We are just 2.5 days from the Rays opener (some MLB teams play already on Thursday, we have to wait). I still can’t believe this will really happen so I am trying not to think about this too much — although my 2020 Opening Day T-Shirt (originally purchased as my 2019 Post Season T-Shirt) is laid out on my dresser in preparation.
OK, maybe I’ll let myself get a little bit psyched:
Last night, Foxsports broadcast the Rays intrasquad scrimmage, featuring the guys in dark blue (with Blake Snell on the mound) and the guys in light blue (Tyler Glasnow started for them). It was a chance to preview the fake crowd news (Brian Anderson: “You can hear the crowd getting into it!”).
Both starting pitchers seemed a little sloppy, and Snell shared his frustration after the game:
#Rays Snell: "I feel like I'm in the third week of spring training, I'm not 100 percent" in terms of being ready to pitch 5-6 innings.— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) July 21, 2020
Young catcher Ronaldo Hernandez went deep:
And it was raining Shanes:
Update on summer camp activities, including an appearance by catching prospect Ronaldo Hernandez, from Marc Topkin.
And while we are all worrying about COVID-19 we can forget that pitchers’ UCL’s haven’t stopped getting damaged. The Rays will be down one valuable bullpen arm, as Colin Poche has been diagnosed with a UCL tear and will undergo Tommy John Surgery. Kevan Smith (catcher) has taken his roster spot.
How do you manage a pitching staff for a 60 game season? Michael Baumann talks to some pitching coaches.
His colleague Ben Lindberg is also thinking about the shortened season and how we can get some great small sample size statistical lines.
Old friend alert, or, Andrew Friedman likes to sign ex-Rays. The Dodgers have signed Jake McGee, the former Rays reliever recently cut by the Colorado Rockies.
Another old friend alert: Todd Kalas announced that his has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss the start of the season. Thankfully he says he is asymptomatic and feels fine.
Good luck to Josh Tolentino. He has been the Athletic beat reporter for the Rays since the start of the 2019 season, but he’s leaving us for South Florida and for football (covering the Miami Dolphins). No word yet on whether the Athletic will hire a replacement to cover Tampa Bay baseball. And since we don’t currently have an Athletic beat writer, I invite you to read Yankee’s beat writer Lindey Adler’s overview of what she expects it will be like covering 2020 baseball ($).
Alyssa Nakken became the first woman to join a major league coaching staff this winter; on Monday she made her on-field debut, coaching first base.
It hadn’t occurred to me that you’d have a ceremonial first pitch for an opening day in an empty stadium, but apparently the World Champion Nationals have found a person to honor who will be good about wearing a mask and washing his hands. Dr. Fauci is a huge Nationals fan.