March 7, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays center fielder B.J. Upton (2) prior to the game against the New York Yankees during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
The Rays played two games yesterday, at home against Detroit and away at the Twins, losing the former and winning the latter. The offense didn't fare well in either, managing to score a total of two runs and racking up seven hits between the two games. There isn't much to say for the offense to this point. Guys aren't hitting. Luke Scott and Evan Longoria haven't played yet while it was only Carls Pena's second time in action. As long as guys are healthy, and the pitchers show their effectiveness all is well by me.
Speaking of effectiveness, Jeremy Hellickson really shouldn't come out of the bullpen. Ever. He was terrible out of the pen in his few 2010 appearances and maintained that level of performance today by allowing three earned runs in his two innings work after relieving Fernando Rodney. Another pitcher who fared poorly in that game was the left-handed Cesar Ramos who allowed three runs and two walks in one inning of work. There are roughly nine or ten pitchers fighting it out for the six or seven bullpen spots. Southpaws J.P. Howell and Jake McGee seem like locks to make it, which would likely leave Ramos out in the cold. We know spring stats don't have a ton of meaning, but when you're margin for error is razor thin before you even throw a pitch, a total bomb of an outing doesn't bode well for you.
On the injury front, David Price left his start after just two innings due to minor neck spasms caused by...toweling himself off too roughly between innings. He should be fine a few days but needs to pick up a few pointers in the ancient art of toweling. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Luke Scott's shoulder feels fine, though he admits he needs to make some mechanical adjustments to get his swing in game shape. Also according to the Times, Sam Fuld's wrist feels good and Longoria took hacks against balls flipped by coaches. Progress. Slow and steady progress.
- Fangraphs continued their Positional Power Rankings series, covering Right Field, Left Field and DH. The Rays came in 12th, 9th and 7th respectively. I disagree with Jack Moore's right field ranking. He lists Matt Joyce, Sam Fuld and Brandon Guyer as players who will get reps at the position this season, yet Ben Zobrist is nowhere to be found. I'm willing to bet he gets more at bats in right field than Guyer.
- ESPN.com's David Schoenfield takes a look at Johnny Damon's potential suitors and doesn't come away with a positive outcome for the ex-Ray.
- At Baseballnation.com, Jon Bois takes a humorous look at the best, worst and weirdest spring training hitters of the past 10 years. Sean Rodriguez's 2010 spring is mentioned among the best.