THE GOOD: Six. Say it with us, six. Scream it to the heavens, SIX! That is the number of pitches Scott Kazmir needed in the first inning in which he retired all three batters he faced. Not 26. Just 6. He did give up 3 hits and a run in the second inning before being taken out. He struck out 1 and walked none…Jeff Niemann. It wasn’t the Twins A-squad, but Niemann did what he was supposed to do pitching the final four innings without allowing a run. He struck out 1 and allowed 2 hits and a walk. He has now allowed 1 run in 9 spring innings, with 8 Ks and 2 walks…Ben Zobrist. A double and a triple in 3 ABs for the utility player playing third base yesterday.
THE BAD: Joe Nelson. Giving up a 2-run home run is never a good thing, especially to a singles hitter like Delmon Young…Reid Brignac. We are going to keep going to the well until he does something. Anything. Another 0-fer, at least it was only 0-1 and he did draw a walk. There is that…More K’s. Another 9 strike outs for the offense yesterday to only 3 walks. Not quote 15-to-1 like the day before, but still not good. These numbers are woefully Devil Rays-esque…Dan Wheeler. Wheeler definitely had some cobwebs, giving up a run on 2 hits, a walk and a wild pitch in 1 inning of work. Geez, it was only a spring game, you would think he was trying to close the door in the 9th inning of a September game.
THE TELLING: Justin Ruggiano started in right field and is having a decent spring hitting .318 (7-22) with 2 doubles and a triple. He has also stolen 2 bases and even has an outfield assist. Compare that to Gabe Kapler who is 1-18.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Scott Kazmir responded after his first spring outing by saying “It’s the best my arm’s ever felt.” Kaz was able to use all his pitches and he was pleased with his slider. [Rays Report]
- The Rays have signed a new partnership with Fox Sports Net Florida to air 150 games this season. Games will no longer be seen on the ION channel which was not available in many parts of Florida. Also, the Rays will be carried on 20 radio affiliates this season. That number was just 4 in 2006. [Bradenton Herald]
- Mark Herrmann of Newsday spoke with JP Howell about playing in the World Baseball Classic and being teammates with players from the Yankees and Red Sox. According to Herrmann, Howell is impressed but is also “trying to peek” and take some notes on those players for the regular season. [Newsday]
- The Hardball Times has a player profile on Carl Crawford and what we can expect from the left fielder in 2009. [The Hardball Times]