Sorry, Chris Carter, scorned Rays look like the better choice

Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi (23) pitches in the second inning of a spring training game against the New York Yankees Tuesday, March 07, 2017 in Tampa.
Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi (23) pitches in the second inning of a spring training game against the New York Yankees Tuesday, March 07, 2017 in Tampa.
Published Mar. 7, 2017

TAMPA — The Rays wanted to sign slugging 1B/DH Chris Carter this winter, but he didn't want them, opting to join the Yankees instead.

Carter said Tuesday he picked the Yankees because he felt their signing of Logan Morrison would have limited his opportunities for at-bats in Tampa Bay.

"It was going back and forth but then they ended up signing Morrison and that pretty much was the main factor," Carter said. "I liked the situation here better. After they signed Morrison I didn't really see the same opportunity I'd have here."

But did Carter make the right choice in taking $3.5 million from the Yankees over what has been described as a "competitive" offer from the Rays?

With the Yankees, the right-handed hitter will be competing with highly thought of prospect Greg Bird (lefty hitter) and free-agent addition Matt Holliday (righty) for at-bats.

With the Rays, he would have been a definite in the lineup against lefties at first or DH, in the role Rickie Weeks now seems to have, with the chance to play against some right-handers. Word that the Rays are still looking for another right-handed bat furthers the thought they may have had more opportunity than he thought.

Carter, who was non-tendered after hitting 41 homers last year for Milwaukee, said another factor was that Yankees Stadium is more homer-friendly than the Trop.

Five hits, no worries

Rays starter Jake Odorizzi threw two perfect innings in his spring debut last week. Not so much Tuesday against the Yankees. Odorizzi allowed five hits and one run in two innings. But, as is his way, Odorizzi oozed calm.

"I felt good," he said. "Around the zone with everything. Sometimes that leads to hits, sometimes it leads to early outs. It's spring training. I'm not too worried about the hits."

Odorizzi said he focused on his off-speed pitches, which he said is why his pitch count reached 48 in two innings. They also produced four strikeouts.

"I got a lot of strikeouts on the change-up," Odorizzi said. "My slider is my big emphasis right now. I threw it quite a bit today. I got some takes, some swings and misses, so some encouraging results."

All the Way Willy

Rays shortstop of the future Willy Adames has impressed defensively. His bat joined the fray Tuesday. Adames hit his first home run of the spring in his best offensive showing, which also included a sacrifice fly.

"He looked good," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "You could tell there was a jet stream flying out there, but he squared that ball. Probably goes out, no wind, wind against. Good to see him get hold of one."


RHP Brad Boxberger has yet to make his spring debut, and is not scheduled through at least Thursday, but manager Kevin Cash said there is no cause for alarm. "Box is doing fine, we're just kind of holding him out, we want to make sure with the injuries that he had last year (core muscle repair, oblique) we want to make sure he's ready to go, and then when he is, get him a pretty healthy workload leading up to opening day," Cash said.

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In stitches

RHP Taylor Guerrieri was back on the mound Tuesday, working two scoreless innings after receiving three to four stitches in his right eyebrow after passing out Saturday morning in the bathroom of his spring rental home and hitting his head on the bathtub. "I heard from a lot of people about it," Guerrieri said. "My mom (Cindy) said if there was anyone in spring training this could happen to it would be you."

Game report

The Rays lose 7-6 to the Yankees Tuesday. Home runs and a couple of late rallies weren't enough as New York scored three in the bottom of the 10th inning off Rays reliever Jeffrey Walters. Rays highlights included three solo home runs: Adames, Corey Dickerson (they went back-to-back in the fifth) and Ryan Brett. Brett, a non-roster invitee who played three games for the Rays in 2015, his only three in the majors, also drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and made a nice diving stab at second base.

Dickerson continues to look good at the plate, as does Evan Longoria. Minor-leaguer Justin Williams had two hits and made a great throw from right field in the bottom of the 10th inning, but the runner was the runner was safe at third when the ball was dropped by third baseman and non-roster invitee Patrick Leonard.

Numbers of the day

50-1, 18-1

Odds on Rays winning the AL pennant and AL East, per the Bovada website. The Red Sox are 9-4 and 4-7 favorites.

Spring things

• 1B Logan Morrison (left wrist surgery) is slated to make his spring debut tonight as the DH, and play first later in the week.

• There is still talk of signing free-agent INF Brett Lawrie, but the fit seems odd given the at-bats the Rays would offer would be at first, DH and in the outfield.

• Non-roster relievers Neil Wagner, Jeff Ames and Diego Moreno will pitch against the Rays tonight as the Colombia WBC team doesn't want to tax all of its pitchers.