Rays Notes: Price Appeals to Fans, Sean Rodriguez Returns, Instructional League

By Robbie Knopf

Big day for the Rays today as they look to take 2 of 3 versus the Yankees. Here is the latest Rays news.

David Price is known for be as interactive with the fans as any professional athlete on Twitter, and he loves to joke around. On Saturday night, Price sent out one of his few serious tweets.

At this time in the year, all the pressure is on the Rays. They’re 4 games back in the AL East and 3 games back for the second Wild Card spot. They are very much still in the race, but they need every advantage they can get. This is the time of year where Rays fans absolutely have to come out to Tropicana Field and support their team. What are you waiting for, the playoffs? Without their fans, they probably won’t get there. Knowing that their fans are behind them they have a chance. We get it that the Rays do not have the biggest fan base. But Rays fans have to be out in force over the rest of this season;s home games.

Sean Rodriguez finally made his September debut, pinch-running and playing third base before getting lifted for a pinch-hitter on Saturday. Rodriguez is still ailing from his fractured hand and can only run and play defense, not bat. That severely limits what the Rays can do with him. Hopefully he can give the Rays a veteran presence late in ballgames and continue getting healthy to set him up for some starts down the stretch.

And we’ll close off with some minor league news. Jim Donten over at RaysProspects had the Rays’ Instructional League roster of 46 players, with notable participants including 2011 first and supplemental rounders Taylor Guerrieri, Jeff Ames, Blake Snell, Tyler Goeddel, Jake Hager, Kes Carter, and Brandon Martin along with Parker Markel, Felipe Rivero, Oscar Hernandez, Drew Vettleson, and 2012 first rounder Richie Shaffer. One interesting sleeper prospect is 18 year old right-hander Andres Gonzalez, 6’3″, 205, who posted a 34-6 strikeout to walk ratio in 56.1 innings pitched in the Venezuelan Summer League in 2011 before missing all of this season, presumably with some sort of injury. We’ll have to see how he does in his return to the mound. You can think about the Instructional League as an end-of-the-year spring training to give players intensive work at the parts of their game that need refinement. Hopefully the prospects heading there will make needed progress to prime them for big 2013 seasons.