Put a fork in it, the Tampa Bay Rays capped off their Grapefruit League season by notching their fifth tie of the spring, a 7-7 contest against the Phillies.
Takeaways and highlights follow:
— In his final tuneup before the regular season, Alex Cobb hurled 3-2/3 innings of one run ball. The right-hander made it through three scoreless frames before he relinquished a leadoff homer in the fourth inning to Freddie Galvis.
Overall, Cobb gave up three hits and two walks, while fanning two on 59 pitches (38 strikes). He, however, was charged with three runs after Austin Pruitt allowed the two runners Cobb left on to score. Pruitt later allowed two of his own to come home.
Cobb was pleased with his final outing of the spring, saying,
That was nice to feel Cobb said. Some of the pitches were exactly what I was looking for, and now it’s time to think more about those and be able to repeat those 100 times.
The right-hander told Rays Radio he feels ready to start the regular season in game three of the upcoming series against the Yankees:
(Audio Courtesy of Rays Radio)
— Left-hander Blake Snell followed with four innings of two run ball, as he allowed six to reach on four hits and two walks, while striking out four. To his credit, Snell’s fastball sat at 94–95 miles per hour and he thought it was another step forward:
Still need to clean things up, but definitely happy with how I started, the way I finished. I progressed. I thought I did what I needed to do to be ready for the season. Now the true test begins and I’m excited for it.
(Audio Courtesy of Rays Radio)
Yet neither Snell, nor Matt Andriese, had particularly impressive springs, so to the back of the rotation they go. After a 2016 season fraught with concern over starters who couldn’t pitch deeply enough into games, there is a legitimate worry that Snell and Andriese could lead to bullpen overuse.
— Evan Longoria did not play Friday because of a lingering issue with a stiff neck. Rays manager Kevin Cash assured the media (and fans) that it isn’t a serious concern:
Give him two days off, let him quiet everything down. He’s fine. He’s good to go. He’ll be in there on opening day.
— Steven Souza Jr. hit his second homer of the spring — a mammoth solo-shot to left-field.
Sometimes you don’t need to look. You just know. pic.twitter.com/SW3NDda8vO
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) March 31, 2017
Of roster moves and the disabled list…
— Shawn Tolleson will start the season on the 60-day disabled list because of a right flexor strain.
Tolleson initially had back issues during camp, which limited him to just five appearances. However, the shoulder injury surfaced during his last appearance on March 23rd.
Cash said he does not expect the injury to lead to surgery, although it likely will lead to a lengthy rehab process.
— Colby Rasmus isn’t expected to be on the DL for an extended amount of time. Rasmus is scheduled to play for the Class-A Charlotte Stone Crabs when they open their season on Thursday, meaning he should be back with the big league squad during the second week of the season.
— Brad Boxberger is tentatively scheduled to resume his throwing program next week.
— Wilson Ramos was placed on the 60-day DL, which opens up a 40-man roster spot, although it will keep Ramos out until at least June 1.
As Marc Topkin (Tampa Bay Times) writes, the two moves clear room on the 40-man roster for Jesus Sucre, Rickie Weeks and Tommy Hunter.
They will need to clear another 40-man spot and possibly a fourth if OF Pete Bourjos makes the team.
The acquisition of C Derek Norris earlier this week means the Rays do not need to rush Ramos back to the lineup. Moving Wilson to the 60-day allows him more time to get ready and afforded roster flexibility to add one non-roster player to Sunday’s roster.