For starters, Rays vs. Cardinals
UPDATE: The Rays lose 9-7 to the Cardinals in a game that featured 29 hits and five errors.
Ben Zobrist went 3-for-4 with 2RBI and Pat Burrell had two RBI.
LHP Scott Kazmir struggled in his start, giving up five runs on eight hits, but said he had to labor through his outing due to being sick, making his body feel like "Jell-o." Maddon wasn't overly concerned with Kazmir, saying he settled in after the first couple innings, and though he didn't have the best fastball command, the left-hander caught the gastrointestinal bug going around the clubhouse
RHP Jason Isringhausen had a strong second spring appearance, pitching a scoreless fifth, looking "sharp," as Maddon said.
UPDATE 3:13 p.m. LHP Scott Kazmir said he had to physically labor through Thursday's start, having felt "under the weather" since he caught the gastrointestinal bug making its way around the clubhouse.
Kazmir wasn't overly concerned with the five runs on eight hits (two homers) he gave up in four innings - after all, he doesn't put too much stock in spring training numbers.
It's just while his arm felt "great," his body felt like "jello."
“It just felt like every single pitch I threw, I had to take a step back and catch my breath,” Kazmir said. “Not a good feeling.”
Kazmir said how he felt led him to not throw as many sliders as he wanted, but was happy he got his work in, and threw some good two-seamers.
UPDATE 3:00 RHP Jason Isringhausen looked good in tossing a 1-2-3 inning against the Cardinals, striking out the last batter he faced.
UPDATE, 2:19 Kazmir finished his outing after four innings, giving up five run and eight hits.
RHP Jason Isringhausen has entered the game and will make his second spring appearance against his former team.
UPDATE, 1:57 Kazmir pitched a scoreless third inning, hitting Molina with a pitch but inducing an inning-ending double play.
He's given up four runs on five hits in the outing, and he's coming out for the fourth.
UPDATE, 1:44 The Rays have tagged on two runs in the second inning with RBI hits by Ben Zobrist and Chris Richard.
Cards 4, Rays 2
UPDATE, 1:32: Kazmir has got hit hard again here in the second, with one hit erased by a double play.
But the biggest blast came from Ankiel, who ripped a solo homer over the offices past the rightfield fence.
Cards 4, Rays 0
UPDATE, 1:13: LHP Scott Kazmir's outing got off to a rocky start in the first with Ryan Ludwick hitting a three-run homer before Kazmir got the first out.
Brendan Ryan led off by reaching on a throwing error by SS Reid Brignac (advancing to third when the ball bounced off Chris Richard into rightfield). Rick Ankiel walked before Ludwick's blast - over the leftfield wall.
Kazmir then gave up back-to-back hits on grounders that got past Evan Longoria (one to his left, one to his right). But he got the next two out to end the threat.
Cards 3, Rays 0
Update 12 p.m. The Rays have bought back RHP Eduardo Morlan for $25,000 from the Brewers, who had selected the prospect in the Rule 5 Draft during the Winter Meetings.
Morlan, 22, had gone 5-2 with a 3.64 ERA with Double-A Montgomery last year, but the Rays chose not to protect him on their 40-man roster, which allowed the Brewers to take him.
UPDATE, 8:40: B.J. Upton said he is eager and excited to be the DH in today's minor-league game after a batting practice on Wednesday in which his swing felt right for the first time since his left shoulder surgery. He said his shoulder has felt markedly better recently and his goal is to be in a major-league exhibition by next week.
"This last week has really progressed,'' Upton said. "I came out yesterday and pretty much took the swing that I've been looking to take all sping. So I think that's why we're getting into a game situation today.''
He is still sticking to the same timetable for the regular-season, hoping to be ready for the opener but acknowleding that he may need an extra week or so. "Hopefully sooner, we'll see how the ABs and things go the next couple of weeks,'' he said. "Right now we're going to stay on the same timetable and see where this takes us.''
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The Rays host the Cardinals today before essentially splitting up the next two days with lengthy trips to Dunedin on Friday and Fort Lauderdale on Saturday.
Here is the lineup for today, and Evan Longoria apparently is recovered enough to play. The more interesting story may be on the minor-league fields, as B.J. Upton plays his first game, for Durham.
- Marc Topkin