Tampa Bay Rays (33 days until Opening Day)
The news on Rays ace Scott Kazmir’s left elbow appeared relatively good Tuesday night – no serious injury, but he’s expected to be sidelined about two weeks, which makes it unlikely he’d be ready for the opening day start.
Kazmir, 24, walked off the mound Tuesday after feeling “a little discomfort” while warming up for an intrasquad game and ended up in an MRI machine at Dr. Koco Eaton’s office. Kazmir said “it felt like it just jammed a little bit, kind of like a hyperextension.”
Of course the immediate concern is the status of Kid K’s elbow. In relation to the Rays opening day roster…this set-back for Kazmir may be an opportunity for another starting pitcher.
Joe Maddon has stated the five are fighting for the final two spots in the rotation, with incumbants Edwin Jackson and Andy Sonnanstine the early favorites. If Kazmir does indeed miss two or three starts in April, One of Jason Hammel, JP Howell and Jeff Niemann may get a shot to extend their audition into the regular season.
If one of those pitchers is slated to become a long reliever, Maddon may be more inclined to start that pitcher in the role immediately and fill the hole in the rotation with one of the other two. For example, if Hammel is to be the long reliever, he may not be considered to fill Kazmir’s spot in the rotation.
This set-back for Kazmir now means that we have a significantly better chance of seeing Niemann on the opening day roster.
DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA…
- If you missed it yesterday, we included a “Webtopia” in the “Happy Hour” segment yesterday afternoon. So you will find a number of links there. This may become more common during Spring Training when the media coverage is at it’s highest. [Rays Index]
- The Rays held their first intrasquad game yesterday. Not a lot of action, outside of Jonny Gomes making a
falling downdiving catch. [Herald-Tribune]
- Joel Guzman finally resolved his Visa issues and arrived at camp yesterday. Willy Aybar is expected to arrive today. We finally get to see exactly how good the super-platoon, Jolly Guzbar, can be. [Tampa Bay Rays]
- Stuart Sternberg said he would be open to adding payroll to the team in-season if it meant strengthening the team. [St. Pete Times]
“Obviously our payroll has been at or near the bottom. But it’s a big business, and with a business like that you need to have some flexibility,” Sternberg said during his first appearance of the spring at training camp…”So we will always be in a position to add. The question is, at what cost and not just at the cost, but how does that affect us 2009, 2010? The money isn’t endless. It will just have to come from another year.”
- Florida Governor Charlie Crist supports the Rays proposal for a new stadium, stating that he believes the new park and the redevelopment of Tropicana Field would be an economic boost for the city. [Rays Report]
The new stadium “means a lot. I want to do everything we can,” Crist said, “That is why I wanted to reinstitute the [Governor’s Baseball Dinner], to show how much Florida appreciates what baseball does for the whole Sunshine State. Anything we can do in order to support baseball – and all sports being in Florida – is important…Annually, sports means $32 billion a year for the Sunshine State. That’s a huge economic driver and makes an enormous impact in the production of jobs…[A new Rays stadium is] not just for owners and players but for an awful lot of people that work at the stadium that park the cars and provide the food. It’s very important for all of us and I want to do whatever I can to help.”
- Fire Jay Mariotti rips apart a piece from The Sporting News that thinks the Rays should sign Barry Bonds. [Fire Jay Mariotti]