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)

Rays focusing on small stuff early

PORT CHARLOTTE — Rays manager Joe Maddon will save the big-picture stuff for Thursday's first full-squad gathering.

On Saturday he welcomed the 38 pitchers and catchers on hand for the opening workout with a reminder of how much the small things, such as controlling the running game, matters.

"Don't wait till the season starts in order to fix something that needs to be fixed right now," Maddon said. "It really takes a combination of us identifying different things and them being good self-evaluators and going ahead and getting that done now and not waiting.

"So many times this time of the year, you talk about stuff and then you think you have all the time and then time runs out. It slips through the cracks and, okay, here comes April, May, a big game and all of a sudden these things start popping up that should have been fixed. I don't want that to happen."

PITCHING IN: LH David Price was among the pitchers throwing off the bullpen mounds and said that the first session could not have gone better. "It was awesome," he said. "That was my first real bullpen outside. It's a different feeling. Whenever you get down to spring training you get outside, you get in this warmer weather, it's a lot easier to get ready. … Everything feels a lot better."

RHP Grant Balfour, signed by the Rays after flunking a physical with the Orioles, also threw and said, "We got what we needed done." Noting that Balfour didn't cut loose, Maddon said, "Everything mechanically, physically looked real nice. He looked normal."

RHP Joel Peralta said he made only three of 10 planned appearances for Gigantes in the Dominican winter league, "just to make sure that I'd be rested. It felt good after three games."

TAKING THE FIFTH: Sitting home in Canada made for a cold winter for LHP Erik Bedard, and a slow free agent market made it even longer. So Bedard was eager to get going after signing a minor-league deal with the Rays and getting a chance to compete for the No. 5 starter's spot. "I'm glad to be here and do the best I can," he said.

TICKET TALK: There has been no formal announcement, but the club has raised some ticket prices and lowered others. For example, it dropped base outfield reserved seats from $13 to $11 in an effort to get more fans into the lower bowl to take advantage of the Trop renovations but raised upper reserved and party deck prices for premium games from $19 to $21. There will be a big push for Flex Packs this week, with single-game sales launching after Saturday's Fan Fest.

MISCELLANY: RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo and nonroster RHP Juan Sandoval missed the workout as they were delayed in their native Dominican Republic with visa issues. … Noted sports psychologist Ken Ravizza has rejoined the Rays as a performance consultant. The Maddon associate was originally with the Angels, then the Rays in 2009-10, then back to the Angels.

Rays focusing on small stuff early 02/15/14 [Last modified: Saturday, February 15, 2014 11:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. After offseason of work hard, play hard, DeSean Jackson ready to produce for Bucs


    TAMPA — There's no telling what DeSean Jackson will do once he gets a football in his hands. Perhaps that's why a camera crew followed his every move Wednesday while the Bucs' new $30 million receiver stood on a step of the hot tub that empties into a spacious, azure pool at his new, sprawling five-bedroom home in …

    DeSean Jackson jokes around with girlfriend Kayla Phillips at their Tampa home as a crew from HBO’s Hard Knocks documents their day.
  2. Rays journal: Jake Odorizzi goes on 10-day DL with back strain

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Jake Odorizzi is hoping his struggles this season can be tied directly to the lower-back strain he has tried to pitch through since spring training. Toward that end, the Rays placed Odorizzi on the 10-day disabled list Wednesday retroactive to Tuesday.

    Rays center fielder Mallex Smith smiles after hitting a single advancing runners in the third inning. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  3. Playoff chase heats up for Rays with key series at Yankees up first (w/ video)

    The Heater


    It was important that Evan Longoria crushed a two-run homer in the sixth inning Wednesday and Steven Souza Jr. blasted a solo shot off the farthest catwalk an inning later.

    Adeiny Hechavarria (11) and Tim Beckham (1) celebrate the double play to end the top of the sixth inning. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  4. Rays at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. Thursday, New York

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Yankees

    7:05, Yankee Stadium, New York

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Texas Rangers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Saturday, July 22, 2017.
  5. Roger Mooney's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    It is going to get interesting tonight when the Rays begin a four-game series against the Yankees in New York. The Rays feel they are good enough to win the East Division. These next four games and the four that follow in Houston will be a good measuring stick.