THE GOOD: Evan Longoria. Longoria hit his first home run of the spring on Sunday. You never want to take too much from spring training games, especially early on. But it is always nice to see a slugger get their first home run out of the way so that it doesn’t nag in the back of their minds or on the lips of fans and reporters…Hot Starts. Yunel Escobar is off to a hot start with 4 hits in his first 4 spring at bats including 2 doubles. Jerry Sands, who is competing for a bench spot, has a pair of doubles and a home run…Glove Work. The Rays have yet to commit an error in three games.
THE BAD: Erik Bedard. Bedard’s first outing was a rough one, giving up 3 runs on 3 hits and 2 walks. He recorded just 3 outs…Mikie Mahtook. Mahtook looks a bit overmatched early on in the spring. So far he is 1-7 with 3 strikeouts and no walks.
THE TELLING: The Rays attempted just 73 stolen bases in 2013, down from 134 in 2012 and 155 in 2012 and they don’t look very aggressive early on with just 3 attempts in 3 games (2 successful)…Grant Balfour pitched in a game for the Rays for the first time since 2010, a 1-2-3 3rd inning on Sunday with a strikeout…Ben Zobrist is expected to make his spring debut today…
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Power Rankings! The Rays are #6 at the start of spring training, although I think you can easily rearrange 3-7 in any order and be fine. [BI Sports]
- Fun story about how Joe Maddon once hitchhiked from the University of Tampa to Al Lang field when he was in college. Also Maddon lives in John McKay’s old house. [TBO.com]
- “On the first day of March, almost every baseball person one talks to mentions the Rays as the team to beat in the American League if Price stays. One of these years the World Series is coming back to The Trop on The Island, Longoria is going to be the MVP, and the people from Sarasota to Fort Lonesome, Orlando to Indians Rock Beach are going to realize what they have, and what they’ll miss if nothing gets done and they move to Montreal.” [Peter Gammons]
- The Twins and Rays play for a Spring Training cup.
A lot on the line when the Twins and Rays meet during spring training….. pic.twitter.com/G2Su3ckRS5
— LaVelle E. Neal III (@LaVelleNeal) March 2, 2014