Gameday live: Rays vs. Jays
The Rays beat the Jays 5-3 in Port Charlotte.
Right-hander Jeff Niemann threw five strong innings, Jason Bartlett hit two solo homers, and bullpen candidate Dale Thayer tossed two scoreless innings to end the game.
Closer Rafael Soriano made his third spring appearance, giving up a solo homer but striking out two.
Update 3:32 p.m: RHP Dale Thayer, in competition for the final bullpen spot, got into a jam here in the eighth, but worked his way out of it by striking out the final two hitters he faced.
Rays 5, Jays 3 (bottom eighth)
Update 3:27 p.m: It's still 5-3 Rays in the eighth, with all of the regulars out of the game.
Update 3:09 p.m: SS Jason Bartlett hit his second homer of the day, giving the Rays a 5-3 lead heading into the seventh.
Update 2:58 p.m: Soriano settled down after the leadoff homer and retired the next three hitters, two by strikeout. In three spring appearances, Soriano has given up one run and three hits, striking out five and walking one.
Update 2:52 p.m Jays SS Alex Gonzalez greets Soriano by hitting his second pitch over the leftfield wall, cutting the Rays lead to 4-3 here in the sixth.
Update 2:50 p.m: Niemann's outing is over, with the right-hander giving up just two runs (scattering seven hits) over five innings.
Closer Rafael Soriano has relieved him, and will be making his third spring appearance.
Update 2:41 p.m: RHP Jeff Niemann had tossed three straight scoreless innings until the fifth, when Lyle Overbay hit a two-out, RBI double.
Rays 4, Jays 2
Update 2:26 p.m. SS Jason Bartlett added a solo homer in the fourth to make it 3-1.
And 2B Ben Zobrist helped the Rays add on, rippping an extra-base hit off the wall in left, scoring Carl Crawford from first.
Rays 4, Jays 1 (5th inning)
Update 1:54 p.m. The Rays took advantage of another Jays error to score a run in the second. With Sean Rodriguez and Jason Bartlett both on base with singles, Ben Zobrist hit a grounder to Jays 3B Jose Bautista. Bautista juggled it, then his throw to second was wide, going into centerfield, allowing Rodriguez to score.
Rays 2, Jays 1
Update 1:38 p.m. Sean Rodriguez may be making his first spring start at third base, but he's looking pretty comfortable there. In the second inning, Rodriguez charged a slow roller in the grass between third and short, picked it up and threw on the run to get the speedy Joey Gathright.
B.J. Upton also made a nice running catch in left-center, making it look easy.
Rays 1, Jays 1
Update 1:32 p.m. The Rays tied it up in the bottom of the first, with CF B.J. Upton delivering a two-out, RBI single to leftfield.
SS Jason Bartlett had started it off by reaching on an error and stealing second. Evan Longoria also walked.
Rays 1, Jays 1 (2nd inning)
Update 1:18 p.m. RHP Jeff Niemann limited the damage in the first inning; after giving up singles to three of the first four batters he faced, he struck out Chris Lubanski and Alex Gonzalez to futher thwart the threat.
Jays 1, Rays 0
Developing: We're live here in Port Charlotte, where the Rays are hosting the Jays.
The big news earlier was that RHP Wade Davis was named the team's fifth starter, with RHP Andy Sonnanstine getting a spot in the bullpen. Some things to watch in today's game include INF Sean Rodriguez making his spring debut at third base, as he continues to show the Rays his versatility (he had played third in Triple-A Durham last year).
RHP Jeff Niemann will be starting on the mound.