The GBT – The Good, The Bad and The Telling sandwich, where The Bad is nice and lean and the The Telling is ripe.
THE GOOD: Creating Runs. JoeMa had to like what he saw from Sean Rodriguez in the first inning when he singled, stole second to get into scoring position, then score on Evan Longoria’s double. And what Carl Crawford did in the third inning when he reached on catcher’s interference, stole second and went to third on the catcher’s throwing error. He then scored on Longo’s sac fly…Rodriguez Vs Brignac. The battle for the backup middle infielder is closer than you might think early on. Sean Rodriguez has been the headline maker with a very impressive 7-14 and 5 extra-base hits. But Reid Brignac is holding his own, as he is also 7-14 and leads the Rays with 8 RBI…The New Giraffe. Jeff Niemann is pitching with confidence early on. Yesterday he retired 10 of the first 11 he faced and allowed only 2 baserunners in 4 innings of work with 2 strikeouts and no walks…Hellboy Cometh. Jeremy Hellickson struck out all 4 batters he faced yesterday and has now struck out 5 of the last 7 batters he faced. Of course, 3 of the 4 batters yesterday have never been above double-A, so our excitement is tempered…Navi. Dioner Navarro had 2 more hits and now has 6 in his first 9 at bats. He also has 2 walks and no strikeouts, while Kelly Shoppach has struck out 5 times without a walk.
THE BAD: El Gato. Carlos Pena is struggling out of the gate, going 0-2 yesterday and he is now 0-9 to start the spring…‘Nando Calrissien. Fernando Perez got a game-winning hit but he is only 3-14 in the spring after another 0-2 yesterday. More importantly he has 6 strikeouts and no walks. Nando needs to show that he has the ability to get on base.
THE TELLING: In both of his spring appearances, Jeremy Hellickson has been called upon in the middle of an inning with runners on base. In both cases, the previous pitcher (David Price, Carlos Hernandez) reached his pitch-limit mid-inning. So why not go to a reliever to finish the inning and have Hellickson start fresh the next inning? The Rays might be getting a look at how Hellickson handles those types of situations should they need an extra reliever in September…The Rays gave Carlos Hernandez a long look yesterday letting him work into a third inning. If a spot-start is needed at some point early in the season, the Rays may be looking to see if Hernandez can do the job.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- The opt-out clause in Hank Blalock’s contract is “convoluted” according to Andrew Friedman, but Friedman said, “if there’s not a 25-man spot for him and there is somewhere else we’re not going to stand in his way.” Based on Friedman’s words, we wonder if Blalock would have to prove that another team will offer him a job in order to become a free agent. If that is the case, maybe the Rays can send him to the minors if no spot is available. [The Heater]
- The Yankees traded Edwar Ramirez to the Rangers for cash. Some thought the Rays would be interested if Ramirez had cleared waivers (Ramirez was designated for assignment last week). [MLB Trade Rumors]
- Sun Sports will broadcast 145 regular season games while Fox Sports Florida will broadcast another 5 (all 5 during the first week). Of those games, Kevin Kennedy is slated to be the color analyst for 100 games and Brian Anderson will work 50. You can see the entire schedule HERE.
- From John Romano: I asked an assortment of scouts, executives and former players if they could trade Longoria straight up for any player in the big leagues would they make the deal. Some of them pondered. Some of them equivocated. But, in the end, all of them said essentially the same thing: No. No freakin’ way. [St. Pete Times]
- Local business leaders have started a campaign to help bring more corporate support to the Rays. [St. Pete Times]
- The Godfather previews the Tampa Bay Rays at the website formerly known as Deadspin. [Deadspin]
- Doug Fernandes writes that the Orioles look a lot like the Rays did a few years ago. [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]