Tampa Bay Rays (10 days until Opening Day)

Night game tonight. No BJ Upton or Akinori Iwamura until Sunday. Andy Sonnanstine gets the start. A solid outing would probably secure his spot in the rotation if there is still any doubt. Evan Longoria will start at third base. If the Rays have decided already to send The Dirtbag to the minors, they will wait until Willy Aybar is ready to play again before making an announcement.

Rays-Yanks: Upton, Aki likely back Sunday [The Heater]

DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA

  • Buster Olney compares BJ Upton’s apparoach at the plate to that of Derek Jeter. However, he does note that Upton should hit for more power and post better OBPs. [ESPN]
  • It sure sounds like Andy Sonnanstine and JP Howell have both already made the roster. No surprise that Howell is headed to the ‘pen, but Hickey’s comments on Sonnanstine as an ideal relief pitcher is a little surprising. [Tampa Tribune]

According to Hickey, it’s rare that either reports soreness in his arm the day after starting, neither takes particularly long to get warmed up, and both can be relied upon to come in and throw strikes even if they haven’t pitched in a few days…”You kind of target those guys,” Hickey said. “You don’t just take anybody and say ‘This guy’s capable of being a relief pitcher.'”

  • Outs Per Swing breaks down the Final Four for the Rays’ rotation, predicting Edwin Jackson, Andy Sonnanstine and Jason Hammel to fill out the empty slots. [Outs Per Swing]
  • Troy Percival is not the only pitcher that has accepted the role of mentor in the Rays’ clubhouse. Dan Wheeler and Trever Miller have both used their experience to help the younglings on the Rays’ pitching staff. [St. Pete Times]
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