Daniel Robertson, Brandon Lowe, and Kevin Kiermaier arrived in Tampa Bay Rays camp on Thursday and Friday (respectively), as 61 of 66 players are now present. Still to arrive are Ji-Man Choi, Yandy Diaz, Lucius Fox, Tommy Pham, and Jesus Sanchez.
Meanwhile, Ryne Stanek, Austin Pruitt, Oliver Drake, and Ian Gibaut threw their regularly scheduled bullpen sessions on the fourth day of Spring Training.
Kiermaier, who entered camp even more in shape than usual, was
Last year, we look at it, it was a broken year for KK in the fact that it’s not easy to come out of spring training, get banged up, miss time, try to re-start everything. It was like he was playing catchup, swimming uphill the entire time.— Rays manager Kevin Cash
Last season, Kiermaier tore a right thumb ligament in what was called freak injury — his third in as many years
As Marc Topkin (Tampa Bay Times)
We’re a different team when KK is on the field. When he’s not, we miss him. Obviously, our defense is different. Our offense, when he’s going right, he’s got the ability to really ignite us.— Kevin Cash
Robertson arrived yesterday but spoke with the media this morning. The utility player was one of the more consistent position players last season before he missed the final two months of 2018 with a thumb injury.
Before his injury, Robertson was arguably Tampa Bay’s most consistent position player last year. The infielder reportedly had no issues or limitations during the offseason and is excited to get back on the field.
— Daniel Robertson
Obviouslythe injury was a bummer but I got a solid foundation and feel I’m even more equipped for this year. Just got to stay healthy.
Cash will look at Lowe and Ji-Man Choi, both southpaw swingers, to see who will pair best with Yandy Diaz at first base. The Rays skipper expects the infielder/outfielder to be a quick study based on the athleticism he exhibited last season.
We’ve got to give him a little bit of time to work on the little nuances, the footwork and stuff like that.— Kevin Cash
Because of it, Lowe prepared to play on the right side of the infield (first and second base) as well as both corner outfield spots. He ordered his own first baseman glove, sought advice from Justin Smoak — who shares the same representation — and studied the fundamentals of playing at first.
Lowe, who last played first base in youth baseball, welcomed the opportunity to expand on his expertise.
If it gets me on the field and it gets me at-bats, I’m all for it.— Brandon Lowe
Chaz Roe, who had been delayed after suffering through a tweaked back, played catch and is expected to start throwing with the other pitchers soon.
No concern whatsoever.
— Kevin Cash