With an off-night last night, we were all set to sing a little diddy to you about BJ Upton and his hot start. But then came word the Juan Salas had gone all “Jose Canseco” on us. We, like most Devil Rays fans have been shouting at the top of our lungs for a change in the bullpen. Demoting Ruddy Lugo on Sunday was the first shake-up all season for a team that has the worst bullpen in baseball. The move was not surprising except in its timing. Lugo had actually looked a little better his last couple of appearances. Still, he has been overmatched by major league hitters more often than not and a change, any change, in the bullpen was needed.

But now all of a sudden the Rays have two openings in the bullpen as Salas was suspended for the 50 games for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. Salas is the second Devil Rays player to be suspended for steroids. The first was Alex Sanchez who was actually the first major leaguer to receive a suspension in April 2005.

The perplexing thing to us is that we cannot figure out why he was using steroids. Salas is a pitcher that already throws hard with great natural movement on his fastball. Unless those steroids were going to help him locate his fastball better, they weren’t doing him any good. His fastball is already hard enough, a couple of extra inches were not going to make him a better pitcher. All we can hope for at this point is that Salas doesn’t try to feed us the “somebody must have spiked my gatorade” line or try to convince us that “it was an over-the-counter supplement that he didn’t realize was illegal.

So now Tim Corcoran and Chad Orvella will be making their 2007 debuts for the Devil Rays. Corcoran was serviceable last season as a long reliever. Orvella is the big question mark. Most had him pegged as the Rays opening day closer in 2006 after dominating at all stops in the minors. This year hasn’t been any different. After a couple of shaky outings out of the box, Orvella has been nearly unhittable in his last 10 appearances. This may be his last chance to prove that he is not a AAAA pitcher.

DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA

  • Let’s get this straight…Jae Seo and Casey Fossum each have one decent start and now all of the sudden we are supposed to pretend like they didn’t have 5 bad starts before that? Gary Shelton of the St. Pete Times thinks so.We fully expect each of them to have a handful of decent starts over the course of the season. Bob Gibson could do that and he is 71 years old. A veteran, middle-of-the-rotation pitcher should be unbeatable once every five starts, give the team a chance to win three out of every five and are allowed one stinker the other start. Seo has tossed a stinker in 5 of his 6 starts and Fossum crappy starts number 3 of 6. You do the math, because Andrew Friedman sure isn’t, and neither is Gary Shelton.
  • Carl Crawford‘s legs are sore and he is blaming it on the new Field Turf II. Uh oh. Didn’t anybody test this stuff with human beings?
  • Do we really need to be rehashing all the problems down at Durham during the 2006 season. It’s old news. The players have moved on and have been great. We should move on also.
  • The MLB draft is just around the corner and this year it will be televised on ESPN2. How bad could it be?
  • The New York Times ran a feature article recently. There is not a lot to learn if you are an informed Rays fan but it is interesting to see that perceptions of the franchise are changing. Within the piece, is mention of Rays upcoming trip to Orlando to play three games against the Rangers. Stuart Sternberg says that if the Rays do not draw a big crowd, it will be his first significant disappointment since becoming owner of the Devil Rays.
  • The Orioles are up next for the Rays. The O’s have lost 11 of 14 and now sit 7 games behind the Red Sox and a half game behind the Rays. Baltimore has beaten the Rays in 8 of the past 10 and 14 of the last 18 at Camden Yards.
 
 

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