Finally, baseball is back for members of the Rays organization. The season is over for the Rays and spring training is five months away. But thankfully we will be able to satisfy at least a little bit of our Rays baseball apetite by covering the Rays prospects who are participating in the Arizona Fall League, which began Tuesday and will run into November. Let’s get that started by recapping how Rays prospects did in the AFL’s Opening Day.
Phoenix Desert Dogs 4, Scottsdale Scorpions 3
Something to know: all the Rays prospects in the AFL are members of the Phoenix Desert Dogs. Three Rays prospects appeared for Phoenix on Opening Day as they edged Scottsdale 4-3. Hak-Ju Lee led off for the Desert Dogs and notched the first hit of the entire Arizona Fall League season, a single up the middle. Lee was later caught stealing home, apparently trying to take advantage of Scottsdale lefty Chris Gloor not paying attention to him as he checked on Athletics prospect Grant Green at first base. That must have been a bizarre play. A couple of Bay Area pitching prospects kept the game scoreless through 4 innings in the Giants’ Gloor for Scottsdale and Shawn Haviland for Phoenix before the scoring finally began in the 5th when Scottsdale scored a run on a double play. But that lead did not hold up for long as Phoenix came back 2 runs each in the 6th and 7th on a 2-run single by the Braves’ Edward Salcedo and a 2-run double by Green to take a 4-1 lead. Lee had reached on a fielder’s choice in the 7th before stealing second base and scoring on Green’s double. The Scorpions made it close in the 8th as a couple of Rays pitching prospects had a tough day. Lenny Linsky allowed consecutive singles before getting a pair of quick outs, but after a walk loaded the bases, he was removed in favor of Rays lefty C.J. Riefenhauser. Linsky has continued to struggle since a shoulder injury sidelined him for the first couple months of 2012. Riefenhauser did not do Linsky any favors. A Matt Curry single off of Riefenhauser’s glove made it 4-2 before a wild pitch made it 4-3. But Riefenhauser finally struck out Yankees prospect Austin Romine to escape the jam, and the Brewers’ Johnny Hellweg worked around a hit in the 9th for the save as the Desert Dogs won 4-3. Lee went 1 for 4 in the game with a single, a stolen base, a caught stealing, and a run scored, while Linsky and Riefenhauser combined to go an innings allowing 2 runs on 3 hits, striking out just 1 while walking 2. Rays prospects did not have the best day, but Phoenix came away with the win and better days await.