THE GOOD: Starting Pitchers. In the three games this weekend (Fri-Sun), David Price, Alex Cobb, and Chris Archer combined to throw 9 shutout innings, giving up just 3 hits while striking out 11 and walking none…Desmond Jennings. Flash is off to a huge start early on. He is 4-9, but more importantly, he has 5 walks and no strikeouts. He also has 5 stolen bases, including 3 steals of third base…Matt Joyce. This could be a big spring for Joyce if he is ever going to be more than a platoon player for the Rays. And early on he is swinging the bat well, with 5 hits, including 3 doubles. He also has 3 walks and just 2 strikeouts. The doubles are especially exciting. We all know Joyce has 30-home run power. But he really should be a doubles machine.
THE BAD: Hak-Ju Lee. There is no doubting Lee’s status as a top prospect. But you can see that, offensively at least, he is still overmatched at the big league level. In 10 plate appearances, he has struck out 5 times and has just 1 hit.
THE TELLING: Luke Scott was pulled after feeling some hamstring tightness. He says it is nothing to worry about and told the media this morning it no longer feels tight…Evan Longoria played in back-to-back games for the first time…Ben Zobrist has left the Rays to join the U.S. World Baseball Classic squad…Sean Rodriguez played centerfield on Saturday and is expected to see more time in the outfield this season.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- The Rays made their first cuts this weekend, sending four pitchers to minor league camp. These pitchers were only in big league camp to help with the early split-squad games. [TampaBay.com]
- The Rays finalized the contracts on all players that have less than three years of big league experience. These players will make at or near the big league minimum ($490,000). This includes Jeremy Hellickson. [TampaBay.com]
- Tim Kurkjian on Wil Myers: “Two Rays told me that new OF Wil Myers is a better runner, a better athlete, than they expected. Plus, special power. We’ll see him May 1?” I can only see that happening if he just tears up triple-A. Otherwise, June is more realistic. [Tim Kurkjian]
- Jon Heyman reports that the Rays are “doing a little canvassing” and are looking around for another “spare” catcher and outfielder. [Jon Heyman]
- Fascinating read on Chris Archer. [TampaBay.com]
- Yunel Escobar is surprising some people in Rays camp. [TBO.com]
- Chris Gimenez says he is a huge fan of Puerto Rico in the WBC. The better Puerto Rico plays, the longer Jose Molina is away from the team and the more playing time Gimenez will receive to make a case for the backup catcher’s job. [TampaBay.com]
- The chief of the players’ union says some wonder if the Rays would be more successful in a stadium closer to Orlando. [Marc Topkin]
- Evan Longoria’s baby has been released from the hospital. [TampaBay.com]
- Matt Garza is expected to miss the first month of the regular season. [MLB.com]
- Carl Crawford had a setback with his surgically repaired elbow and now he might start the season on the DL. [MLB.com]
- Dan Johnson says people want to talk about his big home runs with the Rays “every day.” [WSJ.com]
- Baseball’s Knuckleball Reality Show Has Hit A Bizarre Snag. [BI Sports]
- Would Percy Harvin be a good fit for the Bucs. [JoeBucsFan]