Going into yesterdays game vs the Reds, Jason Hammel and Jeff Niemann seemed to still be battling for the 5th and final starting spot that will eventually be manned by David Price anyway. Niemann got shelled in his last outing, and Hammel himself has had some ho-hum games his last few starts. Yesterday though, Hammel pitched a real nice game in his last start of the spring.
5.0 IP, 2 H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 4K
I still personally feel that Niemann’s updside is worth giving him the 5th spot in the rotation and would wind up putting Hammel in the long relief/spot start role that I believe fits him the best. The Rays have not gave one little hint so far though as to what their plans are with these two guys.
On the hitting front, Dioner Navarro upped his spring average to .381 with a 2 for 3 day at the plate.