Spring Postcard: Rays easing into action, but who's the fifth starter?
Southpaws flummoxed the Rays last year, so they added Burrell and Kapler
Wade Davis, who was taken in the third round in 2004, has looked great so far
Should he pan out, Jason Isringhausen could really help the 'pen.
1) It's all about balance.
2) The Rays are taking it easy.
3) The fifth starter situation is murky.
Not done yet
Tampa Bay made two non-roster pickups earlier this year, nabbing Jason Isringhausen and Adam Kennedy. Should he pan out, Izzy, who is one year -- albeit, a horrid one -- removed from a 32-save season, could really help the 'pen. And Kennedy is an intriguing pickup. Maddon said of Kennedy: "He's good enough to be somebody's everyday second baseman." But the 33-year-old was cool with signing with the Rays and filling in wherever Maddon needs him. Kennedy and Maddon know each other from their time together with the Angels, where Maddon was the bench coach before being hired by Tampa. And Maddon is clearly psyched to have him. He was effusive in his praise of Kennedy -- consummate pro, great teammate, etc. -- but he could end up really helping on the field, as well. Kennedy has played first base and right field in addition to second base. Since all of those positions are on the right side of the field, Maddon is planning on working Kennedy as much as possible at third base in the spring, so he can get used to seeing the game from the other side of the field.
Sometimes we get reminders that we're watching players who might not have had time to shake off all their offseason rust. Such was the case Tuesday when the Rays' third inning against the Astros went like this: homer, single, walk, walk, walk, walk, walk, walk, double. Six walks in a row, from three pitchers. It was a long inning, and not a particularly exciting one. ... I love listening to Maddon, who is refreshingly cerebral. When asked about the Rays' spring park, he began his response, "Theoretically speaking ..." ... Maddon grew up a Cards fan -- he could pick up KMOX from his home in Pennsylvania -- and was giddy at the prospect of seeing Bob Gibson, Lou Brock and Red Schoendienst when Tampa played St. Louis. ... Interesting, insightful comment from Randy Choate, who is trying to make the team as a reliever and was plowing through the Twilight series in the clubhouse. He said he was holding off on seeing the movie because he doesn't want to spoil the characters as he's visualized them in his head while reading the books.
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