Spring game report: Rays at Yankees (3-2 loss)
UPDATE, 10:01: Rays end up losing 3-2.
UPDATE, 8:53: Mike Ekstrom comes in to face Nick Swisher with the tying run on first and two outs in the seventh and gives up a two-run homer on a 3-and-0 pitch; Yankees take a 3-2 lead.
UPDATE, 8:34: Many of the starters are out of the game, as the Rays still lead 2-1 going to the seventh.
UPDATE, 8:01: Rays still lead 2-1 going to the fifth.
UPDATE, 7:38: John Jaso puts the Rays back ahead with a homer to right off Phil Hughes, then Damon gets another single but is throw out trying to steal.
UPDATE, 7:29: A-Rod ties the score with a blast to center to open the Yankees second, the third straight game he has homered.
UPDATE, 7:16: Rays take a 1-0 lead as Longoria's single down the leftfield line sends Damon to third, and Ramirez delivers a sac fly to the right side to score the run.
UPDATE, 7:10: The main pre-game news, which is in a separate blog entry, is that Wade Davis has been named the No. 3 starter and Jeff Niemann 4th, and that the Rays plan to use Jeremy Hellickson in the fifth game even though they could skip him since they have a day off. ... Also, that they had good reviews after a quick workout on the new AstroTurf at the Trop. ... Johnny Damon got a nice cheer from the Steinbrenner Field before his first at-bat, which ended up an infield single.
UPDATE, 4:15: Yankees lineup:
UPDATE, 4:04: There is also word from Port Charlotte on the minor league game, with LHP David Price throwing 88 pitches over five innings in a minor-league game against Baltimore, allowing 3 runs on 7 hits and a walk, striking out two. He went to the bullpen after and threw a few more pitches. C Kelly Shoppach was 1-for-2 with an RBI double, and Sean Rodriguez, getting some work at third base, was 1-for-2 with a double, and also walked and stole a base.
UPDATE, 4:00: The Rays are arriving in Tampa, some after a quick stop for a workout at the Trop to check out the new AstroTurf. There has been some shuffling of the pitching rotation after Wade Davis was scratched on Wednesday. Under the new setup, Davis will start Saturday against the Twins in Fort Myers, Jeff Niemann moves back to Sunday against the O's in Port Charlotte and Jedremy Hellickson on Monday against the Yankees in Port Charlotte.
UPDATE, 11:40: Just heard from our friends at the Boston Globe that LF Carl Crawford is on the travel roster to make the trip to Port Charlotte for Friday night's game vs. Rays.
DEVELOPING: There are a few Rays going through workouts this morning in Port Charlotte, and three - David Price, Sean Rodriguez and Kelly Shoppach playing in minor-league games - but most of the squad will be in Tampa tonight for the St. Patrick's Day game against the Yankees.
The Rays lineup, as posted in the clubhouse, will look like this, and could very well be their regular lineup against righthanded starters:
D. Johnson 1b
RHP Chris Bootcheck, a non-roster candidate for a bullpen job, will be on the mound, however, as the Rays prefer to not have their starters face AL East teams in the spring. Price will pitch for Triple-A Durham today and James Shields will work a minor-league game rather than face the Red Sox on Friday.
RHP Wade Davis, who was scratched from his Wednesday start due to the flu, said he was feeling better and hoped to pitch on Saturday, in the regular game against the Twins. RHP Jeremy Hellickson said he remained on track to return to the mound Sunday against Baltimore.