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The Rays Talk: Maddon Talking 'Bout Practice

Joe Maddon does his best Allen Iverson. Rays beat the Yankees 5-4 as Zobrist, Jennings and Joyce all go yard.

You got something to say to me about practice?
You got something to say to me about practice?

Joe Maddon is known for his laid-back management style, which includes canceling batting practice sometimes during the season, especially during American Legion week. So what does Maddon have to say to his haters?

The Rays defeated the Yankees 5-4 yesterday, thanks in part to three homeruns: a Ben Zobrist longball, a Desmond Jennings 3-run shot, and a Matt Joyce solo. Cesar Ramos began his 'campaign' for the fifth starter, going 2.2 innings, allowing four hits and two earned runs, while striking out a pair. For some video highlights, head on over to Ian's recap of the game.

Vince Belnome, the Durham Bulls 2013 MVP, has been making quite the impression on Joe Maddon with his quality at-bats in the first couple of spring training games. Maddon told, "I didn't know he hit the ball as hard as he did...the ball comes off his bat pretty well. I'm really focusing on the opposite gap. When a guy can do that, he's a pretty good hitter."

Belnome also got a laugh on Twitter yesterday from one of 620 WDAE's tweets about a supposed mishap from yesterday's game.

Another player with visa issues has arrived in camp, which leaves only Juan Carlos Oviedo.


- Marc Topkin joined Buster Olney's podcast yesterday if you'd like to give that a listen. Jump forward to 31:20 for Marc's portion, which starts with Price talk and dives into the rotation.

- Beyond the Box Score: Moran investigates the injury risk of throwing Splitters | Estimating the number of runs saved by infield shifts (Leaders: A's and Rays, are you surprised?)

- Amazin' Avenue talked with Paul DePodesta about player development.

- Eno Sarris writes about the mystery of pitcher projections for Sports on Earth.

- Everybody loves to talk about a pitcher's velocity, so David Temple of FanGraphs examined the correlation of change in velocity with strikeout rate, homerun/fly ball rate and groundball rate to name a few.

- Durham Bulls reporter Adam Sobsey reviewed Dirk Hayhurst's "Bigger Than The Game".

- Player News: Manny Machado has been cleared for lateral fielding work as he continues to progress in his recovery from knee surgery. | Rick Ankiel is retiring | Ken Griffey Jr., the king of one-word answers. | Bryce Harper now has pythons for arms. | Gordon Beckham bought Paul Konerko a birthday cake with a novel written on it in icing.

- Now that Mariano Rivera has retired, what is the most dominant pitch in baseball aside from his cutter? According to Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs, it's Kenley Jansen's cutter.

- Finally, Fangraphs now features Inside Edge fielding data, which divides performance into categories of ease, and shows the percentage of plays made and the total in parentheses. The information starts in 2012, and will be updated nightly. Examples: DeJesus | Jennings | Myers | Zobrist | Joyce | Rodriguez