With all of the previous day’s formalities out of the way, Rays pitchers and catchers got to work in Port Charlotte on Thursday.
As of Thursday evening, all 40 pitchers and catchers are in camp, while 13 of the 25 position players have arrived early. Daniel Robertson was the latest to join that group.
Ten hurlers took the mound to throw bullpen sessions: starters Yonny Chirinos, Tyler Glasnow, and Ryan Yarbrough, as well as relievers Jalen Beeks, Diego Castillo, Oliver Drake, Pete Fairbanks, Colin Poche, Shane McClanahan, and Trevor Richards.
Rays skipper Kevin Cash was especially complimentary of Poche, McClanahan, and Chirinos, saying:
Super talented and super electric stuff. He’s (McClanahan) got a chance to be special, just try not to get in his way.— Kevin Cash
Cash also made mention of the early difference, health-wise, he has seen out of Chirinos.
You could tell whatever he did, he worked really, really hard. You ask the guys to go into offseasons and you want them to work hard but you just want them to come in healthy, and Yonny went above and beyond that.— Kevin Cash
You can hear all of the skipper’s thoughts via the SoundCloud player below, courtesy of Rays Radio.
Castillo and Glasnow also took the mound for their first bullpen session of the spring.
Glasnow told Neil Solondz (Rays Radio) that happy to be back in action after the offseason.
I guess you always kind of look forward to it, especially toward the end of the offseason. It’s nice to see everyone, all the coaches here, trainers, players, so it’s great.— Tyler Glasnow
Meanwhile, Castillo also got in a little fielding practice.
While Blake Snell, Charlie Morton, Anthony Banda, and Brent Honeywell didn’t take the mound, they did get in strength and conditioning work, as well as a cardio/core session along with the other hurlers who didn’t throw.
Four months after they last took the field as a team, Morton told Solondz there is extra motivation going into the 2020 season — especially since it could be his last.
Noting the overall depth the team has, Morton praised the team’s flexibility.
The flexibility that we have as a pitching staff is I think second to none. I think we have the strongest pitching staff top to bottom and I’m including the guys that aren’t going to be on the roster.— Charlie Morton
Position player-wise, Daniel Robertson and Michael Brosseau fielded grounders from third base coach Rodney Linares on the left side of the diamond, while José Martinez took ground balls at first base where he is expected to get reps when games begin.
Martinez also looked comfortable in the batter’s box, which made a favorable impression on Cash.
He likes to hit. He’s really comfortable in the box. (His swing) is so loose and easy.— Kevin Cash
Pitcher and catcher workouts, as well as bullpen sessions, will continue on Friday.
— I’m sad to hear that one of my favorite players of the modern era, as well as my all-time favorite Ray, Ben Zobrist, could be calling it a day. Zorilla exemplified the Rays way. He was a team player who never complained about where he would be positioned on any given day, be that on the field or in the lineup. He is also a solid human being who was so kind and generous the few times I got to speak with him. Thank you for the memories, Zorilla, I’m glad that I got to see you play more than a few times.
— Speaking of former Rays, David Price was asked why he requested No. 33 as his uniform number. The short answer: James Shields (starting at 10:20 on the video below).
I went with 33 because when I first got to the big leagues, James Shields was one of the guys that really took me under his wing. …Showed me the right way to do things at the field, away from the field, being a father and husband. He’s a guy I’ve looked up to ever since I met him. He’s worn 33 for his entire career in the big leagues, so for him to do what he did for me, I thought this was a way for me to pay him back a little bit.— David Price
You really got me, DP. Welcome back to being a player I will watch in 2020.