Tampa Bay Devil Dogs (16 days until opening day)

DRG here again to cover my Devil Dogs while The Prof is covering competitive sledding in Canada

Yesterday: Tampa Bay Rays 8, Blue Jays 4. I know it is only spring training but it is a nice feeling to see the Rays with a winning record after 14 games (10-3-1) and in first place without haveing to turn the newspaper upside down.

  • The Good: Evan Longoria hit his second home run of the spring, a 2-run shot in the 8th. John Rodriguez was 2-3 with 2 singles and 2 RBI in his bid for the 4th outfielder spot. Grant Balfour faced 6 batters, retiring 5 and walking 1, while striking out 3. Balfour is fighting for the final bullpen spot.
  • The Bad: Edwin Jackson had his second straight tough start and now is fighting for a roster spot that once looked fairly secure. 4 runs in 5 innings is bad enough, but 4 walks and no strike outs is exactly what Joe Maddon is not looking for.
  • The Telling: Will Aybar got the start at third base as Maddon continues to alternate Aybar and Longoria on a regular basis. Eric Hinske played first base as he tries to convince Maddon he can be a utility player. Hector Gimenez caught the second-half of the game and now has received more playing time (17 innings) in the spring than Josh Paul (11) and Mike DiFelice (16). Shawn Riggans is going to make the team.

DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • The Prof got some serious airtime on ESPN.com yesterday as Rob Neyer debated Prof’s recent post exploring the impact of Barry Bonds. [ESPN]
  • Consider that yesterday Jayson Stark of ESPN.com debated the worst team in baseball, and the Rays were not even considered. Baby Steps. Stark does mention that as part of Troy Percival’s contract, the Rays provided him with a 1970 Chavelle that “runs like crap”, which is OK, because he and his dad restore classic automobiles. [ESPN]
  • Hugging Harold Reynolds is jumping on the Rays bandwagon, which is starting to move forward with a head of steam. And yes we welcome you with open arms. Although it is tempered a bit by the news that HHR loves the Phillies. Considering the general disdain for all things Philadelphia amongst Tampa Bay fans, we are willing to overlook it this one time. [Hugging Harold Reynolds]
  • For those that are curious, Delmon Young is 10-28 (.357). In typical Young fashion, 8 of the 10 hits are singles. In non-typical Young fashion he has 2 walks and only 3 strikeouts. He does have 1 home run.
  • Joe Girardi still won’t admonish Shelley Duncan but it sure sounds like he teammates will behind closed doors. [New York Post]

“A lot of veteran guys have talked to him,” Johnny Damon told The Post yesterday. “We are telling him to keep playing hard, but keep the spikes down and the shoulders in (when sliding). This way people see you are playing hard, but no one can question you.”

  • Jonny Gomes will appeal his 2 game suspension. [The Heater]
  • Most in the Rays clubhouse agreed that Jonny Gomes’ suspension and Shelley Duncan’s suspension were too similar considering what occurred. [Herald-Tribune]
  • Andy Cannizaro returned to the Rays after missing time with a recurring back problem. His return hurts the chances of Elliot Johnson making the squad as the backup shortstop. [Tampa Bay Rays]
  • Yesterday The Prof wrote about when we can expect the All-Star game to be held in St. Pete. Now comes word that they Rays have bid on the 2010 All-Star game. I have to imagine this is just a formality for the Rays as everybody expects the Angels to get the game. The Rays may want to just familiarize themselves with the process and possibly receive some feedback on their proposal to better utilize in the future. [LA Times]
  • In keeping with the All-Star theme, last July The Serous Tip predicted that Florida would not host the All-Star game until at least 2016 noting that the AL parks get the game in the even years. Between this report and Prof’s assessment, we can expect a Tampa Bay Rays hosted all-star game in 2016 or 2018. [The Serious Tip]
  • A blogger talks to one of Andrew Freidman’s assistants about fantasy baseball advice? OK. [Sports Judge]
  • In light of recent events, The Cape Cod News wonders why baserunners are allowed to intentionally collide with catchers. [Cape Cod News]
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