Tampa Bay Rays (12 days until Opening Day)
Yesterday: Phillies 4, Tampa Bay Rays 2.
The Good: Matt Garza in the 2nd, 3rd and 6th innings. After a shaky first, he retired 9 of 10 and then the last 4 he faced. Evan Longoria hit his 3rd home run of the spring but more eye-opening was his 9th walk of the spring. Only 5 players in the majors have more and only one of those players (Willie Harris) has fewer than Longoria’s 5 strikeouts.
The Bad: Matt Garza in the first inning: 1 throwing error, 1 wild pitch, 1 walk, 1 run. Reid Brignac committed his 3rd error of the spring. He only had 3 errors in the final 43 games last season. As a team the Rays only managed 3 hits, without a baserunner until 2 outs in the 5th, and committed 2 errors.
The Telling: JP Howell once again came on in a relief role and pitched a perfect 9th with 2 strikeouts. Howell is going to make the roster…as a relief pitcher.
DEVIL RAYS WEBTOPIA…
- USA Today takes a look at the importance, or lack thereof, of spring win-loss records. Andrew Friedman may have summed it best…“Generally, I think there’s very little correlation,” Friedman said, “but for us, and the collective mind-set of our organization, it sure can’t hurt.” [USA Today]
- Bad news for Elliot Johnson fans. Ben Zobrist had his cast removed a week earlier which gives the Rays newest utility guy a much better shot at being ready for opening day…Scott Kazmir is playing catch, and may be able to throw a bullpen session on Wednesday. [Rays Report]
- Joe Maddon is less optimistic about the chances of Ben Zobrist making the trip to Baltimore for opening day. If Zobrist is not on the field by the end of next week, we suspect Zobrist will start season on the DL with a stay in extended spring training. [Tampa Bay Rays]
“You have to take at-bats, all the other little things you have to do to get ready for the season,” Maddon said. “I’m not sure about that yet, we’ll see. He’s been playing catch. I know his arm is still in shape. He’s been doing anything he can possibly do to stay under the circumstances to stay ready, and that’s typical Zobrist right there. Again, he just has not been able to hit, which would be a big factor.”
- Scott Kazmir revealed that his recent switch to a cautionary tone with regards to his arm may have been fueled by the career-ending injury suffered by Brian Anderson. [Tampa Bay Rays]
“It kind of freaked me out a little bit, to be honest with you,” Kazmir said. “You see him come in and the next thing you know he’s talking about, ‘Oh, I ripped my whatever’ and what not. Then I’m like, maybe I should take a little more time…I see that going on. I’m thinking, ‘Oh, man, I don’t want to be in that boat.’ And, plus, I’ve got the time no just to make sure that everything is strong and I’m ready to go.”
- Yesterday Rays of Light rallied for the Rays to sign Todd Linden to be the 4th outfielder. Today DRays Bay tells us why he is not all his numbers are cracked up to be. [DRays Bay]
- Dayn Perry say the Rays are “capable of contending very soon”. Of course this is the same guy that said the Rays were one of “ten teams that could surprise” in 2007 and a week later wrote a column in which he said the 2007 Rays were one of the teams “with no hope for success”. [Fox Sports]
- USA Today interviews Joe Maddon. There is nothing here that we haven’t been hearing in the local media all spring. [USA Today]
- Yahoo! Sports projects the Rays lineup. They have Scott Dohmann and JP Howell in the bullpen, which is how DRays Bay projects it and the way we figure it will shake down. Of course there is a good chance they just read one or both sites. [Yahoo! Sports]
- The Tampa Tribune has details on the three proposals submitted for the redevelopment of Tropicana Field. Officials will recommend one of the proposals to the City Council by May 1st. [Tampa Tribune]