The Rays got their first win of the spring with a 6-3 win over the Twins on picture prefect Sunday in Port Charlotte. The bats stole the show as the offense racked up 13 hits in the win.
Alex Cobb went 1.2 innings in his spring debut and looked pretty sharp. He ended up throwing 34 pitches, 26 for strikes. Cobb allowed 2 hits and struck out 3 while not walking a batter. Grant Balfour made his re-debut with the Rays and threw a nice 1-2-3 inning that included a strikeout. His fastball velocity was mostly sitting at 89-91 MPH but he painted the corners and appeared to have good command. Joel Peralta also made his spring debut and like Balfour pitched a solid 1-2-3 inning with a strikeout. Also impressing was Steve Geltz, who threw a scoreless inning with a strikeout and a walk. He displayed a low 90s fastball with a pretty nice slider that featured nice drop. He could be a guy to keep track of in Durham throughout 2014. Adam Liberatore, though, struggled in his one inning as he allowed a home run off the bat of Oswaldo Arcia to lead off the inning after he let two pitches get away from him and nearly hit Arcia in the head. He allowed 2 more hits but did get out of the inning without further damage.
The Rays lineup featured mostly regulars and they were up to the task. David Dejesus and Yunel Escobar each had a single and a double in the game. Yunel Escobar is 4 for 4 so far this spring and continues to rope the ball so far. All of his hits have been well struck balls and even though it’s early is definitely a good sign. In addition, Evan Longoria launched a long 2-run home run into the left field bullpen in his second at bat for his first hit of the spring. Desmond Jennings also went 1 for 3 with a run scored, scoring that run after aggressively going 1st to 3rd on DeJesus’ single.
Among the non-regulars, Jerry Sands hit a long home run to left field in his first at-bat. His next at-bat saw him drive a deep fly ball that was caught in the right field warning track. Sands, claimed off waivers this offseason, could provide another solid bat against left handed pitching as the season progresses.
Defensively, the Rays had a fine day in the field, as you would expect with mostly regulars in the field. Brandon Guyer made a nice diving catch in the first inning to keep Alex Cobb out of trouble with a runner on base. Also, Yunel Escobar made several nice stops at shortstop. He almost made one incredible play ranging to his left and attempting to make a spinning throw, but it was just wide of first.
The Rays are back in action tomorrow against the Philadelphia Phillies. Former Ray Roberto Hernandez will be on the hill for the Phillies. First pitch is at 1:05 in Port Charlotte.