Rays-Braves from Disney
Update 4:26 pm: With the tying run at third, Rays SS Reid Brignac helped turn a game-ending double play
Rays win 11-10
Update 4:13 pm Looks like the Rays patience is getting tested.
It's late in a spring squad game, which means there are a lot of minor leaguers out there. But still, of the last 12 Rays batters, four have been hit by a pitch. Four.
The latest was C Shawn RIggans, who took one seemingly right below his face. He hit the ground, quickly getting back up, but was attended to by Rays coaches and training staff. He walked off fine, likely taking the rest of the afternoon off.
The Rays get the last laugh, with them now taking a 11-10 ninth-inning lead.
Rays 11, Braves 10
Update 4:00 pm Just when you thought the game was going quickly......The Braves have now tied it up on a grand slam by catcher Corky Miller.
Medlock struggled, having control issues as he walked in a run after loading the bases. Pitching coach Jim Hickey came to the mound, likely to tell Medlock to throw strikes.
A few moments later, Miller blasted a Medlock strike over the leftfield wall.
Right now, there's some action in the Rays bullpen. With Hammel, Birkins, and Dohmann all done, the Rays have to dip into their three emergency pitchers brought from minor league camp.
Rays 10, Braves 10
Update 3:46 pm LHP Kurt Birkins' performance lasted less than an inning. With one out and runners on first and second, Birkins was pulled after a trainer and pitching coach Jim Hickey came to the mound to check on him.
Medlock is in to pitch. We'll bring you updates on Birkins status as soon as we get it.
Rays 10, Braves 3
Update 3:35 pm We have (drumroll please!) another play the plate.
The Rays put up some more insurance runs in the eighth, including some small ball (infield RBI single by Riggans and Johnson RBI bunt single).
But some real action came when Riggans was heading for home on a single. When the Braves CF (Hernandez) made a strong throw home, it beat Riggans by several steps but pulled the Braves catcher slightly to the left of the baseline.
Riggans, ever so elusive, maneuevered to the left of the Braves catcher, avoiding a collision but tagging the plate with his right hand. SAFE.
Rays 10, Braves 3
Update 3:06 pm The Braves have started a rally against Rays reliever Scott Dohmann. with SS Martin Prado delivering an RBI double in the seventh. Now, there's runners on second and third with nobody out.
Blanco hit a single in two runs to make it 5-3.
Hammel had a great outing, going head to head with John Smoltz and throwing five scoreless innings, which he admitted was "night-and-day" from his last start (giving up nine runs to the Indians).
Rays 5, Braves 3
Update 2:14 pm Talk about sooooo close. Braves leftfielder Josh Anderson nearly came up with two spectacular catches in the fifth inning.
But both balls bounced off his glove - and led to two more Rays runs.
The first came on a Jon Weber foul ball near the Rays bullpen. Anderson raced full speed, appeared to catch the ball as he flipped over the wall and into the pen. Anderson drew an ovation, but the ball bounced out. Then, after Weber reached base on an error, Carlos Pena hit a Smoltz pitch toward the berm in leftfield. Anderson timed his jump perfectly at the wall, leaped over the fence and watched the ball bounce out of the center of his glove.
As he fell down on his back on the warning track, he slapped his glove in frustration.
Rays 5, Braves 0
Smoltz was pulled after Pena's 2-run blast, going four and two-thirds, giving up four hits and five runs (3 earned), striking out four.
Update 2:08 pm Brignac is having a great game. The Rays shortstop of the future has come through with a two-run dobule in the top of the fifth, scoring both Longoria and John Rodriguez (each of whom walked off Smoltz..
Then, after a Jason Hammel sacrifice bunt, Elliot Johnson added a sacrifice fly to score Brignac from third.
Rays 3, Braves 0
Update 1:33 pm A couple great defensive plays by the Rays in the second. First, SS Reid Brignac charged a slow chopper by Martin Prado, scooped it up and gunned him out at first. Brignac also had an over-the-shoulder catch Friday which drew raves from Manager Joe Maddon, who feels that Brignac is starting to develop that major league type self confidence.
Then, another young guy who has impressed with hustle, 2B Elliot Johnson. Johnson chased a popup from Brent Lillibridge near the tarp by the Braves dugout and caught it to end the inning, tossing the ball behind his back to fans in the stands.
Rays 0, Braves 0
Update 1:20 pm There's a packed house here in Disney for the Rays-Braves split-squad game.
Though the Rays don't have many regulars here (most are at the Yankees split squad game), they get to face some of the Braves best. That includes RHP John Smoltz, a fan favorite in Atlanta (and one of RHP Dan Wheeler's favorites, too)
Smoltz made quick work of the Rays in the first, striking out two.
Rays RHP Jason Hammel got the first two outs, then gave up a walk and single to Mark Teixeira to put a runner in scoring position. Hammel then got Brian McCann to fly out to right to end the threat.
Hammel, one of the candidates for the final two rotation spots, is coming off a rocky start vs Cleveland, when he gave up nine runs.
Rays 0, Braves 0
There isn't nearly the drama surrounding this matchup, though Rays officials do get a chance to talk with the Disney people about the plans for the three regular-season games they'll play there April 22-24.
Otherwise, the highlight could be seeing Rays pitcher Jason Hammel have to bat against Braves ace John Smoltz, who is making his first spring start.
The Rays lineup:
(John) Rodriguez, lf
Also on the trip to pitch are Kurt Birkins, Scott Dohmann and Calvin Medlock.