Tampa Bay Rays (20 days until Opening Day)
Yesterday: Indians 12, Tampa Bay Rays 10. Jason Hammel did not help himself in an effort to make the Rays roster giving up 9 runs in 3+ innings. At one point after giving up 2 runs in the first inning Hammel retired seven straight before unraveling in the fourth giving up six hits and a walk in the inning. Wade Davis and Jake McGee both pitched a scoreless inning in their final spring appearances. BJ Upton had a sac fly and a 2-run home run. Reid Brignac saw action at short, going 0-2 with a walk. Evan Longoria started at third and went 2-5 with an RBI. Shawn Riggans was the starting catcher and Eric Hinske started in right seeking to be the Rays 4th outfielder.
DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA…
- If you haven’t had a chance to vote in this week’s “Rays Confidence Survey”, you can do so right HERE. [Rays Index]
- Ben Zobrist had his hot spring come to a screeching halt yesterday. Zobrist broke the tip of his thumb sliding into second base. He will miss four weeks. His absence opens the door for Andy Cannizaro to make the squad as Joe Maddon will need a backup shortstop. Then again, Joel Guzman could fill the backup role for a week or two. Look to see who gets more reps at short in the next couple of days. [Tampa Bay Rays]
- Andrew Friedman spoke yesterday about Rocco Baldelli reiterating that Rocco needs to get on the field soon with only 18 days left in Spring Training. Marc Topkin speculates on possible replacements if Rocco can’t go. including James Lofton, Barry Bonds and several in-house candidates. [St. Pete Times]
“I think the only way all of us, including Rocco, can get a good feel for that is if we can get him on the field and see how he does and how he feels and kind of get him back into a fairly regular routine of playing,” Friedman said.
- Scott Kazmir is hoping to make his spring debut on Sunday. When asked about starting on opening day, he was less forceful than he was in the past acknowledging the need to not rush things. [Rays Report]
- The Rays made their first round of cuts yesterday. No surprise names, although the list includes some of the Rays biggest prospects including Jake McGee, Wade Davis, John Jaso and Fernando Perez. A couple of weeks ago, we wondered if Perez might see time in right field during the season for the Rays. An exit this early from camp suggests that this is not likely. [The Heater]
- Joe Maddon maintains his original stance on the Elliot Johnson collision from this past Saturday, that it was a fair, hard-nosed play. He refuses to make any further comments stating that he believes the entire situation was overblown. [Tampa Bay Rays]
- Both Lou Piniella and Mike Scioscia (a former catcher) backed the Rays and elliot Johnson saying that it was just a good clean hard play. Piniella questioned how somebody can ask a young player not to play hard. Scioscia noted that injuries are more likely if you ask players to curb the intensity. [The Heater]
- Shelly Duncan chimed in on the collision and warned that “They showed what is acceptable to them and how they’re going to play the game, so we’re going to go out there to match their intensity – or even exceed it.” When Duncan says “we”, we assume he is referring to the Yankees that will actually be playing. Mr. Duncan, please meet Kevin Maas and Shane Spencer. Your 15 minutes is about up. [Fanhouse]
- Former Rays’ prospect Jason Pridie was interviewed on MLB on XM Radio and among the topics he covered was his former teammate Evan Longoria. [MLB on XM]
I haven’t seen too many people who can just make solid contact and are just pure hitters like him. And a lot of people focus on his bat but I think people are going to be surprised when they see him out on the field because I’ve seen him make some plays that you just couldn’t believe, you know, those top ‘Web Gem’ plays.
- The Herald-Tribune gives a play-by-play of the goings-on in the locker room. [Herald-Tribune]
- Bleacher Report tells their readers why teams should fear the Rays in 2008, in one of the better and more complete Rays previews we have read. [Bleacher Report]