FORT MYERS – Just playing on back-to-back days was significant for Rays 3B Matt Duffy.
Playing well has made the start of spring training even better.
"Really liked the way Duffy has continued to play," manager Kevin Cash said after a 4-3 loss to Boston on Saturday. "He looks like he didn't miss any time."
Duffy, of course, missed lots of time – all of 2017 due to complications with a lingering left foot injury.
Starting exhibitions on back-to-back days might seem a little aggressive, but Duffy said it's part of his plan to be ready for what he hopes will be his first full season since 2015.
"I'd like to get things kind of ramped up earlier than later, and not look up with a week left in spring and realize we didn't pick things up quick enough," he said. "I'd rather be able to play nine innings earlier than be scrambling at the end of spring."
Duffy sees two benefits: getting as many reps as he can now in the field and at the plate to get back in the routine of playing regularly, such as making adjustments; and getting the chance to rest at the end of spring before starting the 162-game grind.
Rough start for Faria
Sophomore RHP Jake Faria didn't get out of the first inning, throwing 30 pitches in allowing three runs on four hits and a walk. Faria said he felt great warming up, but going from the bullpen to the bench to the game mound was disruptive. "First time having to do that this year and just couldn't really find a groove," he said. Also, he said he was "flying open" in his delivery and didn't adjust quickly enough.
CF Mallex Smith dived for a ball in center that bounced off the side of his head, but he was okay. … INF/OF Micah Johnson impressed, looking smooth in center and rapping two doubles, the second with two outs in the ninth. … Though LHP Ryan Yarbrough also had a rough outing with two walks and a wild pitch, LHP Jose Alvarado and RHP Jose Mujica earned Cash's praise.
Quote of the day
"I was texting with him this morning when I was driving. I know I'm not supposed to do that, but I was checking in on him."
Cash, on traded 3B Evan Longoria, noting he seems happy with the Giants.
* OF Corey Dickerson told SiriusXM's MLB Network Radio he was, and still is, quite stung over being DFA'd by the Rays before being traded to the Pirates: "I was confused, embarrassed a little bit. … I was a little bit angry, disrespected. … There's a lot of emotions going on. … I don't think I'll ever let this go. As long as I play the game, I'll always remember it."
* RHP Brent Honeywell heads out Sunday to see Dr. James Andrews for another opinion on his torn elbow ligament, saying he hasn't decided yet which doctor will do his Tommy John surgery.
* RHP Daniel Hudson, acquired Thursday from Pittsburgh, made it to Port Charlotte, saying he was excited to join the Rays for "kind of a fresh start" and felt his 2017 struggles resulted from getting "out of whack" with strike-throwing.
* Cash said LHP Anthony Banda, acquired from Arizona, "looked awesome" in throwing his first live BP and is working on adding a breaking ball. "Just from 25 pitches it was exciting to watch."