The Rays Tank: Rained out and Rodney returns

US PRESSWIRE

With a tentative Opening Day lineup scheduled, the Rays got rained out in Fort Myers, while Rodney rejoins the team today amidst a few concerns.

The Rays traveled down to Fort Myers yesterday afternoon for a night game against the Twins, but thunderstorms unfortunately caused the game to be cancelled.

The lineup was set to be the following: Jennings CF, Joyce LF, Longoria 3B, Zobrist RF, Scott DH, Escobar SS, Loney 1B, Lobaton C, Johnson 2B, Moore P; an Opening Day expected batting order, with the only changes being Molina at catcher and Price as pitcher. Via Marc Topkin's tweets, Joe Maddon said that the only additional difference may be a swap of Joyce and Zobrist.

Today the team takes on the Blue Jays in Port Charlotte at 1:05 p.m. ET, with Roberto Hernandez starting in his scheduled spot and Matt Moore pitching on a back-field due to yesterday's rain out. The lineup is expected to be the same as what was anticipated Wednesday.

***

Fernando Rodney returns to the Rays today, after appearing in all eight of the Dominican Republic's games in the WBC and being named to the 2013 MetLife All-World Baseball Classic Team.

Maddon showed some concern about Rodney's workload in the WBC, saying that he will get the next five to six days off, and as previously mentioned, that the concern is about "emotional fatigue as much as physical." In a standard spring training Rodney would have pitched in seven to eight games; so with his eight closes for the Dominican Republican, three appearances with the Rays prior to the WBC and 11 innings in winter ball, he's already gotten in quite an amount of work this spring.

The Rays will be monitoring his workload entering the season as well, as Maddon expressed:

"So, do we keep more of an eye on him or do you just parcel out his work a little bit more in the beginning? I don't know," Maddon said. "Does it really benefit him during the course of the year somehow? Does it get us off to a better start? I don't know. But I think long range, by the end of the season, you almost have to count these appearances to the total number, so you have to really watch August and September."

Something else to note with Rodney, is whether he was tipping his pitches in the WBC.

ESPN analyst Mark Mulder tweeted the following during the championship game:

Anybody else able to call every pitch Rodney throws as soon as u see how high he brings his hands at top of delivery.

The Process Report provided some photos comparing Rodney's 2012 Opening Day stance versus his in the WBC, noting his differences in delivery on fastballs and changeups. Whether hitters actually noticed, or if this is routine, is hard to tell, but it's worth observing going into the season.

Links:

- Jonah Keri sat down with Coco Crisp to watch a series of videos and discuss his baserunning technique, and Crisp provided some really great insight into his process. The reviewed video clips are given as well, an added bonus with the commentary.

- On Fangraphs, Eno Sarris took a look at Joey Votto's success, and chatted with Votto about the time he takes studying his craft to enhance and understand his game.

- The Rays edition of 30 Clubs in 30 Days debuts today during MLB Tonight on the MLB Network.

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