PORT CHARLOTTE — The Rays aren't feeling so good anymore.
Saturday's 6-1 loss to the Twins was their seventh consecutive exhibition game without a win, and they haven't looked good in going 0-6-1 since their successful Feb. 26 opener. Plus their list of injured players continues to mount, with SS Reid Brignac the latest causality, expected to miss a week with a tight groin.
As much as manager Joe Maddon isn't concerned (especially the games they've lost late with minor-leaguers on the field), he isn't particularly pleased with how they've looked, citing defensive breakdowns, baserunning miscues and big innings by pitchers.
"We're just not playing our level of game," he said. "We're making too many mistakes."
Brignac played Friday and was in the lineup Saturday but was scratched for what the Rays said were precautionary reasons, and he likely is out until the end of this week. "We don't think it's anything bad," Maddon said. "We've had a lot of these little leg things going on, and it's kind of unusual for us."
INF/OF Ben Zobrist (right ankle) and INF Elliot Johnson (left quad) are due back by Tuesday and OF Sam Fuld (elbow) by Wednesday.
SONNY BOOM: RHP Andy Sonnanstine said Saturday's rough outing (4 R, 4 H, 1 BB, 2 IP) was a carryover from his even rougher five-homer debut Tuesday, as he focused so much on mechanical adjustments he was uncomfortable on the mound. "It was definitely awkward trying to think about mechanics and get somebody out at the same time," he said. "It's a learning process, and we got through it. … I think I'm better for it."
GAME DETAILS: The Rays were down 5-0 early, on some poor pitching and defense, and didn't get their first hit until the sixth and only three total. … RHPs Kyle Farnsworth and Chris Bootcheck caught Maddon's eye with their relief work. … CF Desmond Jennings made a nice running catch.
MISCELLANY: Most of the big names (Evan Longoria, B.J. Upton, Manny Ramirez, Johnny Damon) won't be in Clearwater today as Maddon prefers to play them at home, or on the shorter road trips when possible. … RHP Jeremy Hellickson, having recovered from his right hamstring strain, will throw his first batting practice of the spring today. … LHP J.P. Howell, hoping for an early May return from shoulder surgery, looked good in a 35-pitch bullpen session.