UPDATED: Live from Port Charlotte: It's reporting day
Here's Longoria taking some ground balls as a large group of position players worked out. Photo by Marc Topkin.
UPDATE, 2:36: From Maddon: "I like what we've done. All the gaps were kinda plugged up so I think it's going to be another very good season.''
UPDATE, 2:32: Rays expect all pitchers and catchers for Wednesday's first workout with exception of Juan Sandoval and possibly Dane De La Rosa. Both are expected to be in by Thursday.
UPDATE, 1:17: Exec VP Andrew Friedman and manager Joe Maddon didn't share any major news during a 30-minute Q-and-A session, but there were a few interesting tidbits:
* Though they will look at a number of others, Maddon said Alex Cobb was among those "pretty much esconced" in the rotation, which would set up a battle between Jeff Niemann and Roberto Hernandez (the former Fausto Carmona) for the fifth spot.
* Maddon said Desmond Jennings will hit leadoff and the key to the lineup will be deciding whether Evan Longoria hits 3rd or 4th, and then setting up the others around him to best protect and maximize his production.
* The large camp roster - the 65 is the most they have had since 2003 - is due primarily to having a split-squad exhibition opener, meaning they need bodies ready to go on Feb. 23.
* Friedman said a final decision hasn't been made on Joel Peralta pitching in the WBC, but it certainly sounded like they would agree he wouldn't based on his off-season workload since he also pitched in winter ball. There may be a similar conversation with Fernando Rodney, but Friedman said he geared his off-season to be ready for the WBC.
* Maddon said new SS Yunel Escobar has the potential to be an All-Star and Gold Glover and is "a very bright, heady player.''
* Both spoke to the impact of losing players such as James Shields and B.J. Upton but expressed plenty of confidence in their replacements.
UPDATE, 10:51: In addition to most of the pitchers and catchers, position players working out today included Longoria, James Loney, Brandon Guyer (who says his rehabbed shoulder feels great), Sean Rodriguez.
UPDATE, 10:46: There was a bit of a scare when an ambulance pulled up to the Rays clubhouse this morning causing a stir among the players already on the field. A stadium maintenance worker was experiencing stroke symptons and was taken for treatment.
UPDATE, 10:24: There's a large turnout of players here working out, beyond the pitchers and catchers.
* Evan Longoria is here, saying his left hamstring feels great since the surgery - "like a new man" - and that he expects to be ready to go with a goal of staying off the DL and taking more of a leadership role.
* David Price said he has had to make some adjustments to his off-season workouts based on his busy schedule but has actually thrown more bullpen sessions than last year. He did his interviews off camera as he is fighting a losing battle with allergies today.
* RHP Joel Peralta said he he may not participate in the WBC. He was named to the Dominican Republic roster but said he will talk with Rays exec VP Andrew Friedman and decide what "is best" for him and the team.
DEVELOPING: It's reporting day for Rays pitchers and catchers today, as well as the usual pre-spring media session with executive vice president Andrew Friedman and manager Joe Maddon.
There is no official reporting "activity" but the 42 pitchers and catchers are expected to check in today. Their first workout is Wednesday aty 10 a.m.
A number of position players are here already as well, including 3B Evan Longoria.