Two weeks ago we addressed 10 questions hovering over the Rays in spring training. Every week from now until the beginning of the regular season, we will take a look at those questions and see if we are any closer to getting some answers…

  1. What can we expect from BJ Upton this season? We are still in “wait-and-see” mode with BJ Upton as he has yet to make his spring debut. When that happens will have an affect on whether the Rays will let him play center field during the first week of the season. We also need to see if Upton will unveil an altered swing this season to try and avoid any addition issues with his shoulder. MAGIC 8-BALL SAYS: JURY STILL OUT
  2. Who is going to leadoff this season? Joe Maddon has frequently used a lineup this spring that included Evan Longoria, Carlos Pena and Pat Burrell batting 3-4-5. Maddon has already made it clear that Carl Crawford will hit in his customary 2-hole. So unless you think BJ Upton will bat sixth (not likely) that means Upton is going to lead off this season. MAGIC 8-BALL SAYS: BJ UPTON
  3. Will Pat Burrell’s glove see the light of day (or light of the Trop) this season? Sure enough. Pat Burrell played a few innings in right field earlier this spring. At some point this season Burrell is going to be in the field, unfortunately. We guess he needs to keep the glove fresh for interleague play. MAGIC 8-BALL SAYS: YES
  4. Will Jason Hammell still be a Tampa Bay Ray on opening day? Carlos Hernandez, Wade Davis and Mitch Talbot have already been cut, but we didn’t think they had much of a shot anyway. Jason Hammel will get a start this week. Jeff Niemann and David Price will not. MAGIC 8-BALL SAYS: YES
  5. Will Scott Kazmir rediscover his slider and his mechanics? Scott Kazmir says the problem with his slider was mechanics and his numbers this spring suggest the mechanics are fine. MAGIC 8-BALL SAYS: YES
  6. Will Matt Joyce show that he belongs in the big leagues now? Matt Joyce will play in a minor league game today and make his Rays debut on Thursday. At this point, it is too late to change the Rays minds. MAGIC 8-BALL SAYS: NO
  7. Can David Price win the final spot in the rotation? Joe Maddon said what most of us thought, that the team thinks David Price still needs to be fine-tuned. And we don’t have a problem with that. MAGIC 8-BALL SAYS: NO
  8. Will we recognize Dioner Navarro and how will his new physique affect his game? Dioner Navarro says he feels good and we have to believe that we will finally see a little more spring in his step, and maybe a little more pop in his bat. Is 15-20 home runs out of the question? MAGIC 8-BALL SAYS: NAVI BRINGS THE SEXY BACK
  9. Who will fill out the back of the bullpen? We see five spots locked up with Troy Percival, Dan Wheeler, Grant Balfour, JP Howell and Brian Shouse. That leaves two spots with about 5 names in competition. But we think Jeff Niemann and Joe Nelson have a strong lead heading down the stretch. MAGIC 8-BALL SAYS: NIEMANN AND NELSON
  10. Will Morgan Ensberg or Adam Kennedy change the Rays plans and force their way onto the roster? They are trying. They are really trying. But the Rays are deep and neither player is forcing his way into the picture. MAGIC 8-BALL SAYS: NOT YET


  1. Rory says:

    I agree with the comments about Maddon's line-up preferences and what that portends for the regular season. De-emphasizing Aki in the lineup puts Maddon one step closer to replacing him with a different bat. Zobrist or Aybar would also have the effect of removing a left handed hitter and adding a switch hitter. I say give one of these two a chance to be an everyday player.

  2. Danny says:

    if the "Gabe Brigade" flops on its face i'd like to see Zobrist get a chance out in right...with him being a switch hitter with more pop than either of the Gabes w/ average defense, he's just as good as Gross or Kapler for less cash - this also would allow for Aybar to get the backup infield reps and hopefully enable Aybar or Zobrist to emerge as an everyday force

  3. Don says:

    We gave up Edwin Jackson For Matt(who) Joyce!!!
    Other trades have panned out... but I'm betting against Joyce making any kind of impact.
    Jackson would have been our 5th starter and Burrell in right field most of the time....Aybar as DH when not playing in the field!


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