For starters, Rays at Pirates
UPDATE, 4:05: Game over. Rays win, 8-5.
UPDATE, 3:44: The Pirates loaded the bases against James Houser in the eighth and Andy Phillps just crushed a three-run double to make it 8-5. Houser got out of it, Rays lead going to the 9th.
UPDATE, 3:32: Just got back from the clubhouse, where Carlos Pena said he felt as good as he looked in his first action of the spring: "It was great, I felt really good, I was just happy to be playing, to be participating, hanging out with the guys. ... I saw the ball well, felt pretty decent at the plate, so it was overall a good day.''
UPDATE, 2:59: Reserves are in on both sides, and the Rays lead 8-2 in the top of the sixth.
UPDATE, 2:27: Andrew McCutchen homered off Dale Thayer to open the home fifth, ending the Rays' shutout bid.
UPDATE, 2:34: Carlos Hernandez didn't make it through four innings, as he left after allowing a double with two outs in the fourth, the fifth hit he gave up on the afternoon. Hernandez's line - 3 2/3 innings, 5 hits, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, one wild pitch. Dale Thayer replaced him.
UPDATE, 2:24: Dioner Navarro doubled off the wall to score Gabe Gross making it 7-0 in the fourth, and Shawn Riggans followed with a single up the middle to increase the Rays' lead to 8-0.
UPDATE, 1:51: Rays score another on a Gabe Gross single and lead 6-0 after 1 1/2 innings.
UPDATE, 1:43: Continuing to disprove the importance of spring training, Pena just doubled in two more runs in his second at-bat, a blooper to left with the bases loaded. Rays lead 5-0.
UPDATE, 1:34: Elliot Johnson just led off the second with a home run, making it 3-0 Rays. Carlos Hernandez got through the first inning without allowing any runs, but did give up a couple hits.
UPDATE, 1:14: Action-packed first inning as Dioner Navarro singled just over shortstop Jack Wilson, and Pena slid across the plate head-first. Rays lead 2-0.
UPDATE, 1:11: In in his first swing of the spring, Carlos Pena doubles off the top of the leftfield wall. So much for the need for preparation. Justin Ruggiano, who was hit by a pitch and moved up on a passed ball, scored on the double. Before Pena hit, Evan Longoria had a blast to dead center knocked down by the wind.
UPDATE, 11:40: A pretty quiet morning, as manager Joe Maddon said he plans for Carlos Pena to get two at-bats today in his first spring action, and for James Shields likely to work two innings in his debut on Saturday. Otherwise, some of the more interesting chatter was how much Maddon enjoyed the Elton John/Billy Joel concert on Thursday night in Tampa.
Did catch up with ex-Ray Eric Hinske, who said there were never any substantive talks about bringing him back, as the Rays made it clear to both him and Cliff Floyd they wanted to add a right-handed hitter.
Asked if he thought his presence, and Floyd's, would be missed in the clubhouse, Hinske said: "You'd like to think so. I felt like we had definitely a big part in what went on there last year so you hope you feel missed, for sure. But they're a group of young, talented guys that have a lot of good years ahead of them, so I don't think it's going to affect their play at all on the field. But the clubhouse, we were always pretty good in the clubhouse, so ... ''
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It's a beautiful morning at quaint McKechnie Field, and here are the posted lineups. Two things of note - Rays 1B Carlos Pena is set to make his spring debut coming off Jan. 8 surgery to repair two tears in his lower abdominal muscle, and the teams are using the DH, so extra at-bats for Shawn Riggans. Also, ex-Ray Eric Hinske is not in the Pirates lineup: