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Rockies Interested in Jason Hammel Rays Won't Skip Fifth Starter's Turn; Pirates Interested In Niemann

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Edit: Fanhouse is saying the Rockies are now showing interest in Jason Hammel. This makes no sense whatsoever, considering Hammel's fastball has the tendency to become bleacher treat, but alright, whatever.

While we've speculated on many names for the fifth starter spot, most of us have assumed the Rays, like other teams, wouldn't have much use for a fifth starter in April because of scheduled off days. However, Skipper Joe Maddon says that is not the case and the Rays rotation will pitched as scheduled regardless of off days.

"We don't like to skip guys, even though it's early on," Maddon said. "We like to play all five guys if we can. And that way as the year progresses, you take advantage of that off-day and use all five. We don't like to just skip all five. So [the fifth starter will] pitch right from his first start." --MLB.com

This changes the complexion of the situation a little bit. Most of us figured that by the time David Price made his return the fifth starter would've made around 5-7 starts, but if Maddon is shooting it straight here then there is a chance the fifth starter could see 9-10 starts before that happens.

As for the candidates themselves, we still have no word on who it will be. Maddon has expressed that he would like his roster settled by Wednesday when camp breaks. Reports surfaced earlier today about the San Diego Padres being involved in trade talks for Jeff Niemann. The Times reports that the Padres have also asked about Jason Hammel. I have also heard from some sources close to the Pittsburgh Pirates that there is interest in Niemann from Pittsburgh's side, but in any case a deal was not imminent.

Other News

As for today's game, Matt Garza looked good in six innings of work. He gave up three runs on eight hits and walk. He struck out five batters. Lance Cormier continues to make a strong case for a roster spot with another scoreless inning of work. Troy Percival worked another perfect inning for the Rays.

Matt Joyce says we will have a better idea on who's making the team tomorrow when plans for the exhibition games in Philadelphia are announced.

"I think (Tuesday) we'll all know more where we stand and who is making the trip to Philadelphia (for a pair of exhibition games prior to the season-opener)," Joyce said. "Whether you're at Triple-A or in the big leagues, you've got to work your butt off to get up here and stay here."--Naples News