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News » Tampa Bay Rays Inside Pitch 2009-04-28

Tampa Bay Rays Inside Pitch 2009-04-28

Tampa Bay Rays Inside Pitch 2009-04-28
The operating theory was that whoever won the No. 5 spot in the Rays rotation was merely a temp, filling the spot until elite prospect David Price was deemed ready to be promoted.

But a couple of interesting things have happened since righty Jeff Niemann was deemed the winner of the spring-long competition, with runner-up righty Jason Hammel traded to Colorado.

For one, Price has struggled at Class AAA Durham, going 1-2 with a 3.71 ERA in four starts, and allowing 14 hits and eight walks in 17 innings while striking out 20.

For another, Niemann has pitched very well. Since allowing five runs in the first inning of his season debut, he has a 2.53 ERA and on Monday won for the second straight time.

And to make it even more interesting, righty Andy Sonnanstine, the No. 4 starter, has struggled in his first four starts, going 0-3 with a 7.78 ERA while allowing 28 hits (and eight walks) in 19 2/3 innings. So even when Price is ready, it's possible Niemann could have the Rays looking at other options.

RAYS 7, TWINS 1: RHP Jeff Niemann gave the Rays another strong start, and 1B Carlos Pena hit his major-league leading ninth home run to lead the Rays. The Rays have lost five straight series for the first time since the middle of the 2007 season, but have two chances to end that streak.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 28, 2009

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