Live from Port Charlotte: Intrasquad update, Saturday lineup and more
Manny Ramirez and others were wearing this shirt today, designed by some
local guys and available through mannyray.com.
Manager Joe Maddon said he liked a lot of things about the 2 1/2 inning intrasquad game the Rays played Friday morning before heading off to their charity golf tournament.
The House of Davey team, managed by bench coach Dave Martinez, scored a 1-0 win over Charlie's Angels, managed by Triple-A manager Charlie Montoyo.
Pretty much all the big name players were involved, and Maddon was very pleased with how they started. C John Jaso worked a seven-pitch at-bat before singling off Joel Peralta and, after Sean Rodriguez flied out, went first to third on Evan Longoria's single to left. Manny Ramirez then followed with a sac fly for the only official run.
At the end of each half inning, select players worked on bunt plays and pickofs.
Cory Wade, RJ Swindle and Mike Ekstrom each worked an inning, though the pitcher that most caught Maddon's eye was RHP Alex Cobb, a 23-year-old prospect who was 7-5 with an impressive 2.71 ERA at Double-A last year.
Also of note today:
* RHP Jeremy Hellickson is officially schedule to return to the mound on Sunday, having been sidelined since straining his right hamstring on Feb. 17. He likely will need four or five sessions - bullpens and/or batting practices - before getting ready for a game.
* The Rays announced plans to wear St. Petersburg police caps for Saturday's exhibition opener in honor of the three slain officers. There also will be a moment of silence and the stadium flags will be at half-mast.
* Manny Ramirez and several other players were wearing a new Manny Ray t-shirt, that featured Ramirez-style dreadlocks coming off the tail of a ray. The shirts were designed by a group of Tampa Bay area guys, and are now available via mannyray.com. They also will be sold during opening day and at select home games at Ferg's sports bar across from the Trop.
* Maddon said he plans to look at several options, but acknowledged that his Saturday lineup is his starting point, with Jaso at leadoff and Johnny Damon second, and with Longoria third and Ramirez behind him. Also to be decided is where to put Ben Zobrist and B.J. Upton - they are 5th and 6th for Saturday, though Matt Joyce isn't starting so it could look different when he does.
Here is the Saturday lineup posted in the clubhouse today:
D. Johnson 1b