Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Andy Sonnanstine facing tough odds in battle for role on Tampa Bay Rays' pitching staff

PORT CHARLOTTE — RHP Andy Sonnanstine's situation seems rather complicated, but he has a relatively simple plan.

"First and foremost," he said, "my main goal is to make this team."

At the least, manager Joe Maddon said, he will get that chance: "I just want him to compete for the last starting job and the last bullpen job. He's eligible for both."

But it's not going to be easy. The final spot in the rotation seems to be rookie RHP Wade Davis' to lose, and the competition for the last seat in the bullpen could get thick, starting with RHP Joaquin Benoit, the big-league veteran coming back from shoulder surgery.

A year ago, Sonnanstine's status seemed no longer in question, coming off a 13-win season in 2008 and establishing himself in the rotation. But something, or several things, went wrong as he ballooned to 6-9 with a 6.77 ERA and was demoted to Triple A for two months.

The Rays have looked extensively at what went wrong and feel they can fix it, specifically improving his location and work against right-handers, who compiled a .367 average. "We have ideas," Maddon said.

And Sonnanstine, 26, did his part.

"He was our top offseason conditioning guy in regards to attendance, work, etc.," Maddon said. "So he knew what was at stake for him coming into this year, and he has responded as you would think in the appropriate way. I'm watching him right now. He's looked good throwing the ball in the bullpen, and I really am eager to see him because he's very motivated right now.

"A couple years ago this guy was a big part of us going to the World Series, so he's definitely still within our plans."

PERSONNEL DEPartment: C Dioner Navarro left Saturday's workout and went home because he wasn't feeling well. … LHP Jake McGee missed the workout due to what the team termed "a family matter." He's expected back today, but it's not certain. … RHP Rafael Soriano, who left Friday's first workout due to a chest cold, rejoined the group.

REID ALERT: INF Reid Brig-nac joined the workouts knowing he has a chance to compete for the starting second base job as well as a backup role, but he's not getting too caught up in the specifics. "I have to come and be ready and prepare for anything," he said. "If I'm at shortstop or second base, I'll be very happy to be here. Any position here is good."

MISCELLANY: Saturday's FanFest at Tropicana Field drew long lines and a large crowd. … All but 10 position players have reported even though the first full-squad workout isn't until Wednesday. … LHP J.P. Howell's right arm was still bruised and swollen after a rough experience having his blood drawn Friday.

Andy Sonnanstine facing tough odds in battle for role on Tampa Bay Rays' pitching staff 02/20/10 [Last modified: Saturday, February 20, 2010 8:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. College basketball scandal dips into Tampa Bay


    Tuesday's national college basketball scandal has recruiting ties to Tampa Bay.

    In this March 15, 2012, file photo, San Diego State assistant coach Tony Bland, left, talks during NCAA college basketball practice in Columbus, Ohio. Bland was identified in court papers, and is among 10 people facing federal charges in Manhattan federal court, Tuesday in a wide probe of fraud and corruption in the NCAA, authorities said. [AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File]
  2. Lightning's Brayden Point could be perfect fit alongside Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov

    Lightning Strikes

    SUNRISE — Brayden Point ended last season as the Lightning's No. 1 center, thrust into the role as a rookie due to injuries.

    Lightning center Brayden Point (21) advances the puck through the neutral zone during Friday's preseason game against the Nashville Predators. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
  3. For starters: Rays at Yankees, with Blake Snell starting, Wilson Ramos cashing in


    The Rays open their final road series of the season tonight at Yankee Stadium, which is also where they played their first of the season.

    LHP Blake Snell will be on the mound for the Rays, looking to continue his successful late-season run, in which he is 4-0, 2,57 over his last eight starts.

    Tonight marks Wilson Ramos' 55th start of the season.
  4. Cannon Fodder podcast: Considering Gerald McCoy's comments


    Greg Auman talks about Gerald McCoy's comments — both about fan criticism online and Donald Trump — in the latest episode of our Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast.

    Gerald McCoy, front, said Monday that he would love to have a conversation with any of the fans who take to social media to criticize him and his Bucs teammates. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  5. Alex Volkov with a top-six showcase for Lightning


    Alex Volkov entered Lightning camp a bit of an unknown, the second-round pick from Russia in his first NHL camp.

    Alex Volkov (79) works to stop Florida Panthers center Denis Malgin (62) during the second period of Sunday's game in Tampa.