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Rays-Jays at the K



Update 3:24 pm Troy Percival closes out the Rays 10-0 win with a smooth ninth, aided by a nice outfield assist by Jon Weber in center.

The Rays put together an all-around sharp pitching performance, with Hammel throwing the first four, and Miller, Wheeler, Glover, Reyes and Percival doing the rest. Jonny Gomes had a good day, with a solo homer, and Hinske and Johnson played well at third, and short, respectively.

Rays 10, Jays 0

Update 3:10 pm The Rays bullpen has held up well, with Trever Miller, Gary Glover and Dan Wheeler each threw a scoreless inning.

Each team is subbing out their regulars, as this one winds down.

Rays 10, Jays 0 (top eighth)

Update 2:31 pm The top of the fifth finally ends, with the Rays adding one more for a 10-run lead.

Meanwhile, Hammel has been replaced by LHP Trever Miller after four innings of scoreless ball. Hammel will throw some more in the bullpen and get stretched out. 

Rays 10, Jays 0

Update 2:20 pm The inning just getting worse for the Jays ace, Roy Hallday. A two-base error by Overbay (on a Floyd grounder through his legs) made four for this inning. It's like the Bad News Bears going on.

Hinske doubled in Floyd for another run. Then, Gomes hit a single to right-center (scoring Hinske),  before racing into second and advancing to third (on yet another error, this one a bad throw by Jays catcher Rod Barajas that went into centerfield).

For the record: 9 runs, 5 errors, 0 outs.

Halladay was taken out.

Rays 9, Jays 0

Update 2:13 pm The Rays are getting a rally going in the fifth. Jonny Gomes led off with a solo homer over the leftfield wall - the home run was his fourth, tied for the team lead with Pena.

Then after a defensive miscue by the Jays, the Rays loaded the bases when an Elliot Johnson sacrifice bunt toward the pitcher wasn't handled well (the throw went to third, but the Rays beat the throw).

Then, with the bases loaded and nobody out, Crawford, 2b John Tolisano bobbled a grounder, then threw it into the Jays dugout for two errors on the play. Two runs scored, making it 3-0.

Just after that, Pena and Upton added back-to-back doubles, which made it 6-0 Rays. There are still no outs.

Rays 6, Jays 0

Update 2:05 pm Hammel finished the fourth, allowing Frank Thomas to reach second on a double to the right-centerfield wall. But with two outs, Hinske made a nice play at third, making a quick jump in the air to snag a liner by Rod Barajas.

Rays 0, Jays 0

Update 1:39 pm RHP Jason Hammel, named to the rotation Saturday, has thrown two pretty good innings so far (scoreless, two hits). Maddon said pre-game that Hammel will likely throw just three today to give the relievers some work. Percival, Miller and Co. are here to throw.

Rays 0, Jays 0

Update 1:17 pm The Rays interesting left side of the infield - Elliot Johnson (SS) and Eric Hinske (3B) got tested right off the bat.

The Jays first hitter, Shannon Stewart, ripped a single in the hole between short and third. Neither Hinske or Johnson moved very far (they didn't really have a chance). Then, Overbay hit a grounder to Cannizaro at second, which turned into a 4-6-3 double play (finished off by Johnson).

It'll be something to watch how Hinske and Johnson play today defensively. Though you never really put too much stock in one spring training game, if Johnson is indeed getting a serious look at the utility man role, he's gonna have to show he can play shortstop (which he said he's confident he can do).

The Rays are going through their pre-game work in St. Petersburg before their short trip to Dunedin for this afternoon's game with Toronto.

There's two interesting things to watch with today's lineup:

Elliot Johnson gets a start at shortstop as the Rays try to decide if he can handle the position on an emergency basis should something happen to starter Jason Bartlett during the first 5-10 days of the season when utility man Ben Zobrist is sidelined. Johnson is a second baseman, and has gotten some work at third and in centerfield, but shortstop is most important because the Rays don't really have anyone else to put there. If Johnson doesn't leave them thinking he can handle it, they may have to think harder about non-roster inviteed Andy Cannizaro, But first they have to be sure Cannizaro's sore back, which kept him sidelined for close to two weeks (and an extended period of time last year when he was in the Yankees organization), is fully healed; then if it is worth taking someone off the 40-man roster to make room for him when he might only be with the big-league team for those 5-10 days. Cannizaro, on the other hand, can handle shortstop with no problem.

Eric Hinske gets a start at third base. The Rays didn't seem to like what they saw of Hinske at third early in camp, but his strong offensive play and their need for a corner outfielder has made him a much more viable candidate for a roster spot, and if he can also provide backup at first and third, his chances of sticking around are even greater. With another impressive week, he might even play himself into the role that seems set for Joel Guzman - backing up first and third and in the corner outfield spots, pinch-hitting and occasionally DHing. If the Rays keep Hinske - who also would have to be added to the 40-man roster - over Jon Weber or John Rodriguez, they would have to find another way to provide a backup in centerfield, which is where Johnson and Jonny Gomes would come into play, as both have gotten time recently in center.

As for the full lineup:
Johnson, ss
Crawford, lf
Pena, 1b
Upton, cf
Floyd, dh
Hinske, 3b
Gomes, rf
Navarro, c
Cannizaro, 2b
Jason Hammel starts, with a full complement of relievers on the card: Trever Miller, Troy Percival, Al Reyes, Gary Glover and Dan Wheeler.

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:34am]


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