The GBT – The Good, The Bad and The Telling sandwich, where The Bad is nice and lean and the The Telling is ripe.

click above image for boxscore

THE GOOD: Justin Ruggiano. We completely ignored Ruggy in our roster projection yesterday. But with 2 more hits yesterday he is now 17-38 with 7 extra-base hits. And it would not surprise us if he is selected for a bench spot if Matt Joyce is on the DL and the Rays do not keep Hank Blalock…Joaquin Benoit. Benoit looks to be in mid-season form after his second consecutive no-hit outing. This one lasted 1.1 innings and he struck out 1. We would be surprised if he is not on the opening day roster, and even more surprised if he is not the main high-leverage guy in the 7th and 8th innings by the second-half…Matt Garza allowed 3 home runs in 5.2 innings, but all were solo and he struck out 4 without walking a batter. In 21.2 innings this spring he has walked only 3.

THE BAD: Missed Signs. Joe Maddon was upset after the game because several batters missed signs…Grant Balfour walked 2 including the eventual winning run in the 9th inning. He has now allowed 8 runs on 10 hits and 5 walks in just 7.1 innings this spring.

THE TELLING: The decision on who will be the 5th starter in the rotation will be announced today…Sean Rodriguez was originally slated to start but was pulled with a sinus headache. JJ Furmaniak replaced him in the lineup but was pulled after 1 inning after injuring his foot during his first at bat.

DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Jonah Keri, who is currently writing a book about the Rays, made an appearance on “The B. S. Report” with Bill Simmons. The podcast is over an hour long and they spend a good deal of time talking about the Rays and the race in the AL East. [ESPN Radio]
  • What do the regulars do when they are given the day off during spring training? Well, apparently if you are BJ Upton you stay home and play video games. BJ announced on Twitter that he was “at the crib playing that FIFA” at almost the exact same time that the Phillies were driving in the winning run. [Twitter]
  • Roger Mooney makes the case for Wade Davis as the 5th starter. [Rays Report]
  • Marc Topkin says the final spot on the roster could come down to Hank Blalock or Reid Brignac. [St. Pete Times]
  • Desmond Jennings will be on the cover of the latest issue of Baseball America (with image). [Biscuit Crumbs]
  • Matt Joyce and Joe Maddon comment on Joyce’s struggles with his arm. [Tampa Tribune]
  • Marc Topkin looks at some numbers that show just how much JP Howell will be missed…We are not the first to make this observation, but without Howell, the bullpen suddenly looks very thin. [The Heater]
  • Bill Chastain examines the Rays roster possibilities and who might fill the last available spots. [MLB]
  • Martin Fennelly says Pat Burrell needs to be better this year or his career could be in jeopardy. [Tampa Tribune]
  • Jenn Sterger served as a guest bartender in NYC recently. [BobsBlitz]
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9 Comments

  1. Rich says:

    a question (dont know if it came up previously) ....
    Can Burrell be optioned/demoted/reassigned/kicked to the curb to AAA?

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    • Unfortunately no. A player with 5 years experience can't be demoted without their consent. And if he does refuse the demotion he can choose to become a free agent and the Rays still owe him his entire contract.

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  2. So to the most pressing matter...I thought Jenn Sterger had them removed? Also I agree with Mooney on the Davis front, but he doesn't really make any sort of argument to back it up at all.

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  3. KillaTapes says:

    Hey Prof, I posted this in an earlier thread but I think it went unnoticed. Or maybe it's just fodder. Anyway, at the Boston game a week or so ago, I saw Ruggiano in the bullpen suited up in catcher's gear taking balls in the dirt and practicing the mechanics of getting set to throw a runner out. Is this normal? Maybe the Rays are kicking the tires on the idea of Rouge as a catcher?

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    • I hadn't heard that about Ruggiano. I knew Dillon was doing it, but doesn't surprise me about Ruggiano.

      Problem is, with just 4 bench spots, the backup catcher is almost useless each game because he needs to be saved in case starter gets hurt. But if Ruggiano can show that he can do it in emergency, all of the sudden he becomes much more valuable to the team. If he is on the bench, it is like adding 2 players bc all of the sudden the backup catcher can be used without worry.

      You see this from time-to-time with players that are borderline major leaguers. Being able to be a 3rd string catcher could be difference between making team and being back in minors.

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  4. Tone says:

    Burrell, Grant, and Gabe K. are going to hold the team back in the early part of the season. Justin is a WAY better option than Kapler. Hank is better than Burrell. And Grant is just terrible, he sucked most of last year too. I can live with Grant if he is kept out of high leverage innings but we all know Joe will keep putting him out there to blow leads even when it counts. This team could kill most other teams if they just stop shooting themselves in the foot. Reid, Sean, and Justin SHOULD all be on the team, Joyce too if he is healthy. Sick of Burrell and Kapler sucking up time from the young guns.

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