Pitchers and Catchers reported on Friday, with 33 of 35 hurlers in attendance. Major league reliever Jean Carlos Oviedo and minor league reliever Juan Sandoval are both having visa issues on their return from the Dominican Republic.
LH Matt Moore, RH Chris Archer, RH Joel Peralta and RH Brad Boxberger were the first bullpen sessions for the Rays on Sunday, and scheduled for Monday are LH David Price, LH Jake McGee, RH Alex Cobb, RH Jake Odorizzi, RH Grant Balfour, RH Heath Bell, and new acquisitions RH Nathan Karns and LH Erik Bedard.
Matt Moore shared his feelings on the new season after his sesson:
"It went great. I threw about 30-35 pitches. It was nice to see Molina back there again and having a familiar target. It was definitely a good Day 1 for us. I have two pretty big things I'm focusing on. One is my walk rate, trying to keep guys off base that didn't necessarily earn it. The other is, I'd like to absorb more of those innings that have to be pitched by our starting rotation. I'd like to be averaging 7 or 8 innings, that's got to be my mindset heading out there each night. ... focusing on whatever it's gotta take in those first few innings to have my pitch count where it's got to be for me to be out there in those late innings."
More on Moore from the skipper:
Seven catchers were in attendance: major leaguers Ryan Hanigan and Jose Molina, joined by former Padres prospects Ali Solis and Eddy Rodriguez on minor league deals, and prospects Curt Casali, Luke Maile, and Mayo Acosta.
Joe Maddon, a former catcher, shared his thoughts on this year's crop on Sunday:
"When I was watching what I was watching today, the message was validated regarding the accountability and professionalism of our group. They don't need me lording over them, they don't need all kinds of stuff to be thinking about other than their jobs and how they go about their jobs. They're great, they're really accountable, professional people. They work well, they take care of themselves, they're interested and engaged. What else can I possibly ask for?"
More from Maddon:
Maddon's leadership is crucial to the Rays success, and David Price spoke candidly about the presence of Maddon over the weekend:
"It's a great situation here. Everybody enjoys being a part of this organization. We have a lot of fun. Joe doesn't have any rules for us; he just expects us to come out there and play hard, and I think he gets the most out of his players when he does that. It's kind of what you dreamed of when you were a little kid, playing major league baseball."
Also in camp on Sunday, 16 of 24 position players arrived early, including Rookie of the Year Wil Myers, whose flight had been cancelled out of North Carloina. He rented a Kia and made the 10 hour drive to be in camp on time.
Maddon shared some thoughts on Myers's coming sophomore season:
"Obviously he's going to have to make some adjustments... The hope is that he stays process-oriented, that he understands that.
Of course, I want him to be the instinctive, just-go-out-there-and-play baseball player that he is -- which I love about him -- but also be aware and cognizant of what other people may be trying to do...
When you're the Rookie of the Year, I think the sophomore jinx primarily is defined by some people who probably don't work as hard as they used to or don't adjust."
More from Myers:
- From Topkin's Rays Rumblings:
There's word of another unique Maddon giveaway and a Wil Myers figurine - though wouldn't a hairbrush be more fun?
As we mentioned last month, Topkin includes notes on the campaign to fly Rays fan Randi Oomens (@Raynaadi), a blind Rays fan from Arizona, to the Trop on a VIP trip. She is $534 from her goal! You can donate here.
- A starter for a team rival has opted to not play in 2014, as Ryan Dempster informed Boston yesterday morning. The 36-year old cited family reasons, as well as physical ailment. "I'm not gonna go out there and put my team at a disadvantage," Dempster told reporters. "I'm at peace with my decision." He forgoes nearly $14M in salary, which may allow Boston to spend even more.
- Elsewhere in the division, someone passed a physical for the Orioles! (Yoon know who)
- MLB Daily Dish discussed baseball's aging audience.
- Hits off the ground? Hits off the ground!
- The Hardball Times' Blake Murphy surveyed infield defense, and the steady number of infield plays despite a decrease of balls in play.
- Finally, for all the social media updates from the first weekend in camp, you can read the roundup here.