Live from Port Charlotte, Day 9
UPDATE, 1:11: As part of their effort to get off to a better start in April, the Rays will play their frontline position players more this spring, giving them an additional 10-15 at-bats for a total in the 60-70 range. It's also the product of research by new hitting coach Derek Shelton showing that some of the players had better seasons after more spring at-bats. Pitchers will have a standard workload, though more than last spring when they were held back until the second week of March.
Maddon said they got most of their scheduled work in Saturday despite the rain by using the covered mounds and batting cages, and will double up on some fundamental drills on Sunday.
UPDATE, 11:11: That's pretty much it for the day here, as the pitchers threw their bullpen sessions from the mounds that are in the covered batting cages, and the hitters took their swings there.
UPDATE, 10:20: It's the first rain delay of the season, as the Rays just came in off the fields, and also the first cancellation, as the Rays have just announced the planned post-practice ice cream social has been called off due to the inclement weather.
DEVELOPING: It's cold again this morning in Port Charlotte, and it's supposed to be wet too, as the Rays head out for another full-squad workout. The first bit of news of the day is further clarification of the rotation for the first week of exhibitions.
James Shields will start the March 3 opener at Sarasota and work one inning then will be followed by Matt Garza. And Andy Sonnanstine will get to start the March 6 game against the Red Sox, with Wade Davis following him. Though Davis is considered the frontrunner for the fifth spot in the rotation, Sonnanstine is being given an opportunity to compete, and that will start on the 6th.
"I'm ecstatic about getting the shot,'' Sonnanstine said. "It's a good problem to have a lot of options for the rotation. It's going to be stiff competition. Wade's been great - I'm a big fan, I like the way he pitches. But I'm going to go out there and do my best.
"I would hope the commitment this off-season for me, from the workout aspect, helped out that situation. It couldn't have hurt me. I put the time in. I feel like I'm in a good situation.''