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: Starting Pitching. Want a sign that the starting pitchers are already in mid-season form? The 5 members of the rotation have combined for 78 strikeouts and 24 walks in 97.1 innings. That is a very good 3.25-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio…Jeff Niemann. The Giraffe tossed 6 shutout innings, striking out 6 and walking just 1. He now has 24 strikeouts and just 3 walks in 25.1 innings this spring…Nevin Ashley. Ashley continues to impress with 3 more hits including a home run…Evan Longoria hit his 4th home run of the past week. This one off of Josh Beckett.

THE BAD: Bullpen Candidates. Two relievers in the running for the final spot, Dale Thayer and Mike Ekstrom, combined to allow 3 runs in 3 innings on 6 hits and 2 walks.

THE TELLING: David Price will make his scheduled start today in a minor league game to avoid facing the Red Sox. Kelly Shoppach will be his catcher suggesting the two will team up during the regular season…The Rays are now 18-7-1 in the spring, matching their franchise record for wins in the Grapefruit League. They have 4 games remaining.

DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Desmond Jennings on when he will be able to return to action: “Soon, real soon.” [Biscuit Crumbs]
  • No surprise here, Matt Joyce will likely not be on the opening day roster. [St. Pete Times]
  • Marc Topkin looks at how the final roster spots could shake out. [St. Pete Times]
  • Stacy Long spoke with Desmond Jennings about the upcoming season. [Montgomery Advertiser]
  • This is behind the Insider wall, but Buster Olney presents a well-thought out realignment plan that would eliminate divisions and have the top 6 teams in each league qualify for the playoffs. The top two seeds would recieve byes in the first round and the third and fourth seeds would host each game in a 3-game first round series against the fifth and sixth seeds. [ESPN]
  • Lisa Winston writes about 10 Rays prospects to keep an eye this year. [MLB]
  • Don Zimmer has seen a lot of baseball in his years and he spoke with the Ft. Myers News-Press about how today’s players compare to players in past eras. [Ft. Myers News-Press]
  • Roger Mooney has 5 questions for Elliot Johnson. [Tampa Tribune]
  • The Tampa Bay Rays are teaming up with “American Idol” and their “Idol Give Back” charity. Donation stations will be set up at Tropicana Field. [My Fox Tampa Bay]
http://www.tampabay.com/sports/baseball/rays/tampa-bay-rays-still-finalizing-roster-as-spring-training-winds-down/1083779
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8 Comments

  1. Mike says:

    Is it weird that I got chills reading this? I'm so excited man.. This is our year!!

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  2. Beth says:

    Good thing the starting pitchers are in top form given the bullpen situation! Have any of the relief pitchers looked impressive this spring?

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  3. Charles says:

    Here's the main reason Nevin Ashley needs to make this team: his wife's name is Ashley. And yes, she actually goes by ASHLEY ASHLEY.

    That is too brilliant to not save a roster spot for. Plus, it looks like he can hit some, so bonus!

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    • Rome says:

      If I had to take guess I would say that Ashley is working way for a mid-season call-up if need be. This doesn't speak w/ for Jose Lobaton or John Jaso. Maybe if the Rays are out of it, they might trade Shoppach or Navi (both?) and bring up Ashley or Jaso. Jaso has the lefty bat and is getting better behind the plate. Ashley has always been a solid catcher but proving he can hit major league pitchers like Beckett and Liriano is a plus.

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    • Amanda says:

      Here's the article that mentions Ashley Ashley.

      http://www2.tbo.com/content/2010/mar/29/300902/ashley-having-time-his-life-rays/sports/

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  4. Alex says:

    And he hustles which is more than we can say about Fata...I mean Navi.

    Am I the only one concerned about Sean Rodriguez's defense. He looked pretty shaky out there at second last night on a lot of grounders

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  5. Tone says:

    I too am concerned about his defense at 2nd if he is going to be playing there more than just a few times. I think I'd rather have Reid as the everyday 2nd baseman and Ben the right field/outfield guy. Reid has a good bat and he always impresses me with his glove. Sean looked rough last night. Still want Sean on the roster though. I wish we could dump Burrell/Kapler and keep Reid, Sean, and Hank. Pat is just plain useless to this club and no other team is going to take him until they release him. I say get it over with now and move forward(admit the 16million$ mistake).

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  6. Dirtbag Fan says:

    With the emergence of Ashley, is there a chance the Rays could shop Jaso or Ashley for a legitimate reliever?

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