Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
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Good news for Zobrist, etc.
Posted Mar 18, 2008 by Marc Lancaster
Updated Mar 18, 2008 at 11:24 AM
Nice morning here at Al Lang. The Rays are taking infield and batting practice here before departing for Clearwater.
Ben Zobrist gets top billing among the news and notes of the day. He got the cast off his left hand yesterday and is now just wearing a splint to protect his broken left thumb. The cast came off a week ahead of schedule, fueling Zobrist’s belief that he’ll be ready to go by Opening Day. It remains to be seen how much rope the Rays’ medical staff will give him, but Zobrist said he hopes to get into some of the final exhibition games late next week.
In other injury news, Scott Kazmir said this morning he feels fine and will play catch today but doesn’t know when he’ll get back out for a bullpen session. It may be tomorrow, but that isn’t locked in yet.
The deeper you get into spring training, the fewer innings there are to go around with starters getting stretched out. That leads to players getting shipped over to pitch in minor-league games, and the Rays will have a couple of veterans doing that today. Al Reyes and Dan Wheeler are headed to the Naimoli Complex this afternoon.
Also, we’re at the point in spring when National League teams need to start getting their pitchers up to speed with the bat, so those courtesy DH opportunities that exist the first couple weeks of games are about gone. Jason Hammel and Scott Dohmann got to swing the bat Saturday against the Braves, and Matt Garza will get a chance to hit against Cole Hamels and the Phillies today.
Here’s the Rays’ lineup:
Updating with the Phillies’ lineup:
Jimmy Rollins SS
Shane Victorino CF
Chase Utley 2B
Ryan Howard 1B
Pat Burrell LF
Geoff Jenkins RF
Pedro Feliz 3B
Chris Coste C
Cole Hamels P
Updating again with a roster move: RHP Calvin Medlock has been optioned to Durham. Carry on.