PORT CHARLOTTE — DH Luke Scott made a healthy return to the Rays lineup for Monday's 6-4 10-inning loss to the Twins after missing a week with tightness in his left hamstring.
But it was what he did that has the Rays encouraged this season will be better than last, when he was still recovering from July 2011 right shoulder surgery, as he homered to rightfield and doubled off the left-centerfield wall.
Scott said "both were really good," as he was able to turn on an inside fastball and go the other way with a breaking ball rather than hit it into the usual shift.
Manager Joe Maddon was pleased, too.
"You saw the homer, that was an 0-2 homer, and then he hits the ball well to left-center," Maddon said. "That's what he got away from last year, hitting the ball to the opposite gap like that, so that was nice to see."
Scott, who expects to DH again today, is most valuable at the plate, but despite the hamstring issue the Rays will continue to give him time in the outfield and at first base.
CF Desmond Jennings also returned in fine form after leaving Saturday's game with a mild left ankle sprain, doubling to center in his first at-bat. "It feels good, it's normal," Jennings said. "No problems cutting, running, sliding, hitting."
ROSTER REDUX: RHP Alex Colome, one of the Rays' top power-pitching prospects, and LHP Mike Montgomery, a part of the return for the James Shields trade, were among 11 pitchers sent to the minors in the second cut.
Colome, Montgomery and LHP Frank De Los Santos, who hasn't pitched due to shoulder stiffness, were optioned to Triple-A Durham, impressive prospects LHP Enny Romero optioned to Double-A Montgomery and LHP Felipe Rivero to Class A Charlotte.
Six players not on the 40-man roster were reassigned to minor-league camp: RHPs Matt Buschmann and Marquis Fleming, LHP Adam Liberatore, 1B Nick Weglarz, C Mark Thomas and INF Shawn O'Malley.
The moves reduced the spring roster to 51.
WBC REPORT: LHP Cesar Ramos rejoined the Rays on Monday, saying the experience of playing for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic was exciting — in more ways than one.
Ramos was working out after pitching in Saturday's game when he saw on the clubhouse TV the beginnings of what became an ugly brawl between Mexico and Canada and ended up "a peacemaker," albeit in shorts and a T-shirt.
"It was pretty crazy," Ramos said. "Everything happened so quickly, I tried to put my uniform on but it was already in the wash. I didn't want to be the guy standing inside watching it on TV, at least help out the teammates and try to calm things down. By the time I got there things were a little cool."
Ramos pitched twice during the week, once in an exhibition and 22/3 innings (38 pitches) on Saturday, and said he is ready to resume prep for his role in the Rays bullpen.
LHP Alex Torres also rejoined the Rays from Team Venezuela, having worked two-thirds of an inning Sunday.
Still playing — all in Miami this week — are INF/OF Ben Zobrist (United States), RHP Fernando Rodney (Dominican Republic) and C Jose Molina (Puerto Rico).
MORE MEDICAL: OF Sam Fuld (right hamstring tightness) is moving around more and remains on track to return by week's end. … Prospect INF Tim Beckham, who received eight stitches under his right eye after being hit by a throw Friday, is expected back Thursday or Friday.
GAME DETAILS: The Rays (11-6) went ahead in the eighth when OF Brandon Guyer singled in OF Jason Bourgeois, but the Twins tied it in the ninth off RHP J.D. Martin and went ahead in the 10th when RF Wil Myers over-ran Ray Olmedo's fly ball. … Veteran RHP Jamey Wright was hit on the right arm by a Brian Dozier line drive but stayed in, Maddon calling it "a flesh wound." … 3B Evan Longoria knocked in two runs on doubles. … SS Yunel Escobar's throwing error led to two Twins runs. … LHP Jake McGee hit 95 mph during his eighth-inning outing.
MISCELLANY: Coming off Monday's night game, the Rays will report later this morning and skip batting practice. … RHP Jeff Niemann will starting Thursday vs. the Orioles while RHP Jeremy Hellickson, who seems likely to face them in Game 2 of the regular season, will pitch in a minor-league game. LHP David Price will work in a minor-league game Wednesday as the team is off. … Principal owner Stuart Sternberg was limping postgame, the result of a missed step at an area ice cream parlor. … The Yankees are bringing very few "name" players today.
Marc Topkin can be reached at email@example.com