Tampa Bay Devil Dogs (37 days until opening day)

DRG here again to get you through the weekend

DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • I love this story…In 1990 Joe Maddon was a minor league instructor for the Angels. Troy Percival was a single-A catcher that could barely hit .200. The team wanted to make Percy a pitcher. What was Maddon’s response? Maddon said it would be a mistake to switch to pitcher.[ Bradenton Herald]

“I’ll teach you how to hit,” said Joe Maddon, a hitting coach in the California Angels’ instructional league in 1990…So Maddon met Percival in the batting cage, bringing with him all the tricks he used to make hitters out of young hitters who couldn’t hit…Maddon tried to shorten Percival’s swing; tried to get the ball to jump off Percival’s bat…Nothing worked…”Turns out he was just a bad hitter,” Maddon said.

  • Trever Miller hit Carl Crawford with a pitch this morning in batting practice. Trever, today is not the day, dude. Not the day. Not sure if you noticed, but CC is not in the best of moods right now. [The Heater]
  • Joe Henderson remarks on how refreshing it was to hear Carl Crawford step-up and be heard concerning Delmon Young. According to Henderson, the Rays needed that sign of leadership and Crawford was just the man to do it. [Tampa Tribune]

Whether [Delmon Young] was challenging Maddon’s authority, or swinging for a hit on an 0-2 pitch over his head instead of trying to move a runner along, he made sure the chip on his shoulder was never out of sight…So when somebody asks how you trade a player who was just runner-up for American League Rookie of the Year, that’s how…Crawford Steps Up…someone in the Rays clubhouse needed to actually say out loud what everybody already knew, and what better person for that than Crawford…If it’s going to change, Crawford has to lead the way. This is a great start.

  • Al Reyes does not look at his move from closer to set-up man as a demotion, but rather as an opportunity to make the bullpen better. [Tampa Tribune]

Reyes said he thinks the offseason overhaul has given the Rays “one of the best bullpens in the league.” At the very least, the hope is that the relievers will be able to carry their own weight and not drag the rest of the team down as they often did last year. Dropping lead after lead in the late innings can’t help but take a psychological toll.

  • Jeff Passan recounts how Rocco Baldelli has gone from once promising star to a bit of an enigma. Baldelli’s only goal for 2008 is to stay healthy. [Yahoo! Sports]
  • Dick Vitale took time from preparing for tonight’s 1 vs. 2 matchup in college basketball to talk about the Rays. [Bradenton Herald]
 
 

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