THE GOOD: Reid Brignac. Slowly but surely, the slick fielding Cajun’s bat is starting to come to life. Yesterday he hit a 3-run home run in the 7-run 5th inning, his 3rd of the spring. He is now hitting .222 which considering where he started is not bad at all…The Bullpen. Starting with Joe Nelson in th 5th inning, 5 relievers, at least 4 of whom figure to be on the opening day roster, did not allow a base runner until a triple off of Lance Cormier in the 9th inning. Combined, they worked 5 shutout innings, giving up the 1 hit, striking out 4 and walking none…Willy Aybar. Any complaints about Aybar getting some real games under his belt in the WBC? He was 3-3 yesterday and looks to be the epitome of being in “mid-season form.”
THE BAD: Jason Hammel. Hammel struggled early, giving up 3 runs in the first 2 innings, but settled down to pitch 2 scoreless innings. He allowed 5 hits, including a home run and a walk. He struck out 1. He also allowed 3 stolen bases. Joe Maddon was not worried saying that with Hammel is is “just a bunch of little things that you can clean up pretty easily.”
THE TELLING: Willy Aybar started at second base…Evan Longoria was sent home with a “gastrointestinal bug.” On the morning after St. Patrick’s Day? Did the bug have long blonde hair and come with green beer?
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Today’s spring training matchup with the Cardinals will be broadcast on the MLB Network.
- During the WBC contest last night between USA and Venezuela, the announcers indicated that Evan Longoria would not be joining the US squad to replace the injured Chipper Jones, and that manager Davey Johnson would go with the squad that is there.
- Last night we appeared on the Mike Silva New York Baseball Digest radio show. You can download the podcast here. [NY Baseball Digest Podcast]
- BJ Upton played the outfield in a minor league game but did not have any at bats. Joe Maddon said Upton “came through it well” and “felt good.” Upton is to get some at bats today in a minor league game. [St. Pete Times]
- Dennis Maffezzoli of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune spoke with Jason Hammel who says he has a newfound confidence and that he is “throwing the ball with authority” this spring. [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
- David Chalk continues his countdown of “The Top 177 Devil Rays Ever” and he is up to #135, Shawn Bleepin’ Camp. Huh wha?!? This is the first time when we must begrudgingly disagree with Mr. Chalk. If the list is “The Top 177 Devil Rays Ever,” Shawn Bleepin’ Camp shouldn’t be any higher than 178. [Bugs and Cranks]
- The Political Whore takes a look at what impact the economy may have on Rays attendance which is up 40% this spring. [The Political Whore]