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 have split-squad openers

Wil Myers, homering during batting practice Thursday, will start the opener in right after playing mostly centerfield last season.


Wil Myers, homering during batting practice Thursday, will start the opener in right after playing mostly centerfield last season.

PORT CHARLOTTE — After 10 days of workouts, the Rays normally would be eager and excited to start playing games today.

Just not two.

Having an odd number of teams in Florida (15) creates scheduling difficulties. Among the toughest is making the Rays — or any team — play split-squad openers in a spring that started earlier due to the World Baseball Classic.

"Bad draw," manager Joe Maddon said. "It doesn't compute very well."

Primarily as a result of the two games, home against Pittsburgh and in Fort Myers against Boston, the Rays invited an extra 8-10 minor-leaguers to big-league camp (at a cost of $1,250 a week in lodging/meal money) to get through the first weekend.

Just in the two games today, with pitchers limited to one inning and position players no more than half a game, they figure to need more than 50 players. Plus, they will dress a handful of other minor-leaguers who have been working out unofficially in Port Charlotte as potential replacements. (Minor-league camp doesn't open until early March.)

"It's kind of early to play guys too long, and you've got to be careful with that," Maddon said. "So I'll try to dole it out as well as we can and without hurting anybody. That's my concern."

If there's a Wil: Top OF prospect Wil Myers couldn't help but smile over being in the lineup in rightfield for the home opener. "I came in, saw the board, and I was pretty excited," he said.

Myers played mostly centerfield in the Royals system last year and has said he liked it, but Maddon said he will be used in right and leftfield. And while Myers' hitting has been impressive, Maddon said the Rays have already identified things for him to work on, defense and baserunning.

Longo watch: Maddon said he hadn't spoken with 3B Evan Longoria, who left camp Tuesday night for the birth of his daughter, but expected to see him this weekend. Maddon said he had no concerns with Longoria missing time.

For starters: Maddon said there was no good reason for some shuffling of the pitching. RHP Alex Colome now starts in Fort Myers, and LHP Enny Romero and just-acquired LHP Mike Montgomery will pitch in the home game, where most team officials will be.

The home lineup: Sam Fuld, CF; Yunel Escobar, SS; Kelly Johnson, 2B; Jose Molina, C; Luke Scott, DH; James Loney, 1B; Wil Myers, RF; Chris Gimenez, 3B; Rich Thompson, LF; Roberto Hernandez, P.

The road lineup with bench coach Dave Martinez managing: Ben Zobrist, RF; Desmond Jennings, CF; Matt Joyce, LF; Jack Cust, DH; Ryan Roberts, 2B; Sean Rodriguez, 3B; Shelley Duncan, 1B; Jose Lobaton, C; Colome, P.

TV Time: Sun Sports announced it will air 150 games. Dewayne Staats, Brian Anderson and Todd Kalas return to the broadcast team along with Orestes Destrade and Barry LeBrock handling pregame and postgame duties. The Rays are set for two ESPN Sunday games, June 23 at the Yankees and Aug. 11 at the Dodgers; five Saturday Fox regional games and two games on Fox Sports Florida, leaving only three games not currently scheduled.

Miscellany: Ex-Ray Damian Rolls and former big-leaguer Dave LaPoint have an open house from 2 to 10 p.m. today and again next weekend at their new Fundy's Sports Academy (9854 Currie Davis Drive, Tampa; … Former big-leaguer Orlando Palmeiro, who worked with Scott during the offseason, was a camp visitor. … There will be free skin cancer screenings from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. today as part of Moffitt's Sun Safety Tour.

Rays have split-squad openers 02/22/13 [Last modified: Friday, February 22, 2013 10:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. USF tight end Palmore faces charge of credit card fraud


    A University of South Florida football player faces charges of fraudulent use of a credit card and petit theft following his arrest by Temple Terrace police on Monday.

    USF senior tight end Adrian Palmore faces charges of fraudulent use of a credit card and petit theft after his arrest by Temple Terrace police on June 19, 2017. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  2. Rowdies defender gets the call to represent Jamaica


    ST. PETERSBURG —- Damion Lowe has loved his first season with the Rowdies but has some other soccer-related business that might pull him away for a bit.

    Family business, too.

    Tampa Bay Rowdies defender Damion Lowe collides with Louisville City FC forward Luke Spencer earlier this year.
  3. Sarasota's Scooter Gennett: Utility man turned historic slugger

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — On June 10, 2009, the Brewers selected a Sarasota High School shortstop in the 16th round of the MLB draft. He'd assembled an impressive resume in prep ball, but as one of more than 1,500 players drafted that year, he had a tough road to the big leagues.

    Cincinnati Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett (4) of Sarasota makes the throw to first as Rays DH Trevor Plouffe (14) grounds into a double play at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg Monday, June 19, 2017. For Gennett, the three-game series this week with the Rays was his first trip back to Tampa Bay since his historic four-home run game June 6, 2017 against St. Louis. DIRK SHADD   |   Times  

  4. Vegas Golden Knights expansion selections

    Lightning Strikes

    Vegas Golden Knights expansion selections


    Calvin Pickard, Colorado Avalanche

    J.F. Berube, New York Islanders

    Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins


    Teemu Pulkkinen, Arizona Coyotes

    William Carrier, Buffalo Sabres

    Cody Eakin, Dallas Stars …

  5. Lightning's Victor Hedman third in Norris Trophy voting

    Lightning Strikes

    Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman knew he was a long shot to win the Norris Trophy, given to the league's top defenseman, at Wednesday's NHL awards show.

    LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 21:  Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning attends the 2017 NHL Awards at T-Mobile Arena on June 21, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) 700065353