News and Notes from Port Charlotte – March 4th

The second time through the Rays rotation starting pitching has been solid.  This was certainly the case on Monday in Ft Myers in a 5-1 loss against the Red Sox.  Jeremy Hellickson was terrific through three innings, allowing just a run on two hits, while fanning four against Boston.  Hellickson threw 31 of 43 pitches for strikes and liked his fastball command.  He also says he was working on throwing first pitch curveballs for strikes, and did so effectively.

Hellickson was followed by Jeff Niemann, who’s battling for the fifth starter’s spot with Roberto Hernandez.  Niemann allowed a run on three hits with a strikeout over 2.2 innings, his first appearance of longer than one inning this spring.  The only run came home on a double-play ball. 

Chris Gimenez caught Hellickson and Niemann, and gave us his take on both of them:

Offensively, the Rays brought only two players to Fort Myers in Ryan Roberts and Sean Rodriguez that are expected to be with the big club on opening day.  The team collected five hits, including doubles from Rodriguez, Gimenez, Jack Cust and Cole Figueroa.

Here’s what Joe Maddon thought of the team’s play in the 5-1 defeat, starting with Niemann and Hellickson:

The Rays, 7-4 this spring, play at Ft Myers again on Tuesday, this time against the Twins, with Matt Moore to start, and Roberto Hernandez to follow.  

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