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: Going Deep. Evan Longoria and Sean Rodriguez brought the power to the Rays first game of the spring, with each hitting long home runs…Strong Relief. Matt Bush, Dirk Hayhurst and Rob Delaney combined for 5 perfect innings of relief. Bush and Hayhurst were especially impressive, getting their work in against the Pirates starters. And considering how much Joe Maddon likes his relievers to be able to work more than one inning, Hayhurst and Delaney made strong opening bids for one of the final bullpen roster spots…Robinson Chirinos. The catching prospect had 2 hits and 4 RBI. Unfortunately he also had 2 passed balls. It will be interesting to see if Joe Maddon uses Chirinos at 2B or SS this spring. If his bat continues to impress, he could be an interesting candidate to be the Rays 3rd catcher giving Maddon some extra roster flexibility.
THE BAD: Tim Beckham. An error in his first game of the spring is not the good start Beckham was looking for…Adam Russell. He is out of minor league options, so he will be on the opening day roster. Giving up 3 hits and 2 runs against the Pirates starters was not an impressive debut.
THE TELLING: In what could be the Rays opening day lineup, John Jaso led off, followed by Johnny Damon, Evan Longoria and Manny Ramirez. Ben Zobrist was in RF (not Matt Joyce) and Dan Johnson was at 1B…The Rays wore green St. Pete police caps in honor of officers that were killed in the line of duty recently…Manny Ramirez will play left field on Monday, but don’t look for that to happen during the regular season except during interleague games…Albert Suarez will be out 1-2 weeks after having his knee scoped.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- The Rays automatically renewed the contracts for their 27 players with less than 3 years of experience. Jeff Niemann will get $950K in 2011. The rest will be at or near league minimum ($414K). [Marc Topkin]
- Here are the “Manny Ray” t-shirts that some of the players wore this week. [MannyRay.com]
- Andy MacPhail says the Rays are the role-model for the Orioles and not the Yankees and Red Sox. [Press Box]
- Marc Topkin writes about Reid Brignac’s extreme confidence. [TampaBay.com]
- Roger Mooney spoke with James Shields and Joe
- In his season preview of the Rays, Jayson Stark writes about how Joe Maddon has the Rays believing they can contend. [ESPN]
- Mike Bauman says the experts shouldn’t write-off the Rays and that the Rays have the pieces to be successful for a while. [MLB]
- Tidbits about Joe Maddon, the person. [TBO.com]
Dirk Hayhurst striking out Ryan Doumit