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Tampa Bay Rays News and Links: There's Actual Baseball Being Played Today!

There's a game being played today, featuring a major league club, and some actual major league players.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

This Date in Team History!

In 1983, Jeff Niemann is born. The tallest pitcher in Rays history was the team's first round pick in 2004. After battling injuries in the minors, he made his major league debut in 2008. When he was healthy, Niemann served as a high quality starter in the back of the Rays rotation, but injuries derailed him and he was out of baseball following the 2012 season. Over his five seasons in the majors, Niemann had a record of 40-26 with a 4.08 ERA and a 4.23 FIP over the course 97 games and 544 innings pitched.

Presenting the best start of his career.

9 IP - 2 H '- 9 K - 1 BB - 0 R- 100 PITCHES


Trivia Time!

The answer to yesterday's question was Paul Hoover, answered by

The long wrong answer was Toby Hall.

Today, I provided to blurbs about the same player, one about his skill set, and the other about his unique story

The Devil Rays spotted him at Fort Scott, Kan., Community College and signed him two years later. But a Tampa Bay official told him to use his student visa rather than wait for a proper work visa, and U.S. immigration authorities caught him. He was banned from entering the United States but has received a special-exemption waiver every year. However, the Immigration and Naturalization Service lost his paperwork before the season, leading to a lengthy delay.

His strong suit is his power, and he draws walks because pitchers often are reluctant to challenge him. He hasn't been able to shorten his big swing, so he'll probably never hit for a high average or make consistent contact. His defense always has lagged behind his offense, though he did improve his game-calling last season. His catch-and-throw skills may never be enough for him to play regularly behind the plate in the majors

Hint; he was never a top ten prospect, but served as an organization soldier from the late 90's to the mid-2000's.


There are 35 days until Opening Day!

That's the same number of runs scored by Luke Scott during 2012

One of those runs scored on his longest home run of the season.


Spring Training Coverage!

- Tim Beckham was back up in live batting practice, this time facing NRI, Dana Eveland. Prior to that, Matt Moore graced the mound against starting roster hopeful, Mikie Mahtook

- Yesterday was a short workout due to the always popular, Fan Fest held at the Trop

- WDAE was on site and were able to speak with Matt Silverman

- Neil Solondz interviewed NRI, Ryan Garton for his 'getting to know' series



- Today marks the beginning of the first spring training games as the Philadelphia Phillies will take on the University of Tampa Spartans in an exhibition game. This game is the pinnacle of meaningless games, however, it will feature a couple of Rays connections as Jeremy Hellickson will get the start and also, Rule 5 selectee, Tyler Goeddel will get some playing time.

- Free agent, Austin Jacksonreportedly rejected a one year deal from the Angels that was valued around $6 million.

- The Seattle Mariners are finally coming around to the idea of pitch framing as they intend to increase emphasis on the beloved skill this spring.

- The Texas Rangers have reached out to Ian Desmondthe last player with a qualifying offer to have not signed, on whether or not he'd be open to playing left field.

- The Astros bolstered their bullpen by adding veteran pitcher, Neal Cotts on a minor league deal.

- The Diamondbacks have added some depth up the middle as they've signed former Milwaukee uber-prospect, Rickie Weeks to a minor league deal.

- Abraham Almonte was in line to be the Indians starting center fielder, however, he tested positive for PEDs so he'll be suspended for 80 games.

- Garrett Cole is set to become the ace of the Pirates staff if he isn't already, however, the organization actually threatened to drop him back to league minimum salary if he didn't agree to their terms.