Rays Update: Niemann Makes the Rotation, Davis Sent to the ‘Pen

The latest Rays news and notes:

  • Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported this morning that Joe Maddon has announced the Rays’ starting rotation for the Opening Day roster. As expected, Jeff Niemann has won the battle for the fifth spot in the rotation, and Wade Davis will be relegated to a long-reliever role in the bullpen. Maddon didn’t officially announce the order of the rotation, but we can expect it will look like this: Shields, Price, Hellickson, Moore, Niemann.
  • The Rays’ bats finally came alive in their 10-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins yesterday. Ben Zobrist led the charge going 3 for 3 with a grand slam, while Elliot Johnson and Cody Rodgers also hit homers. The Rays’ 10 runs and 14 hits was a spring training high. Pitching wise, Jeff Niemann pitched five inning and allowed just two runs. Click here for a full boxscore.
  • The Rays are in Fort Meyers again today, as they take on the Red Sox at 1:35 ET. Fernando Rodney will get the start against Josh Beckett, as the Rays are decided to pitch all relievers this afternoon. The starting lineups have been announced, click here to view.
  • The Rays’ injury update today includes both good and bad news. Starting with the bad news, Sam Fuld’s wrist injury may require surgery, which would mean Fuld could miss the 2012 season. If Fuld decides to do rehab, he still won’t be ready for Opening Day. As for the good news, B.J. Upton said this morning he expects to be ready for the season opener. Desmond Jennings, who’s also banged up from the March 14 collision in the outfield, is back in the lineup today and is also expected to be ready for Opening Day. Reid Brignac said his right foot is feeling better, and is aiming a return to big-league spring training action tomorrow.
  • The Rays announced three more events for their summer concert series yesterday. LL Cool J, Earth Wind & Fire, and The Wiggles will all join the Trop’s lineup of post-game concerts this season.


    • mlblogsyossif

      Ya I hope he contributes to the ‘pen, the could really use a good long reliever. And yes, the Wiggles are part of the summer concert series schedule today, they were also last year.

      • Minoring In Baseball

        The Wiggles were up our way not too long ago, but didn’t get a chance to take the kids. My older two loved them when they were real little. Too bad Avril isn’t coming back…I’d fly to Tampa just to see her again!

  1. mlblogsyossif

    Strange thing actually happened with Avril Lavigne last year at the Trop. She started cursing at the crowd during her post-game concert, and then later apologized.

    • Sameer

      They don’t need to if they go with a 6 man rotation for the first few mhntos. 1) Shields, 2) Price, 3) Hellboy, 4) Moore, 5) Davis, 6) Niemann with Cobb/Torres available to fill in if someone gets injured. Even if they trade Big NyQuil or WD40 they won’t lose much with Cobb filling in for either one, so a 6 man rotation for April-June seems like an easy call. In the odd weeks where they have days off someone may need to skip a start to prevent Shields or Price from having too many days off, but whoever gets skipped can throw on the side or come out of the pen to keep fresh (or if they have options like Moore/Davis? start a game in Durham). I know its unusual, but with all of these young arms unless they get blown away with a trade offer for two of the top 7 I don’t know why the Rays wouldn’t do it. Hopefully they all pitch up to their abilities and become more valuable trade pieces for a midseason trade to bring in the last player needed for the championship run. A solid young #3 starter, which is what a healthy Niemann or Davis would be on a lot of teams, should command a pretty good price at the trade deadline, and a few good starts early in the year could make their trade values jump. Cobb or Torres could easily pitch as a 4 or 5 in most rotations in the league next year, and getting them some starts early in the season should make them more valuable as well. In any case, all these arms is a damn good problem to have. Friedman is a lot better at this than you or me and I have no doubt he already has a plan in mind to maximize the value of these arms. I would be shocked if the Rays didn’t have 5 healthy and rested starters for the stretch run, a ready and very capable replacement in Durham in case of injury, and also have a shiny new bat or two driving in Des and BJ come August. Its going to be another great season, and i can’t wait. Thankfully I have Tebow to keep me somewhat occupied for a while longer because otherwise I’m not sure I could take it. I’m looking forward to some more October dreams.

  2. Euiz

    With Joyce’s bad ankle, the head first slide was probably okay. Last thing Rays need is him stnhtceirg out and landing awkwardly on the bad ankle and landing on the DL with the rest of the team.

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