Tampa Bay Rays Spring Game 14: Time to Get Serious

By Peter M. Gordon

With a little over two weeks left of spring training and the roster in camp down to 44, the competition for the open jobs on the Rays will becomes more intense. Players with jobs, like Wil Myers, Desmond Jennings, and Jose Molina, for example, need to focus on getting ready for the season. The Rays starting lineup against the Braves today at Disney reflects that:

Desmond Jennings cf
Jayson Nix 3B
Matt Joyce LF
Wil Myers RF
Jeremy Moore DH
Jerry Sands 1B
Jose Molina C
Cole Figueroa 2B
Ray Olmedo SS

Chris Archer P

Jerry Sands and Jeremy Moore have hit their way into the competition for the backup outfielder/DH spot. They both need to keep hitting to have any chance to make the team. Sands has played every game so far this spring and is hitting at a .429 clip. Moore is batting .381 in ten games. Both lead the team in spring homers with 3. Nix, Figueroa, and Olmedo are battling for a backup infield spot. Nix is hitting .294, Olmedo .273, and Figueroa .100 so far. The Rays need a utility man who can play second, third and short, and can contribute something with the bat. Nix may have the best chance of the four of making the team, but it’s still anybody’s game.

The Rays have looked sharp this spring, with a record of 8 wins, 3 losses, and 2 ties even without much hitting from Wil Myers. He has raised his spring batting average to .190 recently, but he hasn’t hit a home run yet. While it’s too early to say Myers is suffering a sophomore slump, Rays fans would like to see him launch one or two today into the lawn seating behind center field. Look for Archer to have a good outing as he prepares for his key role on the starting staff.

The Braves expect to contend for the N.L. pennant in 2014. With players’ jobs on the line, look for a more intense spring contest today. Former Ray BJ Upton is scheduled to start for Atlanta.

The game will be broadcast on Gameday Audio and WDAE beginning at 1:05 PM. Enjoy the game, and check back at Rays Colored Glasses for the recap later today.