Working backwards, the Rays posted their first roster cuts of the spring, whittling their roster down to 52. On Monday, Tampa Bay optioned starting pitching prospects Chris Archer, Alex Cobb and Alex Torres to the minors. The battle for the open starting position spot just became a bit more interesting, though most of us assumed that those three would start the year in Durham anyway. The also reassigned first baseman Juan Miranda, RHP Ricky Orta, and catchers Nevin Ashley and Mark Thomas.
March 14 Update: The Rays cut six more players from the roster, and have now slimmed the roster by 13, and whittling the number still on the roster to 46. Hak-Ju Lee, Torra, and Augenstein were reassigned, while Colome, W. Rodriguez, and Suarez were optioned. We mentioned prior to the reporting of pitchers and catchers, that we didn’t think Hak-Ju Lee would make the opening day cut, and surprise surprise. No other specifics, beyond what’s above, have been seen by my peepers yet.
In other news, Matt Moore is scheduled to make his first ever major league spring training appearance today in relief of David Price, who’s slated to pitch four innings against the Orioles. When asked about having already received both regular season and post-season wins, yet never having performed in a spring training game, Matt Moore was quoted as saying, “When you put it like that it does sound a little funny. If you recall, both pitchers are coming off of the DL…of sorts; one from a legitimate injury, and one from an injury out of an SNL skit. We “would have to check in the dugout to make sure the Orioles didn’t add any “towel-hardener” or Velcro to the supply,” joked the Rays skipper, Joe Maddon, when asked about Price’s first start after last weeks towel incident. ”
Utility in-fielding extraordinaire, Sean Rodriguez, is expected to return to the lineup after a four day, sprained finger induced break from playing. His left index finger has improved enough to where he was, reportedly, taking batting practice this morning, and will start at second, finding Reid Brignac at short.
Finally, Maddon made mention that with Luke Scott’s surgically repaired shoulder in mind, he would be playing Scott every other day for the time being, and increase his playing time to every day as spring training comes to an end. Maddon hopes that the Wolverine would see at least 50 at bats, but also acknowledged that that may not be possible.
Today’s starting lineup is below. The Rays are again tinkering with the idea of starting Pena in the two spot, where he’ll bat in today’s 1:05 game with the Orioles, in Sarasota.
Let’s Go Rays!
In addendum: Bleacher Report recently released a good piece titled, 2012 MLB Predictions: Tampa Bay Rays Season Preview, which discussed the possibility of Carlos Pena hitting in the number two spot. You can read it here. Scroll down to the bottom for the portion about Los.