UPDATE, 1:17: The Rays remain among the teams that have maintained regular contact with free agent closer Craig Kimbrel, although it still seems unlikely to work out given his contract demands.
Report from Rays action in Port Charlotte:
Charlie Morton threw 60 pitches (41 strikes) and Chaz Roe threw 16 pitches (11 strikes) in today’s sim game.
Also, José De León and Brent Honeywell Jr. each faced three batters in live batting practice. Both of them threw 15 pitches total (five to each batter). First time facing hitters for both in TJ rehab.
UPDATE, 1:10: Here are a couple of Rays pre-game updates:
* Cash said Duffy (hamstring) had a good day, including running on the pool treadmill at Port Charlotte facility, but still no date for his return to action.
* In addition to game in Dunedin, Morton and Roe are pitching in a sim game in Port Charlotte that also features Honeywell and De Leon facing hitters for 1st time in Tommy John rehab.
* On Wednesday’s team off-day, Alvarado and Glasnow will pitch in a minor-league game in PC vs. a Twins affiliate.
DEVELOPING: The Rays are in Dunedin today to face the Blue Jays.
And they’ll be sending to the mound lefty Ryan Merritt, who had a quite famous meeting with the Jays in the 2016 ALCS. He was the unexpected and inexperienced starter for the Indians in the potential clinching fifth game, and didn’t show any of the nervousness predicted by Jays slugger Jose Bautista, who said Merritt would be "shaking in his boots.'' Instead, Merritt was celebrating as the Indians won the pennant.
Merritt is one of a half dozen Rays pitchers scheduled for action, including Hunter Woord, Ryne Stanek, Adam Kolarek and Oliver Drake. The Jays, now managed by longtime Rays minor-league manager and big-league coach Charlie Montoyo, are starting Aaron Sanchez.
Here is the Rays lineup that was posted in the clubhouse Monday, and subject to change, with Tommy Pham, who was scratched from Sunday’s game due to shoulder issues, slated to DH:
Rays spring info
Today: at Blue Jays 1:07, Dunedin Stadium, 373 Douglas Ave, Dunedin
RAYS: Ryan Merritt, Hunter Wood, Ryne Stanek, Adam Kolarek, Oliver Drake, Andrew Kittredge, Hoby Milner
JAYS: Aaron Sanchez, Ken Giles, Ryan Tepera, John Axford, Thomas Pannone, Sam Gaviglio
Rays information: Toll-free 1-888-326-7297
Thursday: vs. Phillies (ss), 1:05
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Friday: vs. Tigers (ss), 1:05; at Pirates (ss), 6:05
16: vs. Twins, 1:05
17: at Red Sox (ss), 1:05
18: vs. Pirates, 1:05
19: at Yankees, 1:05
21: vs. Braves (ss), 1:05
at Red Sox (ss), 6:05
22: vs. Pirates, 1:05
23: at Tigers, 1:05
24: at Braves (North Port), 4:05
25: at Phillies, 1:05
26: vs. Tigers (at Tropicana Field), 12:35