Spring Training is nearly upon us, officially speaking, and there will be several story lines to watch as April approaches.
Of biggest interest to me will be how things shape up with the addition of top middle infield free agent Asdrubal Cabrera, but there's plenty to follow.
What story line will you find most compelling this Spring?
Vote down below, then on to the links.
- 'Inside the Rays' returns tonight on Sun Sports for an Off-season Special. Features include the Alex Cobb hosted Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame Dinner and an interview between Dewayne Staats and Kevin Cash. It runs tonight at 6:30. Fox Sports has a few extra clips from the dinner on their site that I would have embedded if it didn't autoplay. It has some thoughts from host Alex Cobb, inductee Tim Raines, and other former players.
- Per Marc Topkin, Drew Smyly worked out a unique throwing schedule with Jim Hickey for the start of Spring Training:
"I feel more comfortable getting my work in in bullpen sessions than just jumping into games," he said. "I'm on schedule. We're all doing the same thing. I'm just kind of upping my pitches in the 'pen sessions working on my pitches, and then I'll jump into games later on."
- Desmond Jennings reported to camp lighter than last season, apparently intent on running more and offering the line up flexibility.
- Juan Francisco believes the Rays offer him the best opportunity for playing time, given his ability to play the infield corners or DH, and his comfort level with the AL East.
- Jeff Beliveau is excited for the coming season, and you can read his thoughts here. Get to know him now, you might see him in high leverage come April.
- Longoria has a list of goals for 2015:
- Kevin Jepsen discusses his transition to baseball in Florida:
- New Toronto outfielder Michael Saunders, acquired for J.A. Happ this off-season and expected to play a big role in the Blue Jays outfield, has torn his meniscus and will miss the first half of 2015.
- In response to New York fanbase criticism for not signing Yoan Moncada, owner Hal Steinbrenner says it's just not his style to spend money on youth... which... I guess we already knew.
- David Ortiz had lots of expletives regarding the enforcement of batters keeping one foot in the box next season, claiming he'll gladly take a $500 fine per occurance.
- Former Devil Rays prospect Josh Hamilton is facing unique disciplinary action from the Commissioner's office after confessing to a drug of abuse. Here's to hoping the next stage of his recovery from a long road of substance abuse can make him well.
- Yunel Escobar is committing to play second base for the Nationals next season, which apparently took a meeting with management. When you're blocked by the great Ian Desmond, not sure he would have had a chance to compete for short either way.
- The Hardball Times looks at the longest playoff droughts for active pitchers.
- Finally, newly promoted bench coach Tom Foley and RHP Kevin Jepsen are guests for tonight's Countdown to Opening Day on Rays Radio from 7-8 p.m. on WDAE-AM 620.
- Tweets of note:
"@1Way_2: how has he looked so far? Knee looking ok?" >>> Hak-Ju Lee has looked good, team officials impressed with his conditioning— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) February 25, 2015
Angels have only paid Josh Hamilton $34M of his $125M contract. Owe him $25.4M in 2015, $32.4M in 2016, and another $32.4M in 2017.— Drew Silva (@drewsilv) February 25, 2015
Addiction is a disease, but you get penalized for it. Something about that doesn’t add up.— Jesse Spector (@jessespector) February 26, 2015