Spring game report, Rays at Pirates
UPDATE, 4:30: Rays lose to Pirates, 10-3.
UPDATE, 4:26: Yes, this game is still going on. It's 10-2 Pirates going - mercifully - to the ninth. The Rays have had to make three mid-inning pitching changes, which they don't usually do during spring games, Jonah Bayliss, Brian Baker and Richard De Los Santos.
UPDATE, 3:09: Just got back from the clubhouse, where James Shields said he was relatively pleased with his performance - and not too concerned about the home run he gave up. 1B Casey Kotchman had two singles, along with the defensive play of the day as he ranged far to his right and leaped for a ball, then fired to first where LHP Alex Torres completed the play. The Rays have lost the lead, however, as the Pirates scored two in the fourth off Chris Bootcheck (in part when CF Desmond Jennings appeared to lose a ball in the sun) and two in the fifth on doubles by Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez off Jonah Bayliss.
UPDATE, 2:33: Rays lead 2-1 in the 4th. Alex Torres worked two innings and Chris Bootcheck now on.
UPDATE, 2:03: It took an hour to play the first two innings here in Bradenton, with the Rays leading 2-1. They scored in the second when Felipe Lopez reached on a single, went to second when Casey Kotchman slapped a single through the left side, to third on a passed ball and, after a walk loaded the bases, scored on Ray Olmedo's ground out.
UPDATE, 1:28: RHP James Shields allowed a two-out homer to Andrew McCutchen during his inning of work. Overall, Shields threw 19 pitches, allowing the one hit, with 12 strikes.
UPDATE, 1:17: Rays start with another well-executed inning, scoring without a hit in the first inning - Desmond Jennings walked and easily stole second, went to third on a rightside grounder by Sam Fuld and scored on another by Kelly Shoppach.
UPDATE, 12:47: RHP Jeremy Hellickson returned to the mound and threw a 32-pitch bullpen session with no issues from the strained right hamstring that had sidelined him since Feb. 17. He's expected to throw another bullpen session on Tuesday, then probably a couple of batting practices and could make his exhibition debut by the end of next week. ... RHP Juan Cruz, the veteran reliever in camp on a non-roster deal and coming off shoulder surgery, has looked good in bullpen sessions and could appear in his first game by the end of this week. ... RHP Jeff Niemann will start Monday's game against the Pirates and Andy Sonnanstine on Tuesday.
UPDATE, 10:20: Pirates lineup:
UPDATE, 10:05: RHP Jeff Niemann will start Monday's game vs. the Pirates in Port Charlotte, and RHP Andy Sonnanstine (in the slot ticketed for RHP Jeremy Hellickson) will start Tuesday against the Orioles in Sarasota.
DEVELOPING: The Rays are headed to Bradenton this morning, though a good number of their big name players won't be on the trip. Among those who are are starter James "Big Game" Shields, OF Matt Joyce, C Kelly Shoppach, OF Desmond Jennings, 1B Casey Kotchman.
Here is the starting lineup posted in the clubhouse this morning, with the Rays having permisison from the Pirates to use the DH.
One change to the pitching plan, with Mike Ekstrom now on the travel roster in place of Brandon Gomes, who was summoned to get the final out of Saturday's game.