Today was the first day of spring training for the Tampa Bay Rays, and as such, there are plenty of "news" blurbs and updates being tossed around the Twittersphere. Baseball is back, and with it, we have the return of pointless questions and evasive answers! Yes!
That said, since Andrew Friedman and Joe Maddon are giving their first press conference of the year, there has been some actual worthwhile information tossed around so far today. I'll include the highlights below, but if you're interested in seeing all the updates, check out The Heater blog and follow Marc Topkin and Roger Mooney on Twitter.
Joel Peralta might not pitch in the WBC. He's going to discuss the matter with Friedman and make a decision based on that. It sounds like the Rays might be concerned about his workload, which makes sense considering he pitched 67 innings each of the last two seasons, and he's in his late 30s.
Evan Longoria's hamstring feels great. After having off-season surgery to (hopefully) correct his persistent hamstring issues, Longoria doesn't know when he'll see action in his first Spring Training game, but he expects to be ready to start the season on time. In addition to this:
#Rays Friedman said team will be a little more proactive in giving Longoria days off to save his legs— RMooneyTBO (@RMooneyTBO) February 12, 2013
Whatever it takes to keep Longo healthy is fine by me.
Alex Cobb is all but set for a rotation spot. This doesn't come as surprising news, but it is encouraging to hear that Cobb is a virtual lock to start the season in the #4 spot in the rotation. This means the competition for the final spot mostly comes down to Jeff Niemann, Chris Archer, or Roberto Hernandez.
#Rays Maddon says Cobb is among those "pretty much ensconced " in rotation along with Price, Hellickson and Moore— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) February 12, 2013
Desmond Jennings will hit lead-off. At his best, Jennings is the perfect choice for lead-off with the Rays current roster construction: fast, good contact ability, knows how to take a walk. His offense was a little down last year from what was hoped, so hopefully he'll continue to improve in his second full season.
#Rays Maddon says Jennings will hit leadoff, hasn't decided on Longoria 3 or 4 and sorting out rest of order— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) February 12, 2013
And in random other Tweets...
PECOTA projects Ben Zobrist to have more 2013 WARP than Jose Bautista, Josh Hamilton, Matt Holliday, and Adrian Beltre. 17th among non-Ps.— Sky Kalkman (@Sky_Kalkman) February 12, 2013
Also from Sky: here's a list of all the AL team platoon advantage ratios for last season. The Rays came in around the middle of the pack with 58%. That seems very un-Rays-like to me (63% in 2011 and 2010), and I wonder if all the injuries last season had something to do with it. With an improved depth chart, hopefully the Rays can improve that percentage this year.