton play for the short-season Hudson Valley Renegades without any possibility of been promoted this season. At the end of the season, if Hamilton is able to stay clean, look for the league to grant him full reinstatement and for Josh to begin next season with AA Montgomery. [tbo.com]
  • Speaking of Hamilton, apparently he hasn’t forgotten how to hit during batting practice. [tbo.com]
  • Jonny Gomes has a solution to the depth of outfielders in the Devil Rays’ organization. Just play four outfielders. “Imagine an outfield with C.C., Rocco, and him (Josh Hamilton) and me.” Of course, it also appears as though Gomes has already written off Delmon Young and Elijah Dukes because of their troubled pasts. [tbo.com]
  • Apparently the Tampa Bay area was recently named the worst sports market in the country according to the Sporting News. Not sure how that can be when the season ticket waiting list for the Buccaneers could fill two more stadiums. There is also some spooky similarities in the early years of all three professional franchises from Tampa. [St. Pete Times]
  • B. J. Upton continues to beg the team to move him to a new position. On Saturday, Upton committed 3 errors…in one inning. He now has 23 errors in 62 games and we think the might be genuinely afraid of the ball. It is hard for us to say exactly what we would like see happen. Obviously, we would like to see Upton play shortstop in the Trop, but that might not be feasible at this point. We always hear people mention that Derek Jeter committed 50+ errors one year in the minors. Of course, the difference for Jeter was that it was his first season of professional ball, not his fourth. Upton is well on his way to 50+ errors this season and there is no sign that he is improving at all. So what should the team do with Upton? Move him to the outfield? The outfield is already loaded with talented players and prospects. On the other hand, his little brother, Justin has made a nice transition to center field in his first season of professional ball and that could be an influence on B. J.. Move him to third base? Upton’s biggest problems have been his throws. Is there any reason to believe that the problem would be corrected with a move to third? We must admit, we don’t see a solution here, so we continue to hope that he keeps working and at some point he makes a breakthrough, and we hope it is soon. [Durham Bulls]


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