Postgame Report – March 24th
Last year Jeremy Hellickson went seven innings or more six times in 31 starts. Sunday he did it in his next-to-last start of the exhibition season, a 7-6 10-inning loss to the Yankees in Tampa. Hellickson wasn’t perfect, allowing four runs on eight hits, while walking a pair. However, he did get through seven innings on 95 pitches. Pitch efficiency is one of the things Hellickson needs to do to raise his game.
Hellickson wasn’t thrilled with the overall results, but did like that he went seven innings:
Jamey Wright, who’s been fighting with Brandon Gomes for the last spot in the bullpen, walked his leadoff batter in the eighth, and then allowed a go-ahead homer to Kevin Youkilis, his second of the game. Wright did finish the eighth, and threw a 1-2-3 ninth with all three outs on the ground for the sinkerball pitcher. For Wright, it was a positive ending after giving up his third homer of the spring:
Wright has to be told this week whether he’ll make the club. Players with six years or more of MLB service who are on minor league contracts must be notified by March 26th if they will make the big league team.
Offensively, Desmond Jennings had another good game, collecting two doubles, two runs scored and drove in a pair of runs. Ben Zobrist had four hits, while Kelly Johnson reached base three times.
Afterwards, Joe Maddon was focused on the starting pitcher, Jeremy Hellickson:
Results don’t mean much in spring training games, but it was nice to see Jake Hager hit a game-tying double with two out and two strikes in the ninth. He’s considered one of the top prospects in the system, and it was the first major league game he played in this spring. Hager is expected to start the year in Port Charlotte.
Two players expected to start the year in Durham have been sidelined the past few days with wrist soreness. They are expected to begin the year with the Bulls though. One day after Jack Cust was released, so was non-roster invite Nick Weglarz.
The Rays face the Pirates on Monday night in Port Charlotte at 7 p.m. Dave and Andy should be on the call as Matt Moore starts for the Rays.