Rays vs Yanks - The Rematch
Update 4:45 pm RHP Gary Glover closed it down in the ninth, and the Rays win 7-6
Update 4:27 pm OF Jon Weber came through with a two-out, RBI base hit in the bottom of the eighth, which put the Rays up 7-6. Weber, whom the Rays are considering for their fifth outfielder spot, kept improving his case, delivering a head first slide into second.
Rays 7, Yankees 6
Update 4:21 pm Apologize for the late updates - we've been going from clubhouse-to-clubhouse to get reaction and insight on the melee that ensued in the second inning (check a post on the Heater for more).
But after falling behind 6-4 in the eighth, the Rays are battling back with several replacements from minor league camp. Merrill hit a homer earlier in the game. The Rays just tied it at 6-6 in the bottom of the eighth.
Joel Guzman is up with the lead run on third with 1 out.
Rays 6, Yankees 6
Update 2:04 pm Lost in the shuffle of the game's early sparks was the performance by Rays RHP Andy Sonnanstine. Sonnanstine, making his first start of the spring, threw three scoreless innings before getting replaced by RHP Scott Dohmann in the fourth.
Dohmann has himself in a bit of a jam with runners on first and second with nobody out.
Rays 2, Yankees 0
Update 1:55 pm Everything has settled down (for now) after the benches cleared in the second inning. Yankees' Shelley Duncan went in hard trying to stretch a single into a double, sliding spike-high into Rays 2B Akinori Iwamura. The dugouts emptied, with Rays RF Jonny Gomes racing from the outfield to try to tackle Duncan.
Duncan had made veiled threats earlier this week that the Yankees would turn up the intensity following Saturday's much-publicized home plate collision by Rays INF Elliot Johnson.
Duncan, Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long, third base coach Bobby Meacham were all ejected. So was Gomes.
The benches cleared but there was more posturing than anything else, with many trying to keep order.
The Rays are up 2-0 after two and a half innings.
Update 1:26 pm Let the fireworks begin. Yankees LHP Heath Phillips got thrown out of the game in the bottom of the first after he hit Rays touted prospect Evan Longoria.
Phillips, starting for the scratched Andy Pettitte, was quickly tossed, drawing Yankees manager Joe Girardi out to argue his case.
Girardi, of course, made headlines over the weekend when he labeled Rays INF Elliot Johnson's home-plate collision with C Francisco Cervelli on Saturday "uncalled for" considering it was a spring training game. Rays manager Joe Maddon said his team is going to play the same way March 8 as they will June 8.
That loaded the bases but DeFelice struck out to end the inning
Rays 2, Yankees 0
Update 1:21 pm The Rays got a quick jump on the Yankees in the first. With LHP Andy Pettitte scratched for today's scheduled start, Heath Phillips came in and got into some early trouble. Aki led off with an infield single, and eventually moved to third on a Crawford double.
Floyd knocked in a run with a fielder's choice. Gomes hit in another with an RBI single
Rays 2, Yankees 0
Update 1:05 pm RHP Andy Sonnanstine, making his first spring start, will get to face some of the Yankee regulars (Cano, Abreu, Posada, Matsui).
Jason Bartlett just made a heck of a play at shortstop, racing up the middle to corral a bouncer by Cabrera over the second base bag. As he got there, he twisted around and zipped a throw over to Pena to get the out.
Bartlett has been impressive defensively this spring, combining with Aki for a solid- middle infield combo.
Sonnanstine gets a 1-2-3 first.
Rays 0, Yankees 0
Update 11:55 am Scary moment during Yankees batting practice. Stump Merrill was taken to a local hospital after getting struck in the face with a throw from the outfield. Merrill, who has spent over 30 yeras in the Yankees organization, was near the lip of the infield grass (behind the protective screen), when a ball thrown from the outfield hit him just above the lips.
Merrill was on the field for several minutes, as a large crowd of Yankees gathered around him, and Rays players stood near the top of their dugout to see what happened. When Merrill was taken off the field, he was given an ovation.
Yankees officials say Merrill is doing fine, just taken to the hospital for precautionary measures.
Update 10:55 am A few pre-game news and updates
*LHP Scott Kazmir is scheduled to throw live batting practice Thursday at around 8 a.m.; if all goes well, he could make his spring debut Sunday against the Tigers.
*The Rays are undergoing a shortage of shortstops, with INF Andy Cannizaro likely out until Sunday after undergoing treatment for inflammation in his back, manager Joe Maddon said. Cannizaro missed three months of last season with the Yankees organization due to a similar type situation.
"There was an inflammation involved, so the doctors have some sort of IV anti-inflammatory thing going on right now in order to expedite him getting back on the field," Maddon said. "I guess he just doesn't tolerate anti-inflammatories well because of his stomach, so they had to go a different route with it."
As a result, INF Elliot Johnson has been taking some grounders at shortstop, and Maddon said Johnson could get a look there to see how he can fit in for fill-in duty.
When Rays manager Joe Maddon said his club would play March 8 like it were June 8, he wasn't kidding. Taking a look at Wednesday's lineup against the Yankees, there are plenty of Rays regulars in there, especially the top six in the order.
They won't be getting the Yankees top crew - other than starting pitcher Andy Pettitte. Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon are all not making the trip.
Some things to look for; RHP Andy Sonnanstine makes his first spring start, hoping to work his way into one of the final two spots in the Rays rotation.
And veteran catcher Mike DiFelice will make his first spring start. The original Ray is battling for the backup catcher spot with Shawn Riggans.
-- JOE SMITH