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Tampa Bay Rays Roster Report 2009-04-07


Tampa Bay Rays Roster Report 2009-04-07
The Rays went into spring training figuring most of their team was set and there would only be a few decisions to be made, and that's turned out to be the case. The camp was relatively uneventful, with OF Fernando Perez, who was ticketed for Class AAA Durham, the only spring casualty. Otherwise, the Rays go into the season pretty much as they expected, with a few final decisions on the makeup of their pitching staff. Their lineup is better, and their rotation, bullpen and defense are at least as good as they were last year.

PLAYER NOTES:

--RHP James Shields said the extra day's rest from having Monday's opener postponed won't affect his preparation or his performance. "Just being anxious to start the season off," he said. "We're going to watch all the other teams play tonight, and we're going to be sitting in the hotel. There's no real disadvantage or anything. I prepare when I wake up in the morning anyway, so I'm as ready as I can be. Hopefully we'll get it in (Tuesday) and start the season off right."

--DH Pat Burrell will become the fifth player since 1970 to play against a team in the World Series and then play for that team in its opener the following season. He joins Don Gullett (1976 Reds to 1977 Yankees); Tommy John (1978 Dodgers to 1979 Yankees); Gary Thomasson (1978 Dodgers to 1979 Yankees); and Edgar Renteria (2004 Cards to 2005 Red Sox).

--OF Matt Joyce is one of five Rays on an opening-day roster for the first time, joining RHPs Grant Balfour, Joe Nelson and Jeff Niemann and 3B Evan Longoria. The Tampa native is extremely excited about the opportunity, beginning the season as a member of the starting lineup and on his first visit to Fenway Park. "It's the opportunity of a lifetime," he said. "It's what every kid dreams of, starting opening day in center field, playing on an American League champion team, and especially opening at Fenway, as much history as there is here."

--RHP James Shields starts Tuesday's rain-delayed opener having never won in Boston. He is 0-3 with a 10.12 ERA in three starts. This will be his first appearance at Fenway since the June 5 brawl he and Coco Crisp started.

ROTATION:

1. RHP James Shields

2. LHP Scott Kazmir

3. RHP Matt Garza

4. RHP Andy Sonnanstine

5. RHP Jeff Niemann

BULLPEN:

RHP Troy Percival (closer)

RHP Dan Wheeler

RHP Grant Balfour

LHP J.P. Howell

LHP Brian Shouse

RHP Joe Nelson

RHP Lance Cormier

LINEUP:

1. 2B Akinori Iwamura

2. LF Carl Crawford

3. 3B Evan Longoria

4. 1B Carlos Pena

5. DH Pat Burrell

6. CF Matt Joyce

7. C Dioner Navarro

8. RF Gabe Gross/Gabe Kapler

9. SS Jason Bartlett

RESERVES:

C Shawn Riggans

INF Ben Zobrist

INF Willy Aybar

OF Gabe Kapler/Gabe Gross

MEDICAL WATCH:

RHP Troy Percival (back surgery in December 2008) has made a spectacular recovery and is showing more athleticism and sharpness in his pitches than he did at any point last season.

CF B.J. Upton (left shoulder surgery in November 2008) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 27. He will miss the first week of the season.

RHP Chad Bradford (right elbow surgery in February 2009) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 27. He is making a good recovery and hopes to be back in late May or June.

OF Fernando Perez (dislocated left wrist) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 27. He is projected to miss four or five months because further exams showed ligament damage as part of the injury he suffered March 10. The Rays hope he will return in time to play regular-season games.

RHP Jason Isringhausen (right elbow surgery in September 2008) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 31. He might be able to return in May.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 7, 2009

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