The final day of the Rays' 14 day Spring Training camp is upon us, which will conclude with The Rays Charity Golf Tournament, taking place at the Ritz Carlton Members Golf Club in Bradenton.
All members of the 40-man roster will be in attendance, as well as participating non-roster invitees to camp. Proceeds for the tournament benefit the Rays Baseball Foundation.
The Rays begin their Spring Training games tomorrow at 1:05, facing Chris Tillman and the Orioles. The Rays starter is now slated as Erik Bedard, followed by Cesar Ramos, Heath Bell, Brandon Gomes, Josh Lueke, Jake Odorizzi, Nate Karns, C.J. Riefenhauser, and Kirby Yates in relief.
If Erik Bedard were to win the fifth starter's role (which at this point seems likely for at least the month of April), then he would be properly slotted in the rotation. David Price is scheduled to start on Saturday, which aligns him with Opening Day, followed by Alex Cobb on Sunday.
March 7 will be the first Rays game televised, and will also be the first Rays game to feature instant replay, one of six in the trial run heading into the full season. Rays Radio's first broadcast will occur March 1.
Ben Zobrist joined workouts two days ago after lower back soreness caused a delay, and took his first BP yesterday. Joe Maddon shared his thoughts on Zorilla's progress:
"All I'm really worried about is that he is getting well. We've thought that from the beginning, that it wasn't anything serious. That he's able to get out here validates that. I haven't spoken with him yet, but went through a normal day over there. ... We're going to try to backload it [getting enough at-bats], and it's very doable, even if he misses the first couple games. He always can get at-bats during a minor league game, throw him over there for maybe 5, 6 7 at-bats on a particular day ... so he can get his at-bats and get off the field. So again, I'm really not concerned about any of that stuff right now."
After workouts, Zobrist discussed his health status:
"I got to go out there, get stretched, do some conditioning, running. I took about 50-55 ground balls to each side, and was able to go all directions. I was able to hit on the field. All those things are exciting for me to finally get to be in on and go outside and do stuff with the other guys. I look forward to being able to ramp it up the next couple days as we get into games here."
- MLB and MTV2 announced a new television series premiering in April called "Off the Bat from the MLB Fan Cave" -- or presumably, "Off the Bat" for short -- and Wil Myers has been named a producer for at least one episode, along side Robinson Cano, Adam Jones, Craig Kimbrel, and Jose Fernandez. The show's executive producer is David Ortiz.
- Brandon Gomes has added a cutter to work against lefties, which he learned from Jamey Wright last season.
- In warm ups for the charity tournament, Curt Casali golfed his first hole in one! You can watch Luke Maile's cellphone video of his humble discovery here, as well as the disappointment of Wil Myers and Mike Montgomery.
- Josh Reddick scaled the outfield wall to rob Mike Morse twice yesterday. TWICE!
- Meanwhile, Jose Bautista took Fausto out of the park in the first home run of Spring Training | The Angels signed Mike Trout to a $1M contract for 2014, shrewdly avoiding luxury tax penalties should a long term deal be reached in the near future. | Hank the Dog, the adorable Brewers rescue pup, raced the Sausages and it was adorable.
- A lawsuit has been filed by minor league players who claim they were paid below minimum wage. Branch Rickey called, he says you never signed that contract.
- Hardball Times: Bradley Woodrum examined the present and future state of pitch-framing research. It's everything you'd need to know, and as any pitch-framing article should, it has a focus on Jose Molina. (Editor's Note: consider this article required reading.)
- Fangraphs: Mike Podhorzer looks into the batted ball distance surgers, the second largest of which was Yunel Escobar! | Jeff Sullivan compared last year's WAR to the projections for next season (if that doesn't sound equal in your mind, you're on the right track), and looked at the largest standard deviations from projection to performance last season. | Carson Cistulli exposes the Fangraphs projection bias against the Rays. | UPDATE: Scott Spratt says the Rays bullpen is the best in baseball.
- Beyond the Box Score: Chris Moran questions LD%
- "We can outspend you!" Teams keep threatening to move to Phoenix for Spring Training, but Florida's Gov. Scott is prepared to put tax payer money on the table.
- Finally, Rangers team photos were taken... in the bathroom?
Quotes via Rays Communications department.