Rafael Soriano To Make Cameo Appearances This Spring


One of the best things about spring training is getting an up-close preview of new players. So far we've seen Sean Rodriguez and Kelly Shoppach mashing the baseball like we all hoped. We've also enjoyed seeing new closer Rafael Soriano and his dominating fastball...or not.

For those with hopes of seeing Soriano in a Rays uniform before opening day, you better not blink because you might miss him. See, Soriano is a bit of a different cat, and that means this thing called "spring training" is not the same for him. Instead of getting normal game work every few days, Soriano will make seven apperances this spring with each appearance lasting exactly one innings.

Knowing that his new toy is a creature of habit, Joe Maddon plans on letting Soriano do exactly what he wants.

"Conversationally, I felt like he really does understand what he needs to do [to get ready for the season]," Maddon said. "I'm trusting him right now. And really, he's very upbeat. A late-inning guy like that, seven appearances should be good. --Raysbaseball.com

Looking back at his history, this is nothing new for Soriano. Even people I've talked to say this is common of the 30-year-old closer. Going over the last five (six, really) seasons, here are the spring appearances and innings pitched for Soriano.

Soriano

Games

IP

2009

5

5

2008

2

2

2007

8

8

2006

6

7

2005

N/A

N/A

2004

4

5

Soriano needed just five appearances last year and he did pretty well for himself ,so getting seven this season is a treat. As for any worries about being ready, Maddon isn't concerned.

"I've seen him work in the past. He's a high-effort guy and he's going to throw hard. And again, you do want to save it for the season. He's getting the benefit of the doubt right now. I believe him. He seemed to be well-thought out about how he wanted to get ready, so I was on board with it."

For now, Soriano continues to get some work in on the side and expects to get into live game action some time next week. It looks like that $7.25 million is taking his time walking through that door. 

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