FORT MYERS — Saturday turned out to be a rough day for the Rays.
No. 3 starter RHP Wade Davis, bothered by effects of the flu, got hit around in the 9-2 loss to the Twins, allowing eight runs on nine hits and two walks while failing to get through four innings.
And C John Jaso got hit hard by a foul tip, well, where no man wants to get hit, and had to leave in considerable discomfort, officially diagnosed with a bruise and listed as day to day.
Davis was scratched from his Wednesday start and said he didn't feel comfortable and was getting dehydrated during his 83-pitch (49 strike), 31/3-inning outing.
"It wasn't good at all; I've got to get better," Davis said. "I wouldn't say I was wild (Saturday), just missing over the plate a little bit. I felt good physically; I was under control. It's been a while since I'd thrown, so I was a little erratic in my release point. … Everything was kind of weird. … And falling on my face doesn't really help my confidence, either."
Manager Joe Maddon said Davis' velocity and curveball were good but his command was noticeably off. "We've just got to get him back over the plate," Maddon said.
Jaso was struck squarely by a Jim Thome foul tip in the fourth inning and tried for several minutes to walk it off, but the pain was obvious, and Maddon took him by the arm and led him to the dugout.
"I could tell he was hurting," Maddon said.
Several teammates, who had a clear view of impact, said they felt for Jaso — to a degree. "That's one pain I don't want to feel," Dan Johnson said. "I think everybody gasped and went, 'Oh, no.' But he wore it like a champ, and he wanted to stay in."
First at first: Nonroster 1B Casey Kotchman added his first homer to what has been a stellar spring — hitting .395 with a team-high 15 hits in addition to the expected flashy defense — but Maddon made it clear that Johnson remains the leading, if not likely, man for the job.
"Just being honest, Johnson has the inside edge, there's no question," Maddon said. "Kotch is doing a great job, and he's making this whole thought process a little bit more difficult. But you have to look at what Danny did for us last year, the last couple years, and you have to consider that strongly. … So it's a nice problem for us to have right now, but as we move forward, I've got to admit, Danny is the incumbent."
Though Johnson hit only .198 in 40 games for the Rays last season (after hitting .303 with 30 homers and 95 RBIs in 98 games for Triple-A Durham), Maddon said the quality of his at-bats, walk rate and frequency of extra-base hits are all positives.
Maddon said it would be "very difficult" to keep Kotchman and Johnson. If Kotchman doesn't make the team, he's expected to go to Durham unless another team offers a big-league job.
Game details: The Rays (9-11-1) got within 5-2 on Kotchman's two-run homer in the fourth but no closer. … RHP Cory Wade, an outside candidate for a bullpen job, gave up a three-run homer to former Ray Delmon Young. … Sean Rodriguez worked at third, as he did in a minor-league game Friday. … SS Reid Brignac had two hits, raising his average to .407.
Miscellany: Tickets remain for Monday's game vs. the Yankees; stadium lots will open at 3 and gates at 4 to ease congestion. … The B-Street Band, a Bruce Springsteen tribute band, will perform a free concert after today's game.