Rays Spring Training Update, Day 39: Rays Blank Yanks 3-0, Game and Roster Notes

The Tampa Bay Rays borne photo box score says it all.

The Tampa Bay Rays borne photo box score says it all.

With three games left in the Grapefruit League season, the Tampa Bay Rays were able to walk away from Tampa with their 13th tally in the spring win column. The pitching staff stifled the Yankees, blanking them throughout course of the game and allowing only four hits and four walks. Meanwhile James Loney and Desmond Jennings combined to go 5-6 with three runs, an RBI, and two doubles.

— Starting pitcher Jordan Norberto kicked things off strongly, quickly coaxing two poppers out of Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner — both to left field. Yet he didn’t fare well against Carlos Beltrán and Mark Texiera, relinquishing two consecutive base hits with Brian McCann stepping to into the batter’s box. McCann was able to work a full count before Norberto threw a filthy 81 mph sweeping slider on the outer portion of the plate to shut down the Yankees opening threat.

The righty came back out for the second inning and allowed free passes to Chase Headly and Alex Rodriguez. After falling behind Stephen Drew, Norberto was able to force the Yankees second baseman into a 3-6-3 double play. Yet the three wasn’t over. Norberto walked another batter to put runners on the corners, however, he was able to pop Ellsbury out for the second time in as many at-bats.

On the whole Norberto’s breaking pitches looked sharp, as did his fastball when he was able to locate the pitch. If he doesn’t crack the Opening Day roster, he could make an impact on the Rays at some point in the season, assuming he continues to progress with Triple-A Durham.

— Grant Balfour followed Norberto and put together an incredibly efficient eight pitch inning (six strikes) with one strikeout. The veteran RHP is slated to make one more appearance on Friday, telling reporters he should be ready to go after that,

My stuff’s good. I’m happy where I’m at right there. Feel good. I’m out there throwing strikes, and that’s what I want to do. I feel like I’m working a little faster and throwing strikes. And that’s a good thing.

For what it’s worth, Balfour’s put away pitch this afternoon was a filthy, biting, slider to Brett Gardner. If you recall, his slider was largely ineffective last season, because he was unable to set it up properly since he lacked fastball command. If he can regain that command with fidelity, Balfour could be effective once more.

Rays manager Kevin Cash has been impressed by Balfour’s work this spring, telling Rays Radio,

For a limited spring, he has looked very sharp, and he keeps getting better.

You can hear Cash’s comment below:

— Kirby Yates was next in the parade of pitchers, and though he posted two innings of no hit ball, he wasn’t as effective as his line suggests — at least in his first inning of work. Yates fell behind the first two batters he faced (3-0 and 3-2) before inducing a fly-ball to right and a grounder to short. He was able to fan Alex Rodriguez on four pitches, however, of the 12 total pitches Yates threw in the inning, only five were strikes.

Yates was markedly better in the following frame, using just 11 pitches (eight strikes) to coax two grounders — both to Asdrubal Cabrera — and a strikeout (looking) of Ellsbury.

— Jhan Marinez then threw three, one-hit innings on 40 pitches (26 strikes), fanning four along the way. If the seeing eye test is worth anything, this was easily Marinez’s best outing of the spring.

— James Loney (3-3) doubled as part of a three-hit performance Tuesday afternoon. Desmond Jennings (2-3) doubled and scored on Loney’s second-inning single, giving the Rays all the runs they would need in the contest. Jennings scored twice and raised his batting average to .463 for the spring.

All indications point to a left-fielder who’s ready for the season,

I feel pretty good, Jennings told Bill Chastain (MLB.com). Feel like I’ve prepared myself for [the season].

The New What Next

Chris Archer will start for Tampa Bay Thursday afternoon when the Rays travel to Clearwater to face the Phillies. Also slated to action are Nathan Karns, C.J. Riefenhauser and Steve Geltz. This will be the final tuneup for Archer and Karns, who are expected to start during the first series. The Rays will work out prior to the game at Tropicana Field for the second straight day. I’ll post the starting lineup and any updates as they become available.

Rays 4/2/15 Starting Lineup

TBA

Noteworthiness

  • Kevin Cash told the media that recent acquisition Erasmo Ramirez “most likely” will be used as a starter, however, the team will wait to talk to him upon arrival Tuesday night. Cash also said Matt Andriese is still “in a good spot,” suggesting he will be used in bullpen. It should noted, the Rays need a fifth starter for the April 14th game against the Toronto Blue Jays.
  • Rays President of Baseball Operations Matt Silverman said nothing is official, however Ramirez will likely be used as a starter for the moment. Silverman values his experience and potential for length in games, suggesting he will transition to the long relief role once Drew Smyly and Alex Cobb return from the DL. The team is expected to continue looking for pitching, but according to Silverman, Ramirez was “the biggest move we had considered.”
  • How much Ramierz can you take? Ian Malinowski (DRaysBay) writes, right now, the newest member of Tampa Bay Rays pitching staff is a just a stopgap because of injury, but he has the potential to stick in the rotation. Click the link to learn more about the Rays newest starter.
  • Drew Smyly threw live batting practice at the Trop Tuesday and will do so again on Saturday. All signs point to a good session, “based on his reactions and the high-fives from his teammates,” writes Marc Topkin. Alex Cobb played catch again, while Alex Colome will throw live batting practice on Friday.
  • We here at X-Rays Spex absolutely LOVE this:
  • According to the Tampa Bay Rays Facebook page, there will be some new foodstuffs at the Trop this season, with local favorites Taco Bus, Ricky P’s and more:

We love our peanuts and Cracker Jack, but how about adding some flatbreads and stuffed baked potatoes? Enjoy new flavors at the Trop this season with local favorites Taco Bus, Ricky P’s and more.

Posted by Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday, April 1, 2015

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Rays Spring Training Update, Day 38

The Tampa Bay Rays took on a pair of AL East foes (Boston and Baltimore) Tuesday in Port Charlotte and Sarasota. (Photo courtesy of the Tampa Bay Rays)

The Tampa Bay Rays took on a pair of AL East foes Tuesday afternoon, facing off with the Boston Red Sox in their last home game of the spring in Port Charlotte, and the Baltimore Orioles in Sarasota. Tampa Bay was able to eke out a 4-3 win against the Orioles, thanks to solid outings by Everett Teaford and Mike Montgomery. On the other hand, minor league prospects from the Class-A Stone Crabs allowed nine Red Sox to cross the plate in the top of the ninth inning, after holding a commanding 8-2 lead throughout the rest of the contest. Oh well, you win some and lose some.

Below are some notes from the 38th day of Spring Training:

— Daniel Robertson, a late addition to the lineup in Port Charlotte after the Rays released infielder Alexi Casilla, came up big, mashing two homers while driving in five runs. Robertson told Marc Topkin (Tampa Bay Times) that he didn’t know he was starting the game until he was in dugout and heard the PA announcement. It “made hitting home runs even better.”

Robertson spoke with Rays Radio about his memorable day:

— For Everett Teaford, his 3-2/3 inning scoreless outing has to be somewhat bittersweet. Teaford was one of six players to be reassigned Monday. Brandon Gomes, also told Monday he would not make the roster on opening day, continued his dominant spring with 2-2/3 hitless innings. For Teaford and Gomes, there is still a good possibility they’ll make an impact with the Rays in the upcoming season.

— The swarm, urm…somewhat similar. The Rays bats came out swinging against Orioles starter Kevin Gausman, scoring four runs in the first three innings. David DeJesus started things off in the third inning, slashing his first spring homer. Desmond Jennings followed with a sac-fly and Logan Forsythe’s double gave Tampa Bay a 4-0 lead.

— Alex Colome (pneumonia) threw a 50-pitch bullpen session Tuesday, and could throw live batting practice by the end of the week. Drew Smyly already has live batting practice scheduled for Wednesday and Saturday at the Trop as he continues to recover from a bout with shoulder tendinitis. Rays manager Kevin Cash that neither pitchers will be ready when the Rays need a fifth starter on April 14th, though both are ahead of Cobb, and on track to return before the end of the month.

— On a related note, Cash said no decision has been made as to which pitcher, Jake Odorizzi or Nathan Karns, will start in the opening series against the Baltimore Orioles. Moreover, a decision on a fourth starter hasn’t been made, allowing that decision could come down to the wire, depending upon whether the team acquires another starter between now and Opening Day.

— Jake McGee and Matt Moore threw bullpen sessions Tuesday, and Nick Franklin had his first on-field workout since incurring a severe oblique strain on March 23. Franklin took ground balls straight on, telling the media he felt better. He still will start the year on the disabled list.

— Tampa Bay has traded LHP Mike Montgomery to Seattle for RHP Erasmo Ramirez. Ramirez, 24, posited a 1-6 record with the Seattle Mariners in 2014, slashing 5.26 ERA/5.38 FIP/7.17 KBB/4.06 BB9/.307 BABIP/75.1% LOB in 75-1/3 innings of work. Ramirez features a plus slider and a ridiculous Bugs Bunny change-up (see below), as well as a solid sinker and four-seam fastball.

The righty is under team control until 2019, however, he is out of options meaning he will likely start the season as the fourth or fifth starter, then transition to the bullpen as a long reliever after the first month of play.

Ben11

A press release on the acquisition describes Ramirez’s 2015 performance in the Cactus League,

In five appearances (four starts) this spring, Ramirez is 1-2 with a 6.23 ERA (13-IP, 9-ER). Over parts of three major league seasons, he is 7-12 with a 4.62 ERA (206.2-IP, 106-ER) in 47 games (35 starts). He was originally signed by the Mariners as a non-drafted free agent in 2007 from Nicaragua and could become the first Nicaraguan-born player to appear in a game for the Rays.

PECOTA projects Ramirez to post a 3.87 ERA (4.21 FIP) in 2015, also comparing him to a couple of familiar players, Rays ace Alex Cobb and Justin Grimm of the Chicago Cubs.

— Cash told Marc Topkin there’s a “potential” the Rays will seek to re-sign Alexi Casilla, as they like his versatility, experience, and left-handed pop. Cash spoke with Rays Radio about the potential of re-signing Casilla, as well as the play of Robertson:

The New What Next

The Rays will have another “bullpen day” Wednesday when they head north to Tampa where they’ll take on  the dreaded Yankees. Jordan Norberto will get the start, and he is expected to be followed by Grant Balfour and Kirby Yates.

Rays 4/1/15 Starting Lineup

Jaso DH
Forsythe 2B
Cabrera SS
Jennings LF
Loney 1B
Rivera C
Kiermaier CF
Guyer RF
Francisco 3B
Norberto P

Noteworthiness

  • According to the Tampa Bay Rays Facebook page, Matt Silverman said newly acquired RHP Erasmo Ramirez will make Opening Day roster; will pitch “meaningful innings,” possibly as starter.
Player card courtesy of the Tampa Bay Rays

Player card courtesy of the Tampa Bay Rays

  • Cash told Marc Topkin he’s expecting roster decisions to wait until the Sunday deadline, “I would anticipate all of us talking sometime during an Easter egg hunt.”
  • Just five more days until our Opening Day party at Green Bench Brewing Company! Come hang out and drink beers with us before you head to the Trop for the 3:10 first pitch.

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  • Not only does Oakland Athletics reliever Sean Doolittle share a name with my favorite Pixies album, he and his girlfriend are excellent human beings. Per the linked article, “After seeing some negative responses on social media about the Oakland A’s first ever LGBT Pride Night, Eireann Dolan, the girlfriend of A’s pitcher Sean Doolittle, saw an opportunity… When some said they wanted to sell their tickets to the game, she and Doolittle decided they would buy them. They plan to donate the tickets to the Bay Area’s local Our Space LGBTQI Community Center for teens and young adults.”
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Rays 3/31/15 Starting Lineups; Roster and Stadium Notes

Rays first baseman James Loney. (Will Vragovic/Tampa Bay Times)

Rays first baseman James Loney. (Will Vragovic/Tampa Bay Times)

Guyer RF
Kiermaier CF
Rivera C
Souza DH
Francisco 1B
Butler LF
Beck 2B
Elmore 3B Robertson SS
Miller P

Rays 3/31/15 Starting Lineup vs. Baltimore

DeJesus RF
Jaso LF
Cabrera SS
Longoria 3B
Loney 1B
Jennings CF
Forsythe 2B
Brown DH
Wilson C
Teaford P

— What was initially hinted came to fruition, LHP Scott Diamond signed a Minor League contract with the Rays, reports Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN.

Diamond will serve as depth for the Rays staff and hope to get a big league opportunity at some point this season. The lefty posted a strong 2012 season, working to a 3.54 ERA/4.7 K9/1.6 BB9/53.4% GB%. He, however, regressed in 2013, slashing 5.43 ERA/3.6 K9/2.5 BB9/46.9% GB% percent in 131 innings of work.

— Prospect Daniel Robertson is starting at SS in place of Alexi Casilla against Boston. The reason for the lineup change? Casilla has been released. The Rays had to decide today on Casilla due to the $100,000 payment as an XXB free agent, though he could still end up being re-signed.

— Drew Smyly (shoulder tendinitis) threw a strong bullpen session on Sunday and will throw live batting practice Wednesday and Saturday before advancing to rehab games.

— Alex Cobb played catch for the second time on Monday with no issues.

— Alex Colome, Matt Moore and Jake McGee are slated to throw bullpen sessions today (Tuesday).

— Per Marc Topkin, given the potential of external options, Rays manager Kevin Cash said the team will hold off announcing the order and other pitchers on the rotation until weeks end. Cash also said Alex Colome won’t be ready when the Rays need their fifth starter on April 14. Likewise Drew Smyly and Alex Cobb are slated for later April returns.

— The latest Tampa Bay Rays stadium search proposal appears dead, writes Stephen Nohlgren (Tampa Bay Times). Despite the efforts of council member Charlie Gerdes, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman decided he doesn’t have enough votes to hammer out an agreement on the updated Memorandum of Understanding that would allow the team to explore potential stadium sites in Pinellas and Hillsborough.

Kriseman threw in the towel for the moment, indicating a lack of support on the part of key council members Bill Dudley, Wengay Newton and Jim Kennedy:

Unless the council changes its mind and is willing to move forward with this, the Rays do not have permission to look outside the city limits. And for the purposes of (the Trop acreage), the really big piece of this, the city is really stuck. We either don’t do redevelopment until the Rays leave in 2027 or we have to turn over half the proceeds.

As it stands, the will not vote on a revised Rays deal until after a proposed workshop, tentatively scheduled for late April.

“Without knowing for sure if it’s going to pass I think the right thing to do is have a workshop,” Gerdes said.

Waiting for a workshop could mean the city will have to wait until baseball season is over before getting back to the negotiating table with the Rays. Opening day is less than a week away:

Once they start playing, their plates are going to be full with baseball stuff and so getting them to perhaps look at whatever changes or issues come out of this workshop could be difficult, Gerdes told Janelle Irwin (Saintpetersblog).

Yet Gerdes remains hopeful that a deal can be reached during the season,

It comes down to whether we want to have another under-the-microscope vote or do we want to have a discussion?

Stu Sternberg released a statement Monday afternoon,

We appreciate the time and attention that Mayor Kriseman, Chairman Gerdes and the rest of the City Council have dedicated to this issue. We have spent many months working towards an agreement, so it is disappointing not to be able to move forward cooperatively with St. Petersburg.

The outcome, while disappointing, isn’t surprising. An official vote was never scheduled, leaving many to believe the situation wouldn’t resolve prior to the arbitrary April 6 deadline set by Mayor Kriseman. Noah Pransky (Shadow of the Stadium blog) gave credence to that idea Friday, writing, “The more likely scenario is the issue gets tabled for a while so Kriseman can continue to work behind-the-scenes to cut deals for the votes he needs.”

To be clear, pumping the brakes now may lead to a far better outcome — after all, the deal isn’t dead. Contrast that with the expected outcome by a council who would be rushing to meet an arbitrary deadline. Gerdes and Kriseman needed more time to get the other council members on board — time that could be used use to work through some of the finer points of contention, like an increase of compensation to the city should the Rays leave the confines of Tropicana Field prior to 2027.

As it stands, Kriseman can’t afford another “no” vote; pumping the brakes now defends against that. And while the Rays prefer to avoid stadium discussions during the season, if Kriseman happened to forge a deal in May, the Rays would undoubtedly be happy to sit down to the negotiating table.

With 13 seasons left on the current contract, the St. Petersburg City Council isn’t under grave pressure to cut a deal it doesn’t like. As Pransky opines, If you believe that 81 baseball games a year are good for a community, St Pete in no rush to lose them.

Whatever the case, while the Rays made recent concessions to the city, it’s still up to Sternberg and company to make the deal happen.

Looking forward to the fall, “no” votes Wengay Newton and Bill Dudley will be replaced because of term limits, while “no” vote Steve Kornell must run for re-election. A deal will be made one way or another, with or without the current members of the city council. 

Noteworthiness

— On a Stadium Saga related side note, Noah Pransky ponders the question, What happens if this stalemate continues for another five years? Here’s a hint, it took the Twins well over 10 years to get a new stadium, and this is even after MLB threatened to take the Twins away from Minneapolis in 2002.

 

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Cash, Rays Face Tough Roster Questions

Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Nathan Karns throws in the third inning of a Spring Training game. (Photo courtesy of Will Vragovic/Tampa Bay Times)

Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Nathan Karns throws in the third inning of a Spring Training game. (Photo courtesy of Will Vragovic/Tampa Bay Times)

There is an update to the portion of this piece about the middle infield (below).

As the 2015 Grapefruit League season winds down, manager Kevin Cash and the Tampa Bay Rays have a number of roster questions left to settle: Who will fill the final two starting rotation spots? Who will back up Rene Rivera behind the plate? Who will the team slot in behind Asdrubal Cabrera, Logan Forsythe and eventually Nick Franklin? And finally, what will the team do with outfielder David DeJesus? Unfortunately these questions don’t come with the easiest of answers.

With two of their projected five starters (Alex Cobb and Drew Smyly) set to begin the season on the DL, the Rays are looking at a few options — both internally and externally — to join Chris Archer, Nathan Karns, and Jake Odorizzi in the rotation. However, those efforts are mainly focused on replenishing depth, figuring they only need to cover for a month or so. Besides the team doesn’t need a fifth starter until April 14.

Matt Andriese, who got the start Monday, and Mike Montgomery are the leading in-house candidates who remain on the big league spring roster. Burch Smith, who was recently reassigned, is also an option and he can be brought back from minor league camp.

Matt Silverman is reportedly looking outside the organization for a low-cost option, and as Marc Topkin (Tampa Bay Times) wrote, this is the week veterans who aren’t going to make other teams are cut loose. Among a healthy list the Rays appear to be considering are Wandy Rodriguez (in camp with the Braves), Bruce Chen and Shawn Marcum (in camp with the Indians), Clayton Richard (in camp with the Pirates), and the recently released Paul Maholm. In the case of Maholm, the 32 year-old left handed pitcher has previously been connected to the Rays.

Then there’s the backup catcher conundrum between Curts Casali and non-roster invitee Bobby Wilson. Cash discussed the two candidates with Rays Radio on Sunday:

That decision will likely be based on defensive skills, offensive potential and roster flexibility.

I think both of the guys have had good camps, Cash told Topkin. They’ve showed things they needed to show. And we kind of anticipated that would happen. … Both have been outstanding in getting their work in putting their best foot forward.

Cash acknowledged both Casali and Wilson have been on point behind the plate as well:

There hasn’t been a lot of separation there because they’ve both played so well.

Casali, by and large, is the better hitter, although Wilson has more big league experience and a reputation as a strong defensive player. From a roster point of view, Casali would be the most reasonable option since he is currently on the 40-man; a spot would need to be opened for Wilson.

As for who will play behind Cabrera and Forsythe to start the season, despite the poor offensive showing this spring, Tim Beckham seems to be a lock for the spot. After all, Beckham is already on the 40-man roster, and he is more than capable to play either middle infield position.

The decision by Cash is between Jake Elmore, who has more flexibility all over the field, and Alexi Casilla. However, Casilla was just released from his contract – although the Rays could potentially re-sign the infielder who, as I noted previously, has more big league experience at second base. Also working in Casilla’s favor, he is a switch hitter with numbers similar those of Franklin vs. right handed pitching. The Rays will need to open spot for another middle infielder who isn’t currently on the roster. 

If you haven’t noticed, opening a spot on the roster is a running theme here. The running assumption has been to deal David DeJesus to open a spot on the 40-man roster. Having said that, a market for DeJesus hasn’t developed — and that’s taking into consideration the teams who sought outfield depth due to injuries. Additionally the team doesn’t seem keen on eating the $6 million he is guaranteed in 2015. As Topkin insisted, barring an outfield injury, they may keep DeJesus — at least to start the season — at the expense of that extra reliever or middle infielder.

In terms of roster decisions, there will be plenty of discussions throughout the week. Still the decisions will likely all come from the Trop, where the team will work beginning on Wednesday. Alas the team will have to drop (and/or risk losing) someone to make room on the roster. There just doesn’t seem to be a clean, creative way to potentially add Wilson, Casilla or Elmore, and a couple of pitchers.

I haven’t even touched on the questions swirling around the bullpen; I’ll speak to them tomorrow.   

Noteworthiness 

– Kevin Cash and the Rays inched closer to settling their final roster by reassigning RHP Brandon Gomes and LHP Everett Teaford, C Mayo Acosta, OF Corey Brown, OF Joey Butler, RHP Jhan Marinez, RHP Jim Miller and LHP Jordan Norberto.

Cash told Marc Topkin the conversation was toughest with Gomes, who allowed one run in sevem spring appearances, striking out 15. The Rays skipper also noted all have agreed to take part in the remaining spring games if needed.

— Rumor has it the Rays are close to signing LHP Scott Diamond for AAA depth — tacit acknowledgment that Matt Andriese, Nathan Karns and Mike Montgomery could all be in majors. Per Topkin, there is lots of chatter with veteran starters getting released, there there isn’t any indication anything is imminent.

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Rays Spring Training Update, Day 36: Cash Readies Relievers for Consecutive Appearances

The Tampa Bay Rays took early batting practice at Jet Blue Park in Ft. Myers on Sunday. (Photo courtesy of the Tampa Bay Rays)

The Tampa Bay Rays took early batting practice at Jet Blue Park in Ft. Myers on Sunday. (Photo courtesy of the Tampa Bay Rays)

South on 75 — the Tampa Bay Rays made their way to Ft, Myers to take on the Boston Red Sox for the second consecutive day. Brad Boxberger, Grant Balfour, Ernesto Frieri, Jordan Norberto, Kirby Yates and Jhan Marinez all took the mound in what was called a bullpen by committee game. Tampa Bay ultimately fell to the dreaded Red Sox by a 3-2 margin in extra innings, thanks to a one-run, two-out walk-off shot off the Faux Monster in left. They will get another shot at Boston Wednesday afternoon in their final meeting of the spring.

More important than the loss, however, Boxberger, Frieri, Jepsen and Yates will get the opportunity to make appearances in back-to-back games. Rays manager Kevin Cash spoke with Bill Chastain (MLB.com) before the contest, about the importance of having his relievers pitch in back-to-back games:

Just kind of a normal thing. If it works out where we can match up a little bit [in Sunday’s game] or [Monday], we’ll do that. Some guys will throw a full inning, some two-thirds of an inning, some guys will get four outs depending on how we line it up going forward.

The top relievers who saw time on the hill — Balfour included — posted solid outings.

Boxberger got the start and threw an easy, 11 pitch, 1-2-3 inning with a strikeout (looking) of a frustrated Dustin Pedroia. Balfour followed with a scoreless second, working around a two-out walk. Frieri kept the Red Sox at bay by working around a couple of walks in the third, while Yates and Norberto each pitched two innings, with only Norberto allowing a run.

Boxberger described the importance of throwing in back-to-back games in the Rays Radio clip below:

Kevin Jepsen also made an appearance Sunday, albeit in a minor league game.

The true test will be how well Boxberger, Frieri, Yates and Jepsen perform Monday against the Baltimore Orioles. Can they bounce back and have the same quality stuff as the previous day?

Boxberger spoke to some of the challenges a reliever may face in back-to-back outings, including how well the body can recover in a short amount of time:

…And being able to get going again [the next day]. Kind of take it and see how I can recover and being able to do it two or three times during the year and being able to go in April.

Cash noted that Balfour is not scheduled to pitch Monday.

Balfour, who missed a significant amount of camp while in Australia, allowed that making back-to-back appearances is nice, though it isn’t entirely necessary:

That year in Oakland, I think I had 27 for 27 saves and I didn’t go back-to-back [during Spring Training] and I had four [spring] games. So I guess I don’t have to do it. … You don’t really have to do it. But I mean it’s nice to do it and rebound from it and stuff like that. It’s something that you would typically do.

The New What Next

Matt Andriese will start for the Rays Monday afternoon against the Orioles. Andriese, has an impressive 1.10 ERA this spring.

Rays 3/30/15 Starting Lineup

Jaso LF
Guyer RF
Cabrera SS
Longoria 3B
Loney 1B
Jennings CF
DeJesus DH
Forsythe 2B
Casali C
Andriese SP

Noteworthiness

— Boxberger asked to start Sunday because he wanted to face Boston’s top hitters he would likely see during the regular season. I’d say he did well:

— The Rays have released OF Andrew Toles, their 2013 minor-league player of the year. Toles missed two-plus months in 2014 due to personal reasons. This move follows the release of SS Brandon Martin and OF James Harris, two supplemental first-round picks from the 2011 draft.

— Being an ardent Rays fan, I don’t often see parallels in the way Thomas Ricketts (by way of Theo Epstein) runs the Cubs with that of Stu Sternberg. Who knows, maybe there are an indefinite number similarities that I’ve turned a blind eye to. Whatever the case, Craig Goldstein (Vice Sports) wrote an excellent piece on the Chicago Cubs’ pending decision to carry Kris Bryant on their 25-man roster to open the Major League Baseball season. The point of contention is one we Rays’ fans know all to well: the teams desire to secure an entire extra year of contractual control over Bryant, thanks to service time. There is a glaring difference, however — the Cubs have the ability to open the coffers and pay a player at his market value, whereas smaller market teams like the Rays or Royals seemingly do not.

Or maybe every MLB owner has the ability to pay a player what he is worth, and I’m again turning a blind eye.

— Only one week and counting until our co-Opening Day party with Green Bench Brewing Company!

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