Results tagged ‘ Maddon ’

Angels Rumor Doesn’t Appear to Have Legs

Based on Joe Maddon’s pre-game comments Saturday, the rumored trade being discussed between the Angels and Rays that would send James Shields and Ben Zobrist to the Angels for Garrett Richards and Howie Kendrick doesn’t appear to have an truth behind it.

When Maddon was asked if he and Andrew Friedman, ever “guffawed” at any of the rumors they read or hear about, he said they did on Saturday at the rumor about the trade with the Angels. Maddon maintained that their guffaw had nothing to do with the players involved rather the idea of the trade itself.
–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

Day Two of Camp

Top prospect Jeremy Hellickson experienced a little soreness in his right hamstring while throwing during Thursday’s workout, but he still managed to get in his session.

Joe Maddon reported being impressed with Robinson Chirinos, who came to the team from the Cubs in the Matt Garza deal.  The Rays manager particularly liked Chirinos’ mechanics.

J.P. Howell threw about 90 pitches and Maddon reported that the left-hander’s mechanics looked good and that he did not favor his surgically repaired left shoulder.

– Bill Chastain

Seen Around Camp

One of the best things to see if you’re a Rays fan — or if you’re someone covering the team — was J.P. Howell back in uniform.

After season-ending left-shoulder May 19, the Rays southpaw is on track to be back on the mound for the team in May. He’s still the same guy, complete with his endearing sense of humor and interesting choices of slang, the only difference is he’s 30 pounds heavier.  The weight is well distributed, and he believes the bulk will relieve some of the stress on his shoulder.

Also impressive was the overall size of some of the pitchers. Kyle Farnsworth is generally regarded as a big dude, but Jeff Niemann and Adam Russell could both look down on the top of his head.

Joe Maddon noted that he enjoyed meeting Chris Archer, who came over from the Cubs, and said he was everything he expected him to be.  And he liked what he saw of Cesar Cabral, who the Rays picked up from the Red Sox in the Rule V Draft.

Maddon also said Juan Cruz is having visa problems, but the right-hander is expected to be in camp by Friday.

– Bill Chastain

Aybar Back with the Rays

After the Netherlands’ upset of the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic, Willy Aybar was back with the team Thursday morning.

Aybar said he never expected for his team to get bounced from the Classic so soon and that he felt great sadness about losing, noting that Dominican baseball fans were probably more “angry” than anything about the loss.

Aybar didn’t feel as though he had missed anything by not being in camp — an opinion shared by manager Joe Maddon, who has always liked Aybar’s effort and baseball IQ.

–Bill Chastain

Rays J.V. Tough

Maddon always likes to talk about the junior varsity determining who wins Spring Training games. Well, Saturday the Rays’ J.V. was sick in their 15-7 dismantling of the Red Sox.

Leading the way were Jon Weber with six RBIs on the day, via a three-run double and a three-run homer, while Ray Sadler added a two-run homer that was hit so hard and far it could still be traveling.

Incidentally, Spring Training records are hard to come by, but according to the Rays, Weber’s six RBIs broke the team record of five shared by Jose Canseco, Jonny Gomes, and Randy Winn.
–Bill Chastain

Shields to be Opening Day Starter

Rays manager Joe Maddon surprised reporters Wednesday afternoon by announcing that James Shields will be the Rays’ Opening Day starter April 6 in Boston.

Maddon said Shields’ work the past two seasons earned the right-hander the honor.

Scott Kazmir is slotted to start the Rays’ second game, April 8 at Boston, and will be followed by Matt Garza and Andy Sonnanstine.
–Bill Chastain

Injury Update

According to Joe Maddon, Carlos Pena is definitely a go for Friday in Bradenton. The Rays first baseman has been held back to give him adequate time to recover from off-season surgery to repair abdominal muscle tears.

“I feel great,” Pena said. “I’m planning on playing Friday.”

Meanwhile, Matt Joyce and B.J. Upton will remain on the sideline.

Joyce continues to have a sore calf muscle.

“He’s got this soreness, stiffness down in his lower calf area,” Maddon said. “…There’s day’s it feels better. And times it doesn’t. He said he’s feeling better, but it’s not to the point where we feel like him participating. “

Upton is recovering from off-season surgery to his left shoulder and isn’t expected to play until later in the spring.

Upton is “making progress,” Maddon said. “Still no definitive anything. At the end of it I just know he’s smiling and he’s feeling good. He’s confident. He’s chomping at the bit too, all of our guys are who have not been able to play.”

–Bill Chastain

Platoon in Right

Joe Maddon did not surprise anybody Thursday in Tampa when he said of the right field situation: “It’s pretty much going to be a platoon.”

Gabe Gross, Gabe Kapler, Justin Ruggiano, Matt Joyce and Fernando Perez are all a part of the equation right now.

The Rays manager said the reason it works is because no matter how it shakes out, the Rays will have a nice balance in right “because we play good defense.”

Maddon said all of the candidates understand the situation, but he noted that anybody could grow into a regular role.

–Bill Chastain

Rays Have Open House

Charlotte Sports Park had a nice feel Monday morning.

The parking lot swelled with cars on a crisp day, music played, kids were busy on the playground, and the Rays worked out in front of the crowd estimated by the Rays to be 3,000 strong.

Count Rays manager Joe Maddon among those feeling the good vibe.

“There was a lot of energy in the practice,” Maddon said. “You looked at it, and right away my thoughts were about 2006. … The Rays gear, everybody knows everybody. The way they were just yelling out at our players. It’s part of the cultural change.”

Maddon said his club had great work in front of the loyal Rays fans.

“We did the rundowns in high energy, we did the base running in high energy … it was enjoyable,” Maddon said. “It was nice to have [the fans] out there.”
–Bill Chastain

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