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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.”