Miami 5, RAYS 1 (boxscore)
THE GOOD: Matt Joyce. Of the players expected to be regulars in the lineup, no player has more at bats this spring than Matty Joyce (40). He is only hitting .225 with a .295 OBP, but that doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that it looks like he is finally going to be an everyday player for the Rays. Well, a most-days player anyway. He will still sit against the occasional tough lefty. And he will occasionally struggle against other lefties. But if he does get to play 130+ games this season, look for a 30 HR season.
THE BAD: Cold Bats. The Rays have only 9 home runs this spring. Of those, only 4 have been hit by players expected to be on the opening day roster (Joyce 3, Longoria 1)…Record. OK, spring records mean next-to-nothing, unless you are doing really well, then everybody wants to talk about how everybody is clicking and ready for opening day. But when you are 6-14-1 like the Rays, then it is nothing to worry about, right? Typically, yes. But keep in mid, the Rays have a brutal opening month of the season. After their opening series against the Yankees, they go on a 10-game road trip against good teams (Bos, Det, Tor), followed by two good teams at home (LAA, Min) and finally a 3-game set on the road against the 2-time defending AL Champs (Tex). So the Rays need to be ready on opening day or they could be in a big hole come May. Then again, the Rangers are 6-16. So never mind (maybe).
THE TELLING: Reid Brignac is still in pain, but played in a minor league game yesterday without incident…Wade Davis has pitched 15.1 innings this spring. Matt Moore has tossed just 4 innings in big league spring training games…With BJ Upton still sore, Matt Joyce is seeing a lot of time in left field recently. If BJ must start the season on the DL (as well as Sam Fuld), look for Flash Jennings in center and Joyce in left and Ben Zobrist in right field.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Remember when you guys thought we were joking when we said BJ Upton’s soreness after colliding with Desmond Jennings is the exact type of injury that often ends up being a few weeks instead of a few days? Well, even though we are still 11 days from opening day, Upton is may not be in the lineup that day. [TampaBay.com]
- The Rays demoted five non-roster invitees down to minor league camp. The only names of consequence might be OF Brad Coon and 1B Matt Mangini. Both players received a lot of playing time this spring which could be an indication that Joe Maddon has confidence that they can fill in if needed at some point this season. [TampaBay.com]
- The Rays are expected to finalize their rotation in the next day or two. That will give the odd-man-out *cough*WadeDavis*cough* some time to acclimate to his new role as reliever. [TampaBay.com]
- Burke Badenhop discovered his sinker on accident. [TBO.com]
- We’ll have more on Matt Bush shortly, but his mother is now in critical condition after suffering an aneurysm on Friday. [TampaBay.com]
- Andy Sonnanstine has refused a minor league assignment from the Cubs and has been released. [@PWSullivan]
- Cliff Floyd spoke about his decision to sign with the Rays prior to the 2008 season. [TBO.com]
- Here’s why the Bucs hired Greg Schiano. [JoeBucsFan]