Closer than Ever to Knowing the Roster
Jason Isringhausen’s coming into the fold on Wednesday — and subsequently being earmarked for the DL on Sunday — cleared up some of the suspense regarding the Rays final 25-man roster.
The fifth spot in the starting rotation is down to Jason Hammel and Jeff Niemann, and the decision on which one it will be could be made this afternoon. Should one of the two be traded — as expected, the other would become the No. 5 and Lance Cormier would start the season as the team’s long man.
Meanwhile, the final outfield spot will come down to Matt Joyce and Justin Ruggiano. There was some talk about the Rays going with four outfielders since Ben Zobrist can also play the outfield. Had they gone in that direction, Adam Kennedy would have been the likely choice. But Kennedy was unofficially sent to Triple-A Durham Wednesday, even though he will accompany the team to Philadelphia.
Since B.J. Upton’s return — after six games — will likely send the fifth outfielder to Durham, the Rays say they will probably look at matchups, etc., when making their choice. In that case, the left-handed hitting Joyce appears to be the favorite based on the fact the Rays open the season by facing left-handers in four of their first six games.