Yesterday our performance was about as effective as Seth McClung in pretty much any role above AAA. We speculated that the Rays would have to soon decide between keeping Carlos Pena or Greg Norton on the major league roster. We did not consider that Greg Norton cannot be sent down to Durham without clearing waivers. We also completely forgot about Jonny Gomes (considering the amount of playing time he receives, can you blame us?). Now it seems fairly obvious that when Iwamura returns, Gomes will be the one headed to Durham. We don’t call this “The Hangover” for no reason.
This does not mean that Norton is completely off the hook in this situation. So far during Norton’s rehab assignment at AA Montgomery, the Biscuits have played 10 games. During that period Norton has missed 3 games and was the DH in 5 others. He has only been able to play first base 2 times as he is still experiencing soreness in his knee. Despite being eligible to come off the DL, it will be at least a few more days until he rejoins the team. Of course, with the emergence of Pena, there is no need to rush Norton and if his knee is not 100%, it would not surprise us if Norton
is placed back remains on the DL for two more weeks, and has his rehab assignment cut short.
Tonight the Devil Rays open a series against the Rangers in Orlando at the Disney World complex. We are not really sure what to think about it. We understand the reasoning behind it, as the organization hopes to expose the Rays to new fans in central Florida. A Rays home game outside will be a nice change but we are sorry if the idea does not excite us. We have been to a few spring training games in Orlando and it is a nice park, but we have a feeling that tonight’s game is going to look and feel like a spring training game.
Now there is talk about making this an annual event. However, the players and coaches would prefer that it not happen at all.
It’s a couple more nights in a hotel for most of the team, with the exception of area residents like first baseman Carlos Pena and pitching coach Jim Hickey; and getting used to a new infield, outfield and pitcher’s mound. It’s a remarkable amount of work for the support staff, from Chris Westmoreland and his clubhouse crew attempting to create a major-league environment in a spring training stadium to head trainer Ron Porterfield arranging for all the various medical services to be in place, including having ambulances on hand and a hospital designated just in case anyone needs to be rushed to emergency surgery.
Given a choice, just about everyone involved on the logistical side probably would rather play at Tropicana Field…
But hey…Goofy couldn’t be any worse than half of the team’s bullpen.
DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA…
- Despite his recent struggles, Rocco Baldelli will continue to lead off for the Rays.
- The use of Disney’s Wide World of Sports baseball field (capacity 9,500) will be the smallest ballpark to host a regular season game since the A’s were forced to start the 1996 season with six games in Las Vegas (capacity 9,000) due to renovations at their home park.