THE GOOD: David Price. The first six pitches he threw were balls, but after walking the first batter he came from behind to strike out the second batter. He followed that up with a pop up and another strikeout. In his second inning of work, he again walked the leadoff batter, but got him on a double play and then struck out the final batter he faced…David Price’s changeup. King David got one of his strikeouts and the double-play ball on changeups. Price added after the game that his changeup has come a long ways…Pat Burrell. Pat brought his bat and hit his first home run with the Rays and he made it a good one, a grand slam that gave the Rays the lead for good…Reid Brignac. Finally! Brignac had a double, a single and a walk in 5 plate appearances, and he drove in 2…Patience returned? The Rays walked 6 times to only 5 K’s. Entering the game, the Rays were averaging 8.0 strikeouts and 3.3 walks per game.
THE BAD: Fernando Perez. Perez injured his wrist diving for a ball in the first inning and had to be removed from the game…Matt Garza. The Garza Complex allowed 3 runs on 3 hits in his first spring action. He did not walk a batter, but did throw a wild pitch.
THE TELLING: If BJ Upton starts the year on the DL, Fernando Perez was likely going to be the opening day center fielder. If Perez is out for a significant period of time, Justin Ruggiano will likely get the extra roster spot with Gabe Kapler starting in center…Neither Morgan Ensberg nor Adam Kennedy saw any playing time yesterday…Andy Sonnanstine saw his first action, pitching a perfect 5th inning and Mitch Talbot pitched a perfect 9th.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- The Dominican Republic was upset by Netherlands and eliminated from the WBC, when the winning run scored in the 11th inning on an error by Willy Aybar. Looks like the Rays are getting Willy back a little sooner that they expected. [USA Today]
- The Rays made their first round of cuts, sending seven players to minor league camp including James Houser and Chad Orvella. [The Heater]
- It appears that Fernando Perez did not break his wrist, and Andrew Friedman said the injury “could have been a lot worse,” but it is still possible that Perez damaged ligaments or tendons and will be out at least a week, and possibly much longer. [Tampa Tribune]
- Bill Chastain has a Q&A with Joe Maddon. He says the Rays can be much better offensively this season and adds that he loves the idea of the Rays being targets in 2009. He would also like to see more than one Ray win a Gold Glove this season. [MLB]
- Jason Isringhausen struggled with his control during his most recent batting practice session and Marc Lancaster says it is unlikely Izzy will make his spring debut this weekend as originally planned. [Rays Report]
- John Romano argues that David Price is the best pitcher right now among those fighting for the final spot in the rotation but that the Rays and Price will be better served with Price back in Durham to start the season. [St. Pete Times]
- Matt Garza says the difference for him is the confidence to throw his fastball over the plate, saying he just needs to build on what he did last year, but admits he is still a work in progress. [Bradenton Herald]
- Lisa Winston lists 10 prospects from the Rays system to keep an eye on this season. [MLB]