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B.J. Upton's Shoulder Update, David Price Is Ready To Battle, And Perrotto Chats Rays

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 B.J. Upton felt good after taking swings off a tee and will being soft toss drills. This is much better news than Troy Percival feeling good.

 "It's feeling better," Upton said. "There's no reason to hold it back."

About 20 or so of Upton's teammates arrived in Port Charlotte today including Matt Garza, Andy Sonnanstine and Jason Bartlett.

David Price arrived to camp ready to battle and win the 5th starters spot

“You don’t want them to come out and say you have a spot,” Price said. “You want to come in and you want to earn it. You want to earn the respect of everybody that’s in here, and that’s what it’s about. It’s a competition, it’s a challenge, and that makes it more fun, in my eyes.

 “I’m not coming into camp thinking, ‘OK, I’m going to go Triple-A for a couple months and just work on stuff there.’ Absolutely not. I don’t ever want to play another day in the minor leagues in my life. And I think that’s everybody here. If everybody had the choice of being in the big leagues or in the minor leagues, they’re going with the big leagues.”

Kevin Goldstein on rookies to watch. No surpise with this one

David Price, LHP, Rays
PECOTA Says: 4.20 ERA, 102 1/3 IP, 106 H, 37 BB, 78 K; 13.0 VORP
What PECOTA Doesn't Know: PECOTA doesn't have eyes, so it didn't actually see what everyone saw during October, which was a dominating force coming into his own pitching in the postseason. What it does have is a guy who was very good but not great in the minors. As one scout said, "He basically looked bored in the minors at times, he needed the big-league challenge to really step up and bring it all together." A question remains as to how the Rays will use him in 2009 as he enters the spring as a candidate for both starting and closing roles.
Baseball Official: "I love him and think he'll easily exceed that... He's a candidate for Rookie of the Year... If the changeup comes around he could be special."

John Perrotto is a smart man and apparently likes DRaysBay

Tommy (Draysbay): Does a team need a designated closer? For example a team like the Rays have 3-4 above average RP's but outside of Percival, who is recovering from surgery, they have no closer. Do you see this as a problem?

John Perrotto: No, because Maddon knows how to run a bullpen and they have so many talented arms that a closer will either shake out or they piece it together.

Tommy (Draysbay): With the Rays about to sign Aybar to a 2yr deal(3 w/option), do you think this means he will take over the Rays 2B job in 2010? Iwamura has an option worth between 4-5 million based on incentives

John Perrotto: That would make a lot of sense as would possibly sliding Brignac or Bartlett to the other side of the bag. I'm just not a big Iwamura guy. I think he would better served as a bench guy.

Tommy (Draysbay): I see you mentioned the Ensberg signing above. It's another Andrew Friedman low-risk/high reward potential signing. Did anybody see Carlos Pena coming, Eric Hinske? Ty Wiggington? If it works out great, if not they still need somebody to play 3B in Durham.

John Perrotto: Agreed.

I'm still waiting on the Brian Shouse numbers, but I've been told we will have them today.