The latest Rays news and notes:
- The Rays lost their first spring training game yesterday, falling 7-3 to the Minnesota Twins in the Grapefruit League. However, some positive did come of the defeat, as a trio of Rays put on impressive performances. David Price pitched a hitless first inning in his start, B.J. Upton stroked a pair of extra-base hits in his two at-bats, and Matt Joyce blasted a two-run homer to start the scoring. Other notable performances included catcher Chris Gimenez (hit a double) and reliever Dane De La Rosa (struck out the side in one scoreless inning of work).
- The Rays return to the field today, as their home opener versus the Twins is currently in progress. Click here to follow the live action.
- The Rays announced yesterday that they renewed 22 contracts, which means that every player on the 40-man roster is officially under contract for the 2012 season. Some of the players included Jeremy Hellickson, Alex Cobb, Desmond Jennings, and Matt Joyce. View the link for the complete list.
- The Rays continue to recover well from their minor injuries. Longoria bruised hand is improving, after being hit by a pitch in last week’s intrasquad game. He says he can expect to return Tuesday at full health. More good news came this morning as Matt Moore feels like “normal” after experiencing a mild abdominal strain. It looks like he’ll be set to throw for tomorrow. Luke Scott also seems to be on the right track, as he continues to recover from offseason surgery. He’s scheduled to take BP tomorrow against live pitching, along with Sam Fuld and Carlos Pena. Alex Torres has had a sore ankle for the past few days, but it looks like he’ll be back either tomorrow or Tuesday.
- MLBTradeRumors.com suggests the Rays are looking for a backup catcher, and Ivan Rodriguez could be a possibility. Picking up Pudge would be a great move for the Rays, as they could definitely use some help behind the plate.
- MLB officially expanded the playoffs to 10 teams, and the new format will come into effect this season. The Rays are very aware of the effect this could have on the club’s future, and recently shared their feelings on the news.
- Owner Stuart Sternberg has announced he’ll be raising the club’s 2012 payroll from $42 million to about $65 million.