Even considering the fact that spring training games mean next to nothing, there weren't many positives to take away from yesterday's game against the Orioles. The Rays got held to three hits and three walks, and while they didn't have the strongest lineup, the best pitcher they faced was probably Brad Bergesen. Sigh, oh well. At least the Rays pitchers performed well; Davis, Torres, Ramos, and Bush all had scoreless outings.
Niemann starts today, so hopefully the Big Nyquil can put together a solid outing himself. Theoretically, Maddon won't and shouldn't be basing his decisions on who gets the final spot in the Rays' rotation off spring training results, but considering Davis seems loathe to go to the 'pen, it'd probably be easier to convince him to go if he stunk this spring or Niemann out-performed him. If Niemann somehow does worse, I wonder how Maddon spins that.
As for injury updates, Evan Longoria is still a few days away from getting in a game. His hand isn't quite ready for him to swing a bat yet. Luke Scott apparently felt a bit of soreness in his shoulder the other day, but it doesn't sound serious.
- Want a job with the Rays? They're currently looking for a "Ray Tank Host/Educator". That's not exactly like working in Baseball Ops, but hey, those cownose rays are pretty fun.
- The USF Bulls are on the cusp of their first NCAA bid in 20 years, and the Rays showed their local neighbors some love yesterday during batting practice. I can't think of another market where the sports teams are so openly supportive of one another.
- Rob Neyer took a look at Jeremy Hellickson's BABIP yesterday. It's nothing we haven't touched upon here, but it's a good overall take on Helly.
- FanGraphs started to roll out their 2012 season previews yesterday, and instead of doing them on a team-by-team basis, they're divvying the previews up by position. Yesterday they hit on catcher, and surprise surprise, the Rays came in 27th. That seems fair, considering the amount of uncertainty about the Rays' backstop for 2012, although my one qualm is that Eric Seidman neglected to mention the value Molina provides through his defense. But eh, minor quibbles.
- Paul Swydan started a four-part series on MLB's social media savvy (or lack thereof) yesterday, and it's extra intriguing because Chris is employed by MLBAM. Baseball lags behind the other majors sports when it comes to social media, and Chris doesn't shy away from that fact.