THE GOOD: Adam Kennedy. Kennedy may have put an exclamation point on making the opening day roster after Reid Brignac was demoted. Kennedy hit his first home run of the spring. He also has his spring line up to a very solid .293/.370/.372…Jeff Niemann. If we were going to play oddsmakers with the final job in the rotation. We’d say it was 90% for Hammel a week ago and now it is about 60% after Niemann’s latest start. He worked 4 strong innings, giving up 1 run. He did not walk a batter a struck out 2. He did give up 2 well-hit doubles…Troy Percival. Another inning, and more zeros across the board. He has allowed only 1 baserunner (hit batter) in 5 spring innings…Matt Joyce. Joyce saw his first spring action in the field, playing the 9th inning in right field.
THE BAD: Jason Isringhausen. Not terrible, but he did give up a run on 2 singles in an inning of work. From what little we have seen, it just seems like he is close, but not quite ready…Gabe Kapler. It is time for Kapler to start picking up the pace.He was 0-1 and is now hitting .105/.209/.184 this spring.
THE TELLING: Jason Bartlett continues to get the bulk of the leadoff duties in the absence of BJ Upton and Aki Iwamura, and Ben Zobrist started in center…Does it seem like the Rays have played about 20 games against the Pirates this spring?…Matt Joyce will start in center field today…Matt Garza pitched 5.2 innings in an intrasquad game…Jason Hammel will get his next start on Saturday…Akinori Iwamura will play his first spring game on Friday…BJ Upton played 5 innings in a minor league game.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- The Rays demoted a who’s who of top prospects yesterday, with the biggest name being David Price. He will joined in Durham’s spring camp by Reid Brignac, John Jaso, Justin Ruggiano and Elliot Johnson. Price’s demotion means the final spot in the rotation will indeed be between Jason Hammel and Jeff Niemann. And with Brignac gone, the final bench spot will likely go to Adam Kennedy. [Rays Report]
- Joe Maddon defended the decision to demote Price. Maddon also indicated that Kennedy has not yet won the final bench spot, saying that Matt Joyce still has a shot at making the roster. Maddon spoke very highly about Joyce’s swing (he is 0-6 thus far) but said he needs to see him play the field. [Tampa Tribune]
- Marc Topkin says the Rays traded April innings for August, September and October innings by demoting David Price. He also says the Rays two biggest reasons for demoting Price were the innings totals and fastball command, noting that he met their wishes of improving his changeup. [St. Pete Times]
- Evan Longoria and JP Howell have returned to the Rays. We can only assume that Aki Iwamura’s absence indicates he is still drunk. [The Heater]
- Jordi Scrubbings previews the Tampa Bay Rays over at his other home. Worth the read. [Thunder Matt's Saloon]
- In an endeavor that likely required therapy once finished, Sully Baseball compares the Rays’ all-time home-grown and all-time acquired teams. Good read. [Sully Baseball]
- Wow. Just wow. He hasn’t even played a game yet for the Rays. The possibilities are endless. [The Fightins]
- A porn star bought herself some Rays gear…Well. At least it will look better on her than Peter King. [Bugs and Cranks]