Time to bring back the GBT – The Good, The Bad and The Telling sandwich, where The Bad is nice and lean and the The Telling is ripe.
THE GOOD: Carlos Hernandez. Hernandez looked strong facing big league hitters for the first time in 3 years, not allowing a hit or walk in 2 innings…While Gabe Gross was dropping line drives, Fernando Perez and Justin Ruggiano, two guys competing to be the first outfielder available from Durham, each threw out a baserunner.
THE BAD: 4, 2, 14. As in the Rays managed only 4 hits, committed 2 errors and gave 14 hits. To say the Rays came out a bit rusty would be like saying Rosanne Barr is mildly annoying…Randy Choate, a lefty with big league experience in 8 different seasons, did not help his case for a bullpen spot by giving up 5 hits, including the big blow, a grand slam, in 1 inning of work.
THE TELLING: While we shouldn’t make too much of it, it was interesting that Joe Maddon gave the opening start to Carlos Hernandez with both Jason Hammel and Mitch Talbot working out of the bullpen. Hammel and Talbot are both competing for the 5th spot in the rotation and we would think Maddon would want to get them as many starts as possible in the spring. Maddon missed an opportunity yesterday…Also, Jason Hammel was used for 2 innings early in the game against the Reds starters, while Mitch Talbot pitched the 9th inning against the scrubs, giving up 2 runs. Clearly Talbot is the odd-man looking in for the final spot of the rotation, and right now it doesn’t even look like he is getting much of a look.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Carlos Hernandez said he felt good and is looking forward to more work as he tries to get back to the big leagues…We have a feeling that if his shoulder holds up, we will see Hernandez at the Trop at some point this season. [St. Pete Times]
- Stuart Sternberg attended the first game at the Rays new spring training ballpark and while he was there he offered a none-to-subtle quote to Aaron Sharockman: “We know how to build baseball stadiums. We know what fans want.” [Ballpark Frankness]
- The Rays automatically renewed the contracts of all players with less than three years major league experience. Exact figures have not been released but we can expect them all to be close to the major league minimum of about $400K. [The Heater]
- The one glitch in the spring opener appeared to be traffic issues getting to the park. [Tampa Tribune]
- At least Dioner Navarro didn’t weigh 772 pounds. A fisherman caught a 772-pound stingray in Thailand recently (thanks Joe). [AOL News]
- Evan Longoria is the latest Ray to reflect on his time in Durham for WRAL. Interestingly, Longoria did not play a game in Durham in 2008. All of his games prior to being promoted were on the road. [WRAL]
- Rays of Light plays around with the Rays regular season schedule. [Rays of Light]
- And finally we would be remiss if we didn’t mention…The first game of spring training is always one of the best days of the year and it would take a lot to ruin it for us. This did. [Joe Bucs Fan]