Results tagged ‘ Upton ’

Manny and B.J. Go Back-to-Back

Manny Ramirez hit his first home run of the spring when he ran into a David Riske pitch with one out in the sixth and deposited the baseball over the wall just left of the Batter’s Eye at Ed Smith Stadium.

Not to be outdone, the next batter, B.J. Upton, followed suit when he hit one that took the same flight path as Ramirez’s, it just flew farther.

The Rays still trail 10-4.

–Bill Chastain

Praise for Upton and Shoppach

I spoke for the first time with new Rays hitting coach Derek Shelton on Tuesday and he seemed energized about the coming season.

Shelton joined the team in October carrying manager Joe Maddon’s hopes that he can help instill a better approach at the plate for Rays hitters, specifically with runners on third base with less than two outs and when they have two strikes in the count.

B.J. Upton has been working hard with Shelton for most of the off-season and Shelton is optimistic Upton’s hard work will pay rich dividends.  Most Rays fans anticipated Upton exploding last season after his 2008 postseason, but for whatever reason it did not happen. Perhaps that explosion will come a year late.

Shelton, who came to the Rays from the Indians, is familiar with Kelly Shoppach, and noted that the former Indians catcher and now Rays receiver has legitimate power.

–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

Injury Update

The injury bug hasn’t bitten the Rays thus far, save for outfielder Matt Joyce’s sore right calf that will likely sideline him for a day or two.

“It’s just a little tweak,” Joyce said. “Just a little bump in the road.”

Joyce believes he simply over did some of his pre-Spring Training workouts and his right calf muscle paid the price. But he doesn’t believe it’s anything serious.

Meanwhile, Joe Maddon talked to B.J. Upton Sunday and the Rays’ manager said, “B.J. felt good.”

Upton had left shoulder surgery in November.  The Rays have not ruled out Upton opening the season in center field, but he is not ready for full workouts just yet.

Carlos Pena, who had surgery to repair tears to his lower abdominal muscles on both sides, feels great and said he’s actually having to remind himself to not go full out during workouts.

Reliever Chad Bradford, who had right elbow surgery, is still expected to be out until May.
–Bill Chastain

Busy in Port Charlotte

Even though the position players don’t need to be in camp yet, most all of them are, including B.J. Upton, Evan Longoria, Jason Bartlett, and newly additions Pat Burrell and Gabe Kapler.

Upton, who is coming back from left shoulder surgery, has been swinging the bat some during soft toss drills, but will not put a timetable on when he’ll be ready for game action. Right now most speculation says he’ll miss the first week of the season.

Willy Aybar stood at his locker pleased about signing a new deal with the Rays. The team is expected to announce any day now that they have signed Aybar to a two-year deal with a club option pending the results of his physical.

Clubhouse manager Chris Westmoreland seems to have a good sense of humor by putting the locker of Lance Cormier, who attended Alabama, next to that of Gabe Gross, who attended Auburn.  There will be a lot of good-natured jawing by those two about SEC football bragging rights.

–Bill Chastain