Rays lose to Orioles 6-3
The Rays lost to the Orioles 6-3 in the home-side of their split squad games Friday at Charlotte Sports Park.
Righthander Jeff Niemann, vying for the final spot in the rotation, had a so-so start, allowing a spring-high five runs on 10 hits over six innings, but said the line wasn't reflective of how well he felt - and threw.
With the radar gun on the stadium scoreboard not on, it was hard to get a read on Niemann's velocity, which has been down a bit in camp. But Niemann felt good, that there "finally" was some life behind the ball, and that all his pitches were moving well.
"Everything clicked," he said.
Maddon said Niemann threw really well, and that his ball just got up in his final two inings, when he allowed all five of his runs, including a two-run homer.
In relief, LHP Cesar Ramos gave up one run (on a homer), while Kyle Farnsworth and Brandon Gomes each threw a scoreless inning.
On offense, Evan Longoria continued his strong spring, clearing the bases with a double, his team-high seventh.
C Jose Molina, in his first start since returning from the WBC, hit the ball hard in two at-bats, including a single off the leftfield wall. He also caught six innings, with Maddon saying he was "sharper than I anticipated." Maddon said Molina will likely play next Sunday against the Yankees.
OF Sam Fuld, sidelined by right hamstring tightness in camp, had a busy day in a Triple-A game, going 2-for-4 with a single and double. He was active on the basepaths, going first-to-third, and scoring from third on a sacrifice fly. As much as Fuld ran on the leg during workouts, he said it's a "different story" during a game, and he "passed that test." Maddon said Fuld will likely get into a game Sunday or Monday.