Tampa Bay Rays (33 days until Opening Day)

The injury bug is striking the Rays camp early this year. After earlier scares from Scott Kazmir and David Price, we now get word that Reid Brignac will miss a week with a broken toe.

In other injury news from yesterday’s intrasquad game, Reid Brignac suffered a fractured fifth toe on his right foot when he was hit by a pitch [thrown by Chris Mason]. He is expected to be out for 4-7 days

*mumbling to self* One…Two…Three…Four…Five? Five!?

That’s the friggin’ pinky toe! Seven days for a pinky toe?! In our day we just taped that piggy to the 4th piggy and got our ass back on the field. We wouldn’t even tell the coach.

In brighter news, Kazmir’s MRI results came back and while there is a minor tear, it is officially listed as a “strained elbow”. He is expected to miss two weeks. Andrew Friedman stated that Kid K could miss one or two starts in the regular season. Kazmir has other plans.

“We still think that what we have now is something where it’s possible to get out there and be ready for Opening Day,” he said.

Nice.

Kazmir out ‘weeks, not months’ [Rays Report]
Kazmir: I’ll be ready by opening day [Rays Report]

DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA

  • Rocco Baldelli was the DH in this morning’s intrasquad game, going 0-2. [The Heater]
  • We previously mentioned that according to Anaheim All The Way’s CHONE projections, the Rays are projected to win 89 games. Nate Silver of Baseball Prospectus, wrote a guest-column today for SportsIllustrated.com explaining why the Rays are expected to win 22 more games in 2008 based on their PECOTA projections. The biggest improvement is slated to come from the defense. [SI.com]

It’s in the field…that the Rays will make their biggest gains. According to BP’s Fielding Runs above Average (FRAA), the Rays gave up 72 more runs than an average defense last season. Of that total, 56 resulted from poor middle-infield play as the Rays rotated overmatched utilitymen Brendan Harris and Josh Wilson at shortstop and saw Upton commit 12 errors in just 48 games at second before moving him to centerfield. But the acquisition of slick-fielding shortstop Jason Bartlett in the Young trade and the move of sure-handed Aki Iwamura from third to second (to make room for Longoria) has stabilized the infield. As a result the Rays’ defense projects to be 10 runs above average this year, an 82-run improvement, which will allow the improved rotation to work through its innings more efficiently.

  • Jon Heyman today said that one “Rays person” put the chances at signing Barry Bonds at 100:1. They went on to say that it would most likely only happen if one of the Rays current players were injured and even then, there would have to be other extenuating circumstances. A friend of Bonds said he would most likely not want to sign with the Rays as his main goal is to win a World Series. [SI.com]
  • The Rays have the top pick in the June draft. The odds-on favorite to be the first pick, Pedro Alvarez broke a bone in his hand and will be out of action for up to six weeks. [VU Commodores]
  • Rays Anatomy has posted their Rays preview for MVN’s new Roster magazine. [Rays Anatomy]
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