Rays Sell Out Opener, and Other News and Notes
For the 11th consecutive season, Rays Opening Day is now sold out. This is the fourth earliest the Rays have sold out their home opener, behind 1998 (December 6), 2009 (February 26) and 2012 (February 29). The streak of 11 consecutive sold out home openers is the longest such streak among the Tampa Bay area’s major sports franchises.
As far as baseball goes, the Rays are off today, their last such day of spring training. All 35 of the players in MLB camp are off today, as are the coaches and the training staff. Kevin Cash says he wants the players to dial it up a notch for the remaining four days (and five games) of Spring Training.
Here’s a look at the 35 players left in MLB camp, and the remaining decisions:
Pitchers: (18) Matt Andriese, Chris Archer, Andrew Bellatti, Brad Boxberger, David Carpenter, Xavier Cedeno, Alex Cobb, Alex Colome, Dana Eveland, Danny Farquhar, Steve Geltz, Matt Moore, Jake Odorizzi, Erasmo Ramirez, Enny Romero, Drew Smyly, Ryan Webb, Chase Whitley.
Three pitchers are injured (Boxberger/Cobb/Whitley), and with off-days it’s not clear if the Rays will start the year with 11 or 12 pitchers, meaning that’s 15 players are vying for roster spots (assuming health).
Catchers (3): Curt Casali, Hank Conger, Rene Rivera
Casali and Conger have options, and Kevin Cash said Sunday morning there’a chance that they could carry three catchers to begin the season. That would be more likely if the Rays carry 14 position players (and 11 pitchers)
Infielders (8): Tim Beckham, Logan Forsythe, James Loney, Evan Longoria, Brad Miller, Logan Morrison, Steve Pearce, Richie Shaffer.
The Rays have three possible first baseman in Loney, Pearce and Morrison, but also could carry 14 position players, which would resolve that momentarily.
Outfielders (6): Corey Dickerson, Brandon Guyer, Desmond Jennings, Kevin Kiermaier, Mkie Mahtook, Steven Souza Jr
All position players in camp will play on Tuesday. Chris Archer will pitch in Fort Myers against the Twins minor leaguers rather than face the Blue Jays in Dunedin, the team he will see at Tropicana Field on Opening Day. Cash, Bullpen Coach Stan Boroski and Coach Jamie Nelson are going to Ft Myers, as are position players, Conger, Rivera, Morrison, Guyer, Souza, Miller and Mahtook.
Bench Coach Tom Foley will manage in Dunedin, with this lineup expected:
Matt Andriese is set to start on the mound. Cash says over the last few days they also will have a baserunning drill and bunt drills to fine tune before Opening Day.