Tampa Bay Rays (31 and a half days until Opening Day)

The Rays have released their pitching schedule for the next few days, including all pitchers that are scheduled to take the mound tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday and the starting pitchers for Monday and Tuesday.

Friday at Reds
Rays—Jackson, Hammel, Sonnanstine, Balfour, Orvella, Houser

Saturday vs. Blue Jays
Rays—Shields, Talbot, Reyes, Miller, Wheeler

Sunday at Pirates
Rays—Niemann, Davis, Ryu, Munter, Birkins

Monday at Tigers

Tuesday vs. Twins

A few notes on these assignments

  • Keep in mind that only the first 2-3 pitchers of a game are likely to face major league batters as minor leaguers and non-roster invitees will usually take over later in the game.
  • Nary a David Price sighting. That’s OK. It is still a little early and he did have some shoulder stiffness a couple of days ago
  • Three of the five competing for the final two spots of the rotation will throw tomorrow.
  • Jeff Niemann gets a start on Sunday, before Andy Sonnanstine and Jason Hammel. This tells us that the team knows what they have in those two, but will give Niemann plenty of opportunities to show what he can do.
  • Edwin Jackson gets two starts in the first five days. This tells us that the team wants to get a real good look at Jackson and see if he can build on his second-half performance.
  • We get our first look at Wade Davis on Sunday, yet no Jake McGee sightings. This is consistent with most reports that suggest that Davis is the more polished of the two super-prospects.

Updated pitching schedule [Rays Report]


  • Bill Chastain discusses Andy Sonnanstine and how he benefited from his experience in 2007. Sonnanstine stated that he lost his confidence early on but by the end of the year, he was back on track. He also noted that he feels the competition in Spring Training will make him better. [Tampa Bay Rays]

“Now I can take that mound and know I’m going to do well,” Sonnanstine said. “Just logging those innings and learning as much as I could, putting it all together in the big equation, really helped me…Right when I first got up, I had two good starts and felt like I belonged,” Sonnanstine said. “After that, I ran into quite a few losses, and that shook my confidence a little bit. By the end of the year, I’m picking [Dan] Wheeler’s head, talking to [Jay] Witasick. That helped. Logging the innings, talking to the older guys, and the experience, that really helped.”

  • MLB.com takes a look at Jeff Niemann who says he feels better this year than he usually does this time of year. [MLB.com]
  • Hopes have been riding high for the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays. Rays Digest wonders how that will be affected by the recent news that Scott Kazmir strained his elbow. [Rays Digest]
  • One website calls the Rays one of their “Top 5 Interesting Teams” for 2008. [How Youz Doin Baseball]


  1. Anonymous says:

    Im kinda surprised to see Niemann going so early. can we take this to mean he and Ejax have an early edge in the race?

  2. The Professor says:

    No. I still think Sonnanstine has an edge, and i think it is a big edge over the other. i just take this lineup to mean that the team has a pretty good idea what Sonnanstine is. On the other hand Jackson and Niemann are a bit more of a mystery so they want to look at those two early and often

  3. Ben says:

    Off topic but, what do you think of the chances that Longoria would be a rays lifer?

  4. The Professor says:

    If I were the Rays that would be the way I would approach Longoria. He is a guy that fans will gravitate towards. I always compare him to David Wright. Wright is not the best player on the Mets (Reyes is), but he is the most popular.

    Longoria is home grown. He is good-great in almost every aspect of the game. He always has a smile on his face. You can tell he just loves playing baseball.

    He also signed with the Rays very quickly and at a reasonable price after the draft. that tells me that baseball is the most important thing. if i recall he did not have any scholarship offers out of high school so he is not a spoiled player. He is a guy that 2-3 years from now he will sign any reasonable offer the Rays give him.

    so to answer your question i think Longoria is going to be that first true lifer for the Rays. For the next 12-15 years, the Rays won't have to worry about finding a third baseman.


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