By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
PORT CHARLOTTE — Relievers Brad Boxberger and Xavier Cedeno have been limited in action so far this spring. Due to the early spring training start, neither of them are being rushed into live games.
“We’re going to take a very cautious approach with both of them,” manager Kevin Cash said. “There’s no point in pushing it. We’re just going to make sure they build up at their own pace.”
According to Cash, it has nothing to do with injuries, just playing it safe. Fellow reliever Alex Colome would have been limited like Boxberger and Cedeno had it not been for the upcoming World Baseball Classic he is participating in.
COBB LOOKING SHARP
Alex Cobb made his spring debut with a perfect two-inning outing. He started the day with a nine-pitch at-bat to get Byron Buxton to ground out. He also got a pair of strikeouts in the second inning. He totaled 20 strikes on 30 pitches.
“I like everything I saw today,” Cobb said. “If I’m going to be a real stickler, I’d like more movement on my changeup, but I have to walk away from today happy after everything that’s gone on last year and working on this come back.”
Third baseman Evan Longoria played in his first game of the spring on Tuesday. He went 1 for 3 with an RBI and made a pair of plays in the field.
“I’m happy to have him out there,” Cash said prior to the game. “I don’t think you can express what he means. Just the consistency alone. Longo has been a mainstay and will continue to be a mainstay.”
The Rays brought out the bats in the second inning, scoring five runs on five hits and a walk. Four of those hits went for extra bases, as Curt Casali and Nick Franklin each hit two-run bombs, while Jake Bauers doubled and Longoria hit an RBI single.
Three spring training records were broken on Tuesday for the Rays. Prior to Tuesday, the Rays’ record for most runs in a spring training game was 16 in a March 11, 2010 game against Pittsburgh. Their 24 hits were also the most they’ve collected since they became the Rays in 2008. And finally, their 19-run margin of victory broke the previous record of 16.
Tim Beckham is slated to play left field in today’s game. It will be the first time he’s ever played the outfield.
Matt Duffy took fielding practice at shortstop for the second day in a row. According to Cash, he has felt good after both days, and will more than likely take it easy on Wednesday.
RAYS 19, TWINS 0
HITTER OF THE GAME
Rickie Weeks Jr., Rays: The veteran was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle on Tuesday. He capped his day with a three-run homer, which was his second extra basehit of the third inning. He also scored three runs.
PITCHER OF THE GAME
The first five pitchers, Rays: Alex Cobb, Dana Eveland, Alex Colome, David Carpenter and Danny Farquhar combined to be perfect through the first seven innings. It wasn’t until Bengie Gonzalez hit a single to lead off the eighth against Neil Wagner that they collected their first hit.
Bottom 3rd: After putting up a five spot in the second inning, the Rays came back the next frame with eight more runs. Jake Bauers’ grand slam plated half those runs, and Rickie Weeks Jr added three more with a homer of his own.
Jake Bauers, Rays: The No. 3 prospect in the organization had himself quite the afternoon. It began with a double and a run scored in the second inning. He came around in the next frame to hit a no-doubt-about-it grand slam to give the Rays a 10-0 lead.
THEY SAID IT
“It’s spring training, so some people say that winning and losing doesn’t matter, but I say (forget) that. We want to win. The more runs we can put up, the better. I think it’s good to practice scoring a lot of runs.”
— Curt Casali, Rays catcher
WHO: PHILADELPHIA (3-2) at TAMPA BAY (4-1)
WHEN: Today, 1:05 p.m.
WHERE: Charlotte Sports Park, Port Charlotte
SCHEDULED STARTERS: RH Jake Odorizzi vs. RH Vince Velasquez
RAYS: RH Jake Odorizzi (start), RH Matt Andriese, LH Justin Marks, RH Jacob Faria, RH Jaime Schultz, RH Taylor Guerriei
PHILLIES: RH Vince Velasquez (start), LH Adam Morgan, RH Alec Asher, RH Ricardo Pinto, RH Hector Neris
THURSDAY: at Boston, 1:05 p.m. FRIDAY: vs. Detroit, 1:05 p.m. SATURDAY: vs. Baltimore, 1:05 p.m. SUNDAY: at Toronto, 1:07 p.m. MONDAY: vs. New York (AL), 1:05 p.m.