Make us your home page
Instagram

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays' hustle in meaningless game pleases manager Joe Maddon

Trapped: Rays first baseman Willy Aybar and second baseman Shawn O’Malley catch Durham outfielder Fernando Perez, himself a former Ray, in a rundown.

LISA PEPIN | Durham Herald-Sun

Trapped: Rays first baseman Willy Aybar and second baseman Shawn O’Malley catch Durham outfielder Fernando Perez, himself a former Ray, in a rundown.

DURHAM, N.C. — Manager Joe Maddon didn't really care what happened in Saturday's exhibition against Triple-A Durham as long as no one got hurt.

But he couldn't help but notice how much some of the Rays' frontline players, coming off what Maddon considered one of the best spring camps ever, seemed to care during their brief three-inning stint in the 9-6 win that was the final tuneup before Tuesday's season opener.

"I'll tell you what I liked: Carlos Peña beating out a ball to first base," Maddon said. "Carl Crawford beating out a ball to first base. The way we ran the bases … (including steals by Crawford and Sean Rodriguez), I loved it. Some great plays on defense.

"You get a major-league team in a situation like this, they're normally going to come up, go through the motions and leave. Our guys did not. … That was the most impressive part about (Saturday) for me — how our guys went about their business. I did not try to draw that out of them. And if they had not done it, I would have been fine with it. But they did. That was my takeaway. It was beautiful."

Maddon was excited about a few other things: getting bullpen C Scott "Killer" Cursi in the game for the ninth inning and having bullpen coach Bobby Ramos coach third.

ROSTER MOVES: INF Elliot Johnson cleared waivers and will remain in the organization by rejoining Durham; expect an official announcement today or Monday. … The Rays should know sometime before today's 3 p.m. MLB roster deadline whether Hank Blalock found a big-league job elsewhere or, as expected, is joining Durham.

CHANGING SITUATION: RHP Joaquin Benoit flew up with the Rays and got dressed in their clubhouse Saturday morning, then ended the day getting undressed in Durham's home clubhouse.

The Rays reassigned Benoit to Durham on Friday over concern about his ability to pitch on back-to-back days and opted to keep Mike Ekstrom instead. Benoit, who pitched the fifth for the Rays then moved over to join his new team, didn't sound particularly happy about it but knows there is nothing he can do until his May 15 opt-out date.

"I understand they want me to do some things, and there's not much I can do," Benoit said. "Am I supposed to prove I can pitch in the minors? We'll see what happens in three-four weeks."

OLD TIMES: RHP Jeff Niemann enjoyed being back in Durham, where he spent most of 2007-08; he just didn't have a very good time, allowing five runs on six hits (including a Dan Johnson homer) in four innings.

"Just trying to get Durham ready for the season, get their bats going," he joked.

Top prospect RHP Jeremy Hellickson had a rough outing, throwing 55 pitches in two innings and allowing a grand slam to C Kelly Shoppach in the Rays' six-run second.

MISCELLANY: Top prospects OF Desmond Jennings (Durham) and SS Tim Beckham (Charlotte) will miss the start of their minor-league seasons with wrist injuries; both are expected back sometime in April. … Saturday's crowd was a sellout 10,374. … Maddon is leaning toward starting Rodriguez at second Tuesday. … The returning Bulls, plus Rodriguez and Reid Brignac, received their Triple-A championship rings before the game.

Tampa Bay Rays' hustle in meaningless game pleases manager Joe Maddon 04/03/10 [Last modified: Saturday, April 3, 2010 9:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs roundtable: Time for another kicking panic?

    Bucs

    Five days after the beleaguered Roberto Aguayo got cut after missing a PAT and a field goal, new Bucs kicker Nick Folk had a PAT blocked and missed a field goal.

  2. The Bloomingdale's that a Ruth baseball built

    The Heater

    NEW YORK — A treasure, possibly worth half a million dollars, could lie behind a granite slab at the base of the Bloomingdale's flagship store in Manhattan in New York City, just a few feet from a window displaying designer handbags: a baseball signed by Babe Ruth.

    According to reports from 1930, this cornerstone of Bloomingdale's flagship store in New York City could have a baseball signed by Babe Ruth and other items entombed with instructions not to open for 200 years. The Ruth ball, if there and in good condition, could be worth a record $500,000. [ New York Times]
  3. U.S. repeats as Solheim Cup champion

    Golf

    WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Lexi Thompson set the tone by rallying from four holes down. The rest of the Americans took it from there and restored their dominance in the Solheim Cup

    Lexi Thompson, left, comes back from four holes down to halve the day’s first singles match with Europe’s Anna Nordqvist to set the tone for the United States.
  4. Rays see the Blake Snell they've been waiting for in win over Mariners

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was a one-run game Sunday when the Mariners' Robinson Cano singled with one out in the seventh inning, bringing the dangerous Nelson Cruz to the plate.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) throwing in the third inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.
  5. Bucs journal: Demar Dotson (mild groin strain) expected back for opener

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The Bucs got good news Sunday on starting right tackle Demar Dotson, whose MRI exam showed only a mild right groin sprain and who should be back at practice next week.

    Tackle Demar Dotson has only a mild groin strain.