While pitchers and catchers do not officially report to camp until February 13, 40-some players were on the field in Port Charlotte on Monday.
Most importantly, a healthy Matt Duffy was in attendance after missing all of last season due to complications from a left foot injury that required not one, but two surgical procedures.
Duffy told reporters that he has passed every test and hurdle and is ready for the season with “zero” worries.
I feel outstanding, he said.
It goes without saying that the Rays will count heavily on Duffy in Evan Longoria’s absence at third base, despite PECOTA’s projection for the infielder to spend most of his time at second.
Duffy also said he understands fans who may be tired and skeptical by the news that he enters Spring Training healthy and ready to go.
If they roll their eyes when they hear my name, I don’t blame them, said Duffy. I’d do the same thing.
Duffy and 65 other players have been invited to MLB camp. The list of individuals that are slated to participate – which is current to Monday, February 12 – follows. It bears mentioning, the list is subject to change as other moves are expected, including the formal addition of Sergio Romo to the roster.
Those with a star (*) are non-roster invites:
Pitchers (36): Ruben Alaniz*, Jose Alvarado, Matt Andriese, Chris Archer, Kyle Bird*, Diego Castillo, Yonny Chirinos, Alex Colome, Jose De Leon, Nate Eovaldi, Jake Faria, Edwin Fierro*, Ian Gibaut*, Cody Hall*, Brent Honeywell, Chih-Wei Hu, Dan Jennings, Andrew Kittredge, Adam Kolarek*, Dustin McGowan*, Jose Mujica, Colton Murray*, Vidal Nuno*, Jake Odorizzi, Austin Pruitt, Chaz Roe, Dan Runzler*, Jaime Schultz, Evan Scribner*, Blake Snell, Forrest Snow*, Ryne Stanek, Jonny Venters*, Ryan Weber*, Hunter Wood, Ryan Yarbrough.
Catchers (7): Xorge Carrillo*, Nick Ciuffo*, Johnny Monnell*, Adam Moore*, Wilson Ramos, Jesus Sucre, Brett Sullivan*.
Infielders (14): Willy Adames, Christian Arroyo, Jake Bauers, Jake Cronenworth*, Matt Duffy, Adeiny Hechavarria, Micah Johnson, Grant Kay*, Brad Miller, Daniel Robertson, Ryan Schimpf, Brandon Snyder*, Joey Wendle, Kean Wong*.
Outfielders (9): Jason Coats*, Corey Dickerson, Johnny Field*, Kevin Kiermaier, Joe McCarthy*, Mallex Smith, Steven Souza Jr, Denard Span, Justin Williams.
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) February 12, 2018
Chris Archer and Wilson Ramos also were in camp a day early. Per Marc Topkin (Tampa Bay Times) the Rays ace already began working on specific pitches and situations during his bullpen session. Meanwhile, Ramos arrived 15-pounds thinner and stronger than last spring, when he was rehabbing from knee surgery. The catcher, heading into his second year of a two-year deal, will be an integral part of the Rays offense in 2018.
Tuesday marks the team’s official reporting and administrative day. Rays skipper Kevin Cash, GM Erik Neander and senior VP Chaim Bloom will hold their annual pre-Spring Training media session at 12:30.
Odorizzi arbitration and trade rumors
Amid trade rumors revolving around the Milwaukee Brewers and Minnesota Twins, RHP Jake Odorizzi was scheduled to have his arbitration hearing Monday in Arizona. It, however, appears that the procedure has been pushed to Tuesday morning. The three-person arbitration panel will pick between the $6.05-million figure the team offered and the $6.35-million he requested.
According to La Valle E. Neal III (Minneapolis Star Tribune) the Twins made a trade offer for Chris Archer as recently as two weeks ago. Tampa Bay has some reported interest in outfielder Max Kepler, and while a package for Archer would be exorbitant, it’s thought that perhaps a deal involving Odorizzi and Denard Span ($9-million, plus a $4-million 2019 buyout) for the Minnesota outfielder, would work in the favor of the Rays. Kepler is under team control for five more years, which appeals to the Rays.