Rays manager Kevin Cash announced the players who are slated to make the 25-man Opening Day roster, in the afterglow of an 11-5 handcuffing of the Detroit Tigers — solidifying the teams first plus .500 Grapefruit League record under the new regime. Rounding out the roster are catcher Bobby Wilson, infielder Tim Beckham, and right handed pitchers Kirby Yates, Steve Geltz, Matt Andriese and Erasmo Ramirez.
The Rays will move Matt Moore to the 60-day DL in order to make room for Bobby Wilson. Utility infielder Jake Elmore will go to Durham, while infielder Juan Francisco has until Sunday to opt out of his contract or accept a Triple-A assignment.
The manager has not yet decided whether Ramirez or Andriese will make the team’s fourth start of the season. Cash said Ramirez has not been pencilled in as the starter for the first game of the series — an implication that a decision may depend upon how/if Andriese is used in the opening series against the Orioles.
The Opening Day roster, barring any complications between Saturday and Monday, looks like this:
Steven Souza Jr.
I spoke with Rays beat writer Roger Mooney (Tampa Tribune) earlier, asking if he thought Jake Elmore would get a spot on the Opening Day roster as a fill-in for Nick Franklin. This, of course, was before the announcement of the Opening Day roster. Nevertheless, he shed some light on why the Rays opted for a five man infield and a six man outfield,
“I don’t think so,” said Mooney, referring to my question about Elmore. (It) “Looks like they will go with five infielders. (They are) Likely keeping six outfielders because of DeJesus.”
Cash explained his roster decisions with Rays Radio:
Post Game Notes
— Other than Miguel Cabera (2-for-2 double, HR, 3 RBI) and Ian Kinsler, Jake Odorizzi kept the Tigers’ lineup in check. Odorizzi effectively pitched to contact, throwing 42 of 57 pitches for strikes, and was pleased afterwards, telling the media he had success with his cutter, noting it’s ready to go for his first start, Wednesday. Odorizzi spoke with Rays Radio following his outing:
— Brandon Guyer destroyed an Anibal Sanchez middle-inside fastball, crushing it to left-field to give the Rays four runs in the first inning:
— With the game tied at five heading into the eighth inning, the Rays minor leaguers scored six runs against relief pitcher Al Albuquerque. The first seven betters of the inning reached base on five singles and two walks. And yes, it was very similar to Thursday’s fun against Jonathan Crappel…urm, Papelbon.
The New What Next
The Rays with host the Tigers Saturday at Tropicana Field. Both Erasmo Ramirez and Matt Andriese are expected to pitch.
Rays 4/4/15 Starting Lineup
Souza Jr. RF
- With the exception of positioning, this is the likely Opening Day lineup — I’d imagine Jaso will DH and Jennings will be in LF.
- Progress stalled… Alex Cobb is now expected to be on the DL at least into May with forearm tendinitis. For a team who is depending upon their ace to post shutdown performances every five days, this news is unsettling since the Rays have a tough schedule to start the season. A lack of progress while playing catch — not an actual setback — threw a wrench in the gears for the pitcher, and Cobb might not get back on the mound until next week at the soonest. The longer it takes Cobb to throw off the mound, the more time he will need to build up his arm strength and overall readiness. Taking into consideration the usual progression for pitchers with arm injuries, from catch to bullpen sessions to live batting practice to rehab games, “Cobb seems a month or more from returning at action,” writes Matt Baker (Tampa Bay Times).
- Alex Colome told the media his first session facing hitters “went well.” Colome threw 30 pitches, using his full repertoire, notably breaking one of Curt Casali’s in the session. He will throw another live batting practice before advancing to a rehab start.
- Jake McGee and Matt Moore also threw bullpen sessions at the Trop.
- Drew Smyly is also throwing live batting practice. At least four out of five pitchers are making strides:
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) April 4, 2015
- According to Mooney, the first player to congratulate Wilson on making the team was Casali — the player he beat out for the second catchers spot. A classy move if you ask me.
- Only a few more days until our Opening Day party at Green Bench Brewing Company. We can’t wait to see everyone decked out in their Rays gear Monday afternoon!