(Note: The Rays organization is so heavily loaded with pitching that its difficult not to focus most of the recaps on the pitchers. In an effort to shed more light on the hitters, I will attempt to highlight one position player a day (rotating between the teams). I can't promise I'll do it daily, but I'll do a few a week. As a side effect I won't put much effort into the season lines of the rest of the hitters in the recaps so much as highlighting the day's top performers. I'll do a prospect performance table at least monthly, and will probably do the Week in Starting Pitching posts I did last year).
AAA Durham Bulls
Big left-hander Heath Phillips pitched a whale of a game going 7.2 innings allowing one run on a solo shot in the 8th. He gave up four hits in total along with one walk while generating four strikeouts and seven whiffs. 67 of his 96 pitches went for strikes and he induced 12 groundouts to 4 flyouts. With RJ Swindle on the shelf, Phillips and Carlos Hernandez are the closest left-handers to the big leagues. Given the struggles of Randy Choate to keep the ball down, he is worth monitoring though his splits aren't pronounced like most LOOGYs. Fernando Perez left the game due to injury after beating out an infield single. Already without Desmond Jennings, Chris Richard was forced into left field duty.
Better Know a Bull: Joe Dillon
Joe Dillon was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 1997 draft out of high school by the Royals organization. Dillon persevered in the minors before cracking the big leagues at the age of 30 with the Marlins. Dillon also played a few seasons with the Brewers. Upon being waived, Oakland claimed in 2008. Joe Dillon made his way to the Rays as the Player to Be Named Later when Tampa Bay shipped Adam Kennedy to Oakland when a major league opportunity opened up. As luck would have it injuries to Evan Longoria and Pat Burrell opened up a spot on the 25-man roster where Dillon resided for much of the season. Dillon has compiled playing time in the major leagues at every position outside of catcher, shortstop, and center field. Even so, Dillon decided at the young age of 34 to take up catching in Spring Training this season in an effort to increase his chance of making it back to the show. Dillon has a sample of 90 plate appearances vs. major league left-handed pitching where he has amassed a slash line of .338/.456/.514. In eight AAA season, Dillon has posted a slash line against all pitchers of .312/.402/.559. He's an easy target for jokes based on his largely invisible time on the 25-man last season, but Dillon is an organizational soldier worth keeping around. Heding into 4/13 Dillon is leading the Bulls in OPS at .931 going 7-20 wiith four doubles, one walk, and just one strikeout.
AA Montgomery Biscuits
This game marked Alex Torres coming out party in the Rays organization. Torres went five scoreless innings, the fourth consecutive Biscuit starter to not allow a run. He allowed just one hit and two walks while striking out eight. He only threw 73 pitches with 15 being of the swing and miss variety. Eduardo Morlan, Paul Phillips, and Matt Gorgen slammed the door with four more scoreless innings striking out four while not allowing any walks. The erratic Gorgen was on tonight throwing 12 of 15 strikes including four whiffs. First baseman Matt Fields connected on his second home run of the season, while catcher Jose Lobaton went 3-4 with a double.
A+ Charlotte Stone Crabs
It was Southpaws on Parade for Charlotte as Matt Moore made his second start of the young season. Moore allowed two runs on three hits and three walks in five innings of work. The reigning minor league strikeout king struck out seven. Fellow lefties Neil Schenk and Josh Satow each pitched a pair of scoreless innings. Schenk struck out two, and Satow four giving the left-handed triumvirate 13 total on the day. Satow now has pitched four innings and struck out seven while allowing one hit and and pair of walks. Satow was profiled last year. Catcher Jake Jefferies was 2 for 4 with a double, while Matt Sweeney added a single and a walk. It was announced Cuban signing Leslie Anderson would be joining the Crabs when he leaves extended Spring Training.
A Bowling Green Hot Rods
Jason McEachern imploded in the fifth inning of his start as he finished with four innings pitched allowing five runs on a walk and eight hits including two dingers. He did manage to strikeout five before his exit. Third baseman Kyle Spraker put together a 3 for 4 effort.