Spring game report: Rays vs. Marlins
Update 4:17 The Rays finished off a 11-2 win over the Marlins at Charlotte Sports Park.
Maddon said the offense had one of it's better days overall, excited about what the 2-3-4 hitters (Johnny Damon, Evan Longoria and Manny Ramirez) did.
Maddon said RHP Jeremy Hellickson didn't have his usual stuff because he had a flap of skin on one of his finger, impacting the way he threw. It'll be fixed quickly, and not a problem, so he'll be good for his next start. He still finished his pitch count (39), but apparently was feeling under the weather, and wasn't available to speak to the media afterwards.
Maddon liked the way all the bullpen arms threw, with Kyle Farnsworth, Juan Cruz and Joel Peralta.
Update 3:49 The bullpen continued its strong relief work today, with RHP Joel Peralta and Andy Sonnanstine helping the Rays carry a 10-2 lead into the bottom of the eighth.
Update 3:24 LHP David Price said he was honored to get the nod to start Opening Day, appreciating the opportunity; "It's pretty big. It's my first one under my belt, so hopefully I’ll get a couple more."
Price said RHP James Shields was the first to congratulate him, and he likes the rotation as a whole, saying he'd stack this group up with anybody's.
Update 2:45 p.m RHP Juan Cruz, a bullpen candidate, has another strong performance, a 1-2-3 inning in the fifth.
Update 2:37 p.m Kyle Farnsworth comes in and has an impressive 1-2-3 fourth inning, bouncing back from his rough outing last time out (giving up three runs).
Manny Ramirez is done for the day, having racked up a two-run homer, RBI single and walk in four innings. Evan Longoria is done too, replaced by Felipe Lopez.
RHP Juan Cruz, another bullpen candidate, is on the mound now.
Rays 8, Marlins 1 (fifth inning)
Update 2:12 p.m RHP Adam Russell gets in a jam in the third inning, thanks to two singles, but LF Johnny Damon makes a nice running catch near the warning track to thwart the threat.
Update 2:00 p.m 3B Evan Longoria rips a two-run double to the leftfield wall, making it 6-1. Then Manny Ramirez knocks him in with a single, giving him three RBI today.
Rays 7, Marlins 1 (second inning)
Update 1:50 p.m CF B.J. Upton, who reached on an error, continued to wreak havoc on the basepaths. Though he got picked off first base, an errant throw by the first baseman put Upton on third.
Upton scored when SS Reid Brignac beat out a double play. Brignac eventually advanced to third on a Ben Zobrist hit and scored on a Johnny Damon infield single.
Rays 4, Marlins 1
Update 1:36 p.m RHP Jeremy Hellickson is done for the day, having pitched 1 2/3 innings. He wasn't as sharp as his first outing, giving up one run (on a solo homer) and two walks. He reached his pitch count, having thrown 39 (22 for strikes).
RHP Adam Russell is in the game now.
Update 1:27 p.m Manny Ramirez just ripped a two-run homer over the left-center wall, scoring Johnny Damon (who had doubled) to give the Rays a 2-1 lead. It was Ramirez's second homer of the spring, and he pointed to the dugout as he rounded first base, getting a rise out of teammates.
Rays 2, Marlins 1
Update 1:24 p.m RHP Jeremy Hellickson, making his second spring appearance, had a rough start, giving up a solo homer to the leadoff hitter, Wise. But he settled down, including striking out Hanley Ramirez, to get out of the inning.
Update 10:47 a.m. Maddon said he wasn't ready to officially announce the rotation, but will in an hour or so, after he speaks with some of the guys first.
But he said the rotation is a big reason for the team's optimism this season, how unusual it is to have five starters you really like, as well as all homegrown guys from their system.
*Maddon said he was totally fine with the catwalk rules at the Trop reverting back to their old ways (prior to the change for last year's playoffs). "IT made sense to me," Maddon said. "Apparently, (the umpires) have all their different jobs to do when a ball is hit and the last is to look up at a ceiling. With that thought in mind, for them to properly do their job, they like to play the way it is.
"The umpires like it best this way and I think their logic is pretty sound."
*Maddon said he didn't have any firm information on claiming LHP Cesar Cabral again, two days after the Jays claimed him from the Rays, but said he wants to talk with him, worried that the young lefthander is confused about his situation. "He's got to be a little bit confused," Maddon said.
Cabral, acquired in the Rule 5 draft from the Red Sox, still must be on the roster for the full season, or he'll have to be returned to Boston.
Update 10:40 a.m. Here's the Marlins lineup, which includes star shortstop Hanley Ramirez
Update 8:49 a.m. Manager Joe Maddon is expected to officially name his Opening Day starter - ahem, LHP David Price - today, as well as the order of rotation.
And RHP James Shields, who started the last three openers for the Rays, said Price would deserve the honor.
"He was second in Cy Young, best lefty in the league, Warren Spahn Award, figured he earned it," Shields said. "I want to be No. 1, there's no doubt, everybody does. But (Price) earned it, just like I earned it, when I got it. Im happy for him. This guy had an unbelievable year last year. He’s one of the best pitchers in the game."
Developing: The Rays return following their only offday of the spring and will host the Marlins at Charlotte Sports Park.
As expected, 3B Evan Longoria is back in the lineup after being scratched from Sunday's game due to dehydration/cramps. Most of the regulars will play today, with Ben Zobrist at leadoff, Johnny Damon in left and Manny Ramirez at DH.
RHP Jeremy Hellickson will make his second spring appearance, starting the game and likely throwing 2-3 innings. Most of the key members of the bullpen, including RHP Kyle Farnsworth and RHP Joel Peralta, will pitch, too.
For the Marlins, ex-Ray LHP Randy Choate, is scheduled to pitch today in relief against his former team.
D. Johnson 1b