February 2011

Today’s Rays Lineup

Here’s who the Rays will start today against the Pirates at Charlotte Sports Park:

Jaso, C
Damon, DH
Longoria, 3B
Ramirez, LF
Zobrist, 2B
Upton, CF
Joyce, RF
D. Johnson, 1B
Brignac, SS
Niemann, RHP

– Bill Chastain

Shields Exits After One Inning

Just like David Price did on Saturday, James Shields started and went just one inning — as planned — before exiting on Sunday.

The Rays right-hander looked sharp despite surrendering a home run to Pirates slugger Andrew McCutchen.  Don’t know how much the wind had to play with that one since it is racing out to left field.

– Bill Chastain

Pleasing first run

No doubt Joe Maddon is smiling in the Rays’ dugout after watching the manner in which the team scored in the first inning.

Desmond Jennings worked a nice at-bat and walked to lead off the inning. After he stole second, he went to third when Sam Fuld hit the ball to the right side. Kelly Shoppach followed suit by doing the same to drive in Jennings for a 1-0 Rays lead.

The Rays manager will no doubt be pleased.

– Bill Chastain

Windy in Bradenton, As Usual

Expect a lot of home runs by both teams today when the Rays face the Pirates in Bradenton.

The wind is blowing out like it always seems to be here, so don’t hold anybody’s feet to the fire for surrendering a home run. Batting practice pop flies were flying deep into the parking lot.

Pitchers hate days like these, and, obviously, the hitters love them.

–Bill Chastain

Sunday in Bradenton

Here’s the Rays’ lineup for Sunday afternoon’s game in Bradenton:

Jennings, CF
Fuld, LF
Shoppach, C
Joyce, RF
Lopez, 3B
Kotchman, 1B
E. Johnson, SS
Ruggiano, DH
Inglett, 2B
Shields, RHP

Intra-squad Game Today

Here’s the lineups for today’s intra-squad game that will take place from 9 a.m. to approximately 10:15 a.m. before the team has to pack it in to attend a team golf function:

Team One:
Jaso, C
S. Rodriguez, 2B
Longoria, 3B
Ramirez, DH
Joyce, RF
D. Johnson, 1B
Brignac, SS
Jennings, CF
Fuld, LF

Team Two:
E. Johnson, SS
Damon, DH
Upton, CF
Zobrist, 2B
Kotchman, 1B
Shoppach, C
Lopez, 3B
Canzler, LF
Ruggiano, RF

More of the Same for Hellickson

Tuesday’s workout brought more of the same for Jeremy Hellickson, who continues to work toward making a return from a strained hamstring.

The Rays right-hander played catch for 15 to 20 minutes, did some work in the pool, had ice and electronic stimulation treatments and he took some ribbing from his teammates.

He doesn’t appear too concerned about the injury, but you have to wonder how much of a setback this will be.

–Bill Chastain

Nice Crowd

Monday’s large crowd for the Rays’ first workout could partially be attributed to the fact it was Presidents Day, but the presence of Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon had a lot to do with people wanting to show up on their day off.

The crowd could be heard yelling the names of both of the icons throughout the workout and both responded graciously, often talking with the crowd and signing autographs.

In short, if you’re a Rays fan, seeing Ramirez and Damon in Rays uniforms had to feel pretty good.

–Bill Chastain

Crawford Apologizes

Carl Crawford held court in Fort Myers today and spoke about the Tampa Bay area and Rays fans after being asked about not thanking them more during his Red Sox introduction press conference in December. Crawford said the following: “My throat was hurting so bad, and I was trying to limit myself to as many words as possible. If I made a few people upset, I’m sorry about it. Everybody knows I loved Tampa when I was there. I had a good time there. At the press conference, I was overwhelmed by cameras. I’ve never been in this situation before. It just slipped my mind. To the people of Tampa and the front office, I apologize and I’m sorry about that.”

–Bill Chastain

Friday activity

Johnny Damon and Casey Kotchman rolled into camp Friday.

Damon immediately came off as everybody’s new best friend as he worked the clubhouse and seemed to be having fun while doing so.

Kotchman spoke of how he is looking forward to returning to his hometown of St. Petersburg to join the Rays as a candidate for first base.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Hellickson has what is being described as a strained right hamstring.  Taking the cautious approach, the Rays held the rookie right-hander out of practice on Friday.

– Bill Chastain

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