3 takeaways from Thursday's 5-5 tie with the Yankees
1. The Rays are expecting RHP Shawn Tolleson to be a big part of the bullpen but the former closer for the Rangers continues to struggle. His velocity, which should be in the mid-90s, is in the low 90s. He faced seven batters Thursday and retired three while allowing two runs on two hits and two walks. He did strike out a batter but allowed a home run to Ronald Torreyes.
Manager Cash called Tolleson out after the game, saying he is concerned and that Tolleson needs to get going during the last week of camp. Tolleson, who has struggled with back spasms this spring, has a 7.20 ERA in five appearances.
The Rays are looking at Tolleson as a veteran arm for the bullpen, something they covet. But his struggles could open the door for rookies RHP Austin Pruitt or RHP Jaime Schultz to make the squad.
2. How much fun would it be to see Jumbo Diaz coming out of the bullpen this season? He's 6-foot-4 and listed at 280 pounds, though he looks like he tips the scale at 300.
He has a big fastball and enough big league experience to be considered a veteran arm.
Cash said Diaz was gassed Thursday after his 1 1/3-inning outing against the Yankees, where he allowed two runs on two hits and two walks. He did strike out three.
Cut him some slack. He joined camp Wednesday after competing for the Dominican Republic in the WBC, so maybe his head was still spinning. The Rays scouted Diaz during the WBC, which will help in their evaluation, but they won't have much time before the end of camp to decide if he makes the squad.
It will be interesting to see how this unfolds.
3.How much fun will it be to see Jake Bauers in a big league uniform? If this spring is any indication, Rays fans have something to look forward to in the infielder/outfielder.
Bauers has impressed with his power – four home runs, two doubles and a triple – and his ability work an at-bat – six walks. He's played well in the field. On Thursday, after he learned he was reassigned to minor league camp, he doubled in two runs against the Yankees and threw a runner out at the plate from right field.
The Rays are set on outfielder at the major league level and first base is a bit crowed, but Bauers could force himself into a locker at the Trop with a good start to the season, especially if the Rays get off to a bad start.