We now know that not only will B.J. Upton miss the start of the season, but Kyle Farnsworth will as well. The cause of Farnsworth's elbow soreness is not known, but let's hope it isn't something that requires surgery as is the case for Red Sox closer Andrew Bailey. It was learned yesterday that Bailey tore the thumb end of his UCL in a collision with Pirates outfielder Alex Presley on a play at first base in which Bailey landed awkwardly on his thumb.
Suddenly, the fact the Rays did not trade a starting pitcher this off-season looks good because the presence of Wade Davis in the bullpen eases concerns as the bullpen certainly has much more experience this year than at this time last year. Joe Maddon was quite reticent in labeling Farnsworth as the closer last season despite his usage patterns with him but now he has the opportunity to play the matchup game with the bag of tools in the bullpen.
Joel Peralta is extremely effective against lefties while J.P. Howell was very good against righties before coming back from injury last season? If the Rays are in need of a double play, they can always roll the dice with Fernando Rodney who has the late inning experience and the extreme groundball rates or even look to Burke Badenhop or Josh Lueke. Peralta could even end up with every save chance in Farnsworth's absence but there is no need to press the panic button just yet.
- Tommy Rancel offers his insights on the late inning relief options in Farnsworth's absence.
- Steve Wiseman of The Herald Sun looks at the wealth of pitching the Durham Bulls will have to start the season while Rays Prospects looks at the entire Bulls roster
- Steve Webb of The Lakeland Ledger notes that The Fielding Bible has graded the Rays as baseball's best defensive team. This is old news around these parts, but it is encouraging to see the mainstream media recognizing the fine work John Dewan and company do.
- The Futures Game is today at 1:40 as the boys return to Tropicana Field. Gates open at 12:10 and first pitch is at 1:40. Jeff Niemann will throw for the Rays while Matt Moore will pitch for the Future Rays along with J.P. Howell and Wade Davis.
- The matchups for this weekend are set: Shieds vs Sabathia, Price vs Kuroda, Hellickson vs Hughes.
- The Play Index at Baseball Reference is free for everyone through April 15th. Go play with it and have fun as it is an invaluable tool to all of those who write here.
- Maybe, just maybe, the media will not focus on the Rays turnstile woes this season. Why? The New York Mets can't give tickets away right now.
- Here is your chance to be a six-year old and tattle on tobacco-using major leaguers. They are no longer allowed to have the infamous dip can ring in their back pocket, or use products during games, after games in the presence of media, or at any fan event. If you catch someone doing that, now you can report them. Looking forward to the first report of Evan Longoria smoking a Rawlings at the plate.
- If you like odd baseball trivia and stories that focus on the unpredictability of baseball, bookmark this site. If you are on Twitter, add a column with #ycpb to it as many writers will tag news bits with that during the evening.
- Baseball Prospectus has added a new writer who is an expert on pitching mechanics. His debut piece: Raising Aces - Pitchology 101. His five beliefs at the bottom of the column are very interesting, particularly his points on throwing with a slide step and release points.
- Deadspin is starting a new series called "Better Know An Umpire," with Phil Cuzzi as their first subject. This looks promising.
- Rays Digest released their top 50 prospect list (free read)
- One can learn a lot hanging out at the Pink Pony in Scottsdale (scroll down to the part about Gerardo Parra)