Rays Colored Glasses: 1B Position Battle
The Rays dropped another game yesterday in Dunedin. The Toronto Blue Jays were able to walk-off with a 5-4 victory, getting the better of David Price in the process. It’s not Price however, that I chose to dissect today.
Position Battles are always the talk of Spring Training and so I will start with a very interesting one in Tampa…First Base!
Dan Johnson(left) and Ben Zobrist look to be the two front runners battling this spring. The problem with this position battle is, both of these guys will be in the line-up more often than not. The dark horse in here is newly-acquired local boy Casey Kotchman.
Johnson did his part on Wednesday against the Jays going 2-for-3 with 2 R, and 2 RBI. Zobrist, who started the game at 1B (Johnson at DH), went 1-for-3 while scoring a run on Johnson’s double in the fourth inning.
Kotchman is batting .444 this spring but does not have a run scored or batted in. I expect the Seminole High School alum to be on the Rays roster this season, just not as a starter.
There’s also the thought of bringing an outfielder in to play first base. Huh! Isn’t that what he just referred to with Ben Zobrist? Oh no my friends, I’m talking about Johnny Damon. There is always the chance that Damon could see some time at 1B. He’s played the position only seven times in his career, none as a starter, so I don’t see this actually playing out but you never know. How often do we see aging veterans make the transition to play first base? Just a little food-for-thought.
Next up on the Rays schedule is a home game against division foe, the New York Yankees. Game time is today at 1:05pm EST. James Shields will get the start against Freddy Garcia.