3 takeaways from Rays' 5-4 walkoff loss to Pirates
3 takeaways from Rays 5-4 loss Pirates
* INF Daniel Robertson has a real chance to make the team. With Matt DUffy out and Tim Beckham sliding into the starting SS job, Robertson could make the team as a utility infielder given the need for a right-handed bat. After a slow start, and the maturity to scrap changes he made during the winter to his stance by adding a leg kick, Robertson has looked better at the plate and in the field. Depending on if the Rays add a right-handed hitting outfielder, Robertson could be competing with Michael McKenry or Nick Franklin for a roster spot. "I'm happy to be out there playing, having fun, feeling relaxed,' he said. "I'm really free of mind right not, letting the game come to me.''
* RHP Alex Cobb is going to have some up and down moments. Cobb's return from May 2015 Tommy John surgery has been as much or more about getting his complicated mechanics right than the health of his elbow, and that's what has led to the inconsistencies in his performance. That was evident Tuesday, as he got better and more comfortable as the game went, showing improved command of his fastball, and getting his usual groundball outs on his changeups. The first time through the order he got no ground outs, the second time he got five. He was working on his curveball, specifically, to start at-bats.
* The bullpen is going to be a work in progress. With RHP Brad Boxberger injured, RHP Shawn Tolleson working his way back from back issues and RHP Jumbo Diaz still making his way to camp from the WBC, the Rays have plenty of reasons to be concerned about a bullpen that needed improvement to begin with. But with the healthy return of RHP Alex Colome from the WBC and a strong showing from non-roster veteran RHP Tommy Hunter, manager Kevin Cash said there are reasons to be encouraged, specifically the work of less-heralded candidates such as Chase Whitley, Austin Pruitt, Justin Marks, Jaime Schultz, Diego Moreno and Andrew Kittredge. "I think where we are right now we're probably a lot more optimistic about some of the candidates, the way they've showed up this spring,'' Cash said. "When you come in you don't have a really good sense of those guys. You see them throw their 10 innings-12 innings and they've thrown the ball really well.''