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Tampa Bay News and Links: Charlie Morton looks sharp

Prospect Garrett Whitley takes a foul ball to the head, has been discharged from the hospital

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MLB: Spring Training-Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore Orioles Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Game action

Yesterday’s game, against the Orioles in Sarasota, ended in a 3-3 tie.

Charlie Morton, who I’m guessing is the Rays opening day starter, pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, and had this to say:

Oliver Drake and Pete Fairbanks were among the pitchers who picked up scoreless innings. Ji-Man Choi and Michael Perez hit home runs.

There was one scary moment during the game. A hard hit foul ball came into the Rays dugout and hit Garrett Whitley, a Rays outfield prospect, in the face. It came in so fast that he did not have time to react. Whitley had managed to come back last year after missing a full season to a shoulder injury. In this case the danger is not just lost time on a baseball field, but more serious damage.

Marc Topkin later reported that Whitley did not lose consciousness and was discharged from a Sarasota hospital to his spring training home. He was able to send this message yesterday evening:

We in the Rays community all wish Garrett a speedy recovery.

Today the Rays will meet the Braves at the brand spanking new CoolToday Park, (a name that will seem to have a strong dose of irony when the Braves Hi-A affiliate is playing there in August). About $45 million in public funds went into that stadium (state, county and city), by the way.

More Rays News

Even after trading some very good prospects, Keith Law still ranks the Rays farm system as best in the majors. Lots of strengths, just one obvious weakness. ($)

Baseball America includes Brandon McKay and Yoshi Tsutsugo on its top rookies list. ($)

Get to know Austin Meadows:

Even Red Sox beat reporters are saying nice things about the Rays ($).

It’s fun to get to know players in the Rays system. Brett Sullivan plays a lot of positions; Joe Ryan is learning from the major league pitchers in camp. And Ryan Sherriff has certainly not had an easy life; recovery from Tommy John surgery is only one of many obstacles he’s faced. ($)

Other Baseball News

Buster Olney thinks about that new three-batter rule and its likely impact on the game.

Baseball will be back at the 2020 Summer Olympics! MLB has agreed to allow players who are not active major leaguers to participate. Qualifying rounds are going on now, and Wander Franco is set to play for the Dominican Republic. Among his teammates is Jose Bautista a pitcher?

Blogging on Fangraphs, Jake Mailhot studies the growing number of extended contracts signed by young players very early in their careers. He sees this a driven by several factors, including the uncertainty of Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations; team desire to control costs, paired with player concerns about a volatile free agent market. In the past, the Rays had deals with pre-free agent players like Evan Longoria and James Shields. More recently they have inked extensions with Kevin Kiermaier, Blake Snell, and Brandon Lowe.

I can’t get enough “Mike Trout is even greater than we think” stuff, so let me share a few items.

There’s this nugget:

And then just for fun, this video: