Toledo 3, Durham 2. Jeff Niemann had a strong 2008 debut, throwing 71 pitches (40 strikes) in 5 innings. He allowed 2 runs (1 earned) on 4 hits and 2 walks. He struck out 5…Evan Longoria went 0-3. He struck out to end the first, grounded out, flied out and was hit-by-pitch…Reid Brignac was 1-4 with a strikeout…Justin Ruggiano was 0-4 with 3 Ks.
Chattanooga 4, Montgomery 1. Jake McGee overcame a rough spring training with the big boys and picked up right where he left off in 2007. In 6 innings, he struck out 7 and walked none with only 3 hits and 1 run. he retired 10 of the first 11 batters faced with 6 Ks. A pair of singles and a stolen base led to the only run McGee would allow…Eduardo Morlan, the other pitcher in the Delmon young-Matt Garza trade, made his debut in the Rays organization. He came on in the 8th with 1 out. After giving up a double to the first batter he face, he retired 5 of the last 6 batters he face, with 3 strike outs…The Biscuits managed only 6 singles with no player with more than one hit.
Vero Beach 8, St. Lucie 3. Heath Rollins, who set the Rays organizational record last year with 17 wins, posted a no-decision in his 2008 debut. He gave up 2 runs in 5 innings on 6 hits. He struck out 6 and walked none…John Matulia and Cesar Suarez each had 3 hits and Matt Fields hit his first home run of the season…Ryan Royster was 2-5 with 2 RBI.
Savannah 2, Columbus 0. Alex Cobb, the Rays 4th round pick in ’06, was strong in his ’08 debut, but it wasn’t enough as the Catfish were shutout on 1-hit. Cobb struck out 5 and walked none, in 5.2 innings. He gave up 2 runs (1 earned)…Greg Sexton broke up the no-hitter in the 7th with a single.
NOTES FROM DOWN ON THE FARM…
- Will Kline and David Newmann will both miss all of 2008 after injuries to the 2007 draft picks. Kline was the Rays 2nd round selection while Newmann was tabbed in the 4th. [Riverwalk Talk]
- Evan Longoria is looking forward to getting off to a good start in Durham. [Herald-Sun]
“I was kind of the big issue at camp, but I tried to stay away from the media stuff as much as I could,” Longoria said. “I’m glad to be back here. I like the people, and I like this place. Now I just have to go out and do my job every day…I’m no different from anyone else. Everybody in this league could play in the big leagues. It’s just a matter of how hard you work and how well you can refine your skills.”
- Jake McGee still has a lot of work to do before he is ready for the major leagues, but manager Billy Gardner saw the first steps last night. [Montgomery Advertiser]
“He did a good job for six innings,” Gardner said. “At times, he was overpowering. I thought he did a good job after the first time through the lineup mixing it better. We wanted to try and stress upon him to throw his breaking ball and his changeup. I thought his breaking ball was good. He threw it for strikes. He did his job and that’s all he can do. We would have liked to have provided him with more runs. But he’s going to make a lot of quality starts for us.”
- Wade Davis and Jake McGee have been inseparable since starting their pro careers and 2008 is more of the same as both will be members of the Montgomery rotation and roommates…at least until the first one is promoted to Durham. [Montgomery Advertiser]
- Durham Bulls Athletic Park was named the fourth best minor league stadium. [Durham Bulls]
- Minor League baseball is thriving in Montgomery after it was considered dead less than a decade ago. [Montgomery Advertiser]