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)

Tampa Bay Rays will use stretch run to help decide several spots on playoff roster

TORONTO — The primary focus right now, of course, is on trying to win enough games to get to the playoffs. But the Rays are also thinking about and sampling some of the options for when they get there, with some interesting decisions awaiting at several positions. Among them:

Rotation: At this point, about the only things that seem for sure are that the Rays will need four starters in the first round, and that David Price and Matt Garza are two of them.

Wade Davis obviously looked good Saturday, and how Jeff Niemann and — as shocking as this would have sounded in February — James Shields do from here on out will determine who joins them. And it remains unlikely that Jeremy Hellickson will.

DH: Arguably, the most wide-open spot, or spots, on the roster. Most likely, there will be a platoon, so there are duel competitions right now between lefties Brad Hawpe and Dan Johnson, and between righty Rocco Baldelli and switch-hitter Willy Aybar.

And depending how those shake out, there could be another decision on whether both reserve INFs Sean Rodriguez and Reid Brignac make the 25-man squad, as well as potential pinch-runner Desmond Jennings.

Catcher: The first decision will be whether it works to carry three, which would be the easy way to provide the most flexibility.

But if the Rays opt to go with two, they'd have a tough decision on whom to pair with rookie John Jaso — sticking with Kelly Shoppach, and his .187 average, or figuring Dioner Navarro can't be any worse a hitter and is much better defensively.

Bullpen: Rafael Soriano, Joaquin Benoit, Randy Choate and Grant Balfour are set, leaving two or three other spots, depending on whether the Rays opt for 10 pitchers and 15 position players, or 11 and 14.

Dan Wheeler and Chad Qualls have the most experience, but the Rays may end up picking between them as they also consider Hellickson (assuming he gets the bullpen gig figured out), Lance Cormier, the left-out starter, and LHP Jake McGee, who is about to join the mix.

Tampa Bay Rays will use stretch run to help decide several spots on playoff roster 09/11/10 [Last modified: Saturday, September 11, 2010 7:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Ryan Callahan encouraged by his return


    Captain Steven Stamkos wasn't the only key Lightning player to make a triumphant return Friday night against Nashville.

  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Friday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb hates to hear how he "battled through" or "grinded out" a start rather than just dominated, but that's kind of what he did Friday, allowing nine hits and a walk and being charged with two wild pitches but only three runs in earning his 12th win.

  3. Lightning's Steven Stamkos looks close to top form in first game since November

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — The wait felt like forever for Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, having gone 10 months without playing in a game.

    A scramble in front of the Lightning goal has Matthew Peca, far left, and Erik Cernak, middle, helping out goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy during the third period of a 3-1 win against the Predators. Vasilevskiy, who made 29 saves, was “exceptional,” coach Jon Cooper says.
  4. Rays journal: Alex Cobb may have pitched last game in Rays uniform (w/video)

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — RHP Alex Cobb pitched well enough to lead the Rays to an 8-3 win over the Orioles on Friday.

    Wilson Ramos gives thanks after hitting a grand slam during the second inning, putting the Rays up 4-0.
  5. Ww's Odessabeach makes run at Husker Magic stakes final


    ST. PETERSBURG — When Hurricane Irma blew through Florida earlier this month, Ww's Odessabeach remained in her comfort zone.