Rays lose to Indians; lose Zobrist for four weeks
B.J. Upton, right, is congratulated by Cliff Floyd, 15, after Upton's two run homer in the third. [James Borchuck, Times]
Update: 6:01 pm The Rays lose, 12-10, but the reason we're posing so late is we've got plenty of news.
Check our updated post, but SS Ben Zobrist is out four weeks with a hairline fracture in his left thumb. That means that he won't break camp for opening day (leaving room for Andy Cannizaro). (More on that in later post).
Also, for the roster moves. C John Jaso, OF Fernando Perez and LHP James Houser have been option to minor leagues (with assignment to come later). RHP Wade Davis, LHP Jake McGee and C Matt Spring have been reassigned to minor league camp.
Update: 3:08 pm Don't call it a comeback. The Rays are now down 12-10 after getting one across in the seventh.
They now open the eighth with prospect RHP Wade Davis on the mound.
Update: 3:08 pm The Rays are putting together a rally of their own. An Eric Hinkse RBI double, followed up by a Jon Weber RBI single helped cut the Indians lead to 11-7. With two out, Perez is up with runners on first and second.
Perez singled to load the bases, before John Jason ripped a two-run single to rightfield.
All of a sudden, its' 11-9
Update: 2:56 The game is rolling along, with the Rays still down 11-5 in the top of the sixth. Trever Miller is on the mound for the Rays
Update: 2:31 The Indians almost reached double-digits in their fourth-inning rally, racking up nine runs (including five doubles). LHP James Houser came in with runners on first and second (relieving Hammel), but after getting a flyout, he gave up back to back doubles. The first was a bouncer to the right of Longoria. Longoria tried to backhand it, but the ball got through, allowing two runs to score.
Longoria has looked good overall this spring, but there have been a couple defensive plays in his last two games (a sharp ARod grounder on Saturday and then this one) that he couldn't come up with.
Indians 11, Rays 5
Update: 2:23 After Hafner's RBI single prolonging a 30-plus minute Indians rally, Hammel got the hook from Joe Maddon. His unofficial line: seven runs, nine hits (and LHP James Houser is inheriting his runners on first and second with one out).
Hammel's struggles came one day after RH Edwin Jackson gave up six runs in Sunday's second inning; with the two competing for those two final coveted rotation spots, they can ill afford to have more outings like that.
Update: 2:04 The Indians are sure hitting the gaps on Hammel. The Tribe put together another rally when Hammel started the fourth. Former Ray Jason Tyner hit a two-run double, and then Gutierrez hit a double down the leftfield line to knock him in and tie the game at 5.
Michaels came up next and drilled a double over Upton's head and off the centerfield wall, giving the Indians the lead.
Indians 6, Rays 5
Update: 1:59 B.J. Upton gave the Rays a bigger cushion in the third, belting a two-run homer over the wall in left center (probably at least 410 feet). That scored Carlos Pena (who had doubled), to give the Rays a 5-2 lead.
Update: 1:53 Hammel made quick work of the Indians in the second, but got into a bit of a jam in the third before getting out of it.
So far, he's gone three innings, giving up those two first-inning runs and scattering three hits.
Rays 3, Indians 2 (bottom third)
Update: 1:25 pm The Rays answered back in their half of the first, loading the bases with two walks and a hit for B J Upton. Upton hit a sacrifice fly to pull within 2-1. Then, Cliff Floyd drilled a two-run double to the right center gap to give the Rays a 3-2 lead.
Rays 3, Indians 2
Update: 1:08 p.m. RHP Jason Hammel is making his second start, and got into a little trouble early. Michaels delivered a one-out double to the leftfield corner.
Hammel, one of several Rays competing for the last two rotation spots, then walked Peralta before giving up an RBI double to Travis Hafner, who drilled Hammel's pitch off the centerfield wall.
Indians 1, Rays 0
Update: 9:55 a.m. Manager Joe Maddon said Monday morning there's a chance LHP Scott Kazmir will make his first exhibition apperance before Saturday's target date. Kazmir's rehab of his left elbow strain has gone well, with a scheduled bullpen session today.
If things continue to progress, Maddon wouldn't rule him being ready to go in a few days; the Rays host the Blue Jays on Friday before going on a split-squad game Saturday (at New York and at Atlanta in Disney).
In other injury news, there is no update on RF Rocco Baldelli, other than that he won't be playing today against the Indians or tommorrow in Fort Myers against the Twins.
There's finally something on wayward RHP Juan Salas, who has been stuck all spring in the Dominican Republic due visa issues. The Rays said he isn't expected this week, but possibly next week. Maddon quipped that his absence is "impacting his chances" of making the club. (Understatement of the spring).
The start of the Rays lineup for Monday's exhibition will look a lot like their regular-season lineup, at least through the top five spots. What the Rays do at third base, and in rightfield if Rocco Baldelli is unavailable, will be decided over the next couple weeks. Plus cuts are coming in the next few days:
Jason Hammel will be on the mound to start; other pitchers listed to pitch include: Jake McGee, Trever Miller, James Houser, Grant Balfour, Al Reyes, Wade Davis and Calvin Medlock.
As a result of the regulars-heavy lineup on Monday, the Rays are sending a thin crew to Fort Myers on Tuesday. Which means Carl Crawford won't be going to renew acquaintances with ex-Ray Delmon Young, the second time they have "conveniently" missed each other this spring. Also not going are Iwamura, Bartlett, Upton, Floyd and Pena. Those going include Longoria and Dioner Navarro.
Ex-Ray Jason Tyner is on the trip for the Indians, as is slugger Travis Hafner.
Paul Byrd is starting, top reliever Rafael Bentancourt is among the relievers scheduled for work.
-- JOE SMITH