The Rays had their final off day of Spring Training on Monday, with David Price again pitching a minor league game to stay on schedule for Opening Day.
Weather conditions deteriorated quickly into Price's start, as he threw only 37 pitches, giving up one run, one hit and three walks in a messy solo inning before pulling himself from the game. He was visibly frustrated with the rain, saying that he was "absolutely" concerned about injury, as the conditions of the field were "absolutely terrible" and that continuing to pitch was "stupid."
Price vented his complaints to Marc Topkin:
"I'm soaking wet, my cleats weigh 20 pounds ... we wouldn't have started (a major-league game) in those conditions, and it's rough," Price said. "Everyone wants to get their work in, obviously, in the countdown to opening day, and you want to be ready for it, but today wasn't the right way to do it."
After leaving the field Price ventured to the indoor batting cage and threw an additional 34 pitches, commenting that he "continued to walk people (there) as well" but got enough work in to stay on track.
Today the team travels up to Lakeland to take on the Tigers at 1:05 p.m. ET. Ben Zobrist is scheduled to start at shortstop, with Luke Scott in rightfield and Chris Gimenez playing first.
Joe Maddon has expressed some concern over his two players remaining in the WBC: the lack of work for Jose Molina, and the frequency that Fernando Rodney has been used. As the backup catcher, Molina has only seen three at bats for Puerto Rico, while Rodney worked a 1-2-3 9th on Monday evening to lead the Dominican Republic to a 4-1 victory over the Netherlands; marking his sixth save of the WBC thus far.
Maddon will be wary about pushing Molina too hard upon his return to the team, while his concern with Rodney seemed to be more about energy than effort:
"You're pitching at such a high level, the way the Dominicans are dealing with this it's almost like a playoff situation, so there's a lot of amperage going on there," Maddon said. "We'll see how this all plays out. ... There's going to be some kind of 'woof' after this whole thing's over."
Molina and Rodney meet again tonight, as Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic face off at 8:00 p.m. ET in the championship game of the WBC. Wonder if Rodney's "rally plantain" will make another appearance...
- The Rays shouldn't have to make too many decisions roster-wise over the next two weeks, but Marc Topkin took a look at the questions remaining; highlighting the final rotation spot, backup catcher and an extra outfielder.
- In hopes to make everyone in the Tampa Bay area feel like family at the Trop, and encourage more people to come to the field, the team has embraced a "Welcome Home" slogan and ad campaign for the 2013 season. Matt Silverman noted that if half of the 1.5 million fans in attendance from last year added just one more game to their schedule, home attendance would jump from 1.5 million to over 1.85 million, allowing the Rays to give up their worst-in-baseball attendance award.