SPRING TRAINING: No Longoria in spring finale, will be fine for Opening Day; recap of tie with Phillies

By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports


CLEARWATER — Friday’s Rays lineup is fairly close to what you could see Opening Day, minus one glaring hole.

Third baseman Evan Longoria was held out of the spring finale due to a stiff neck, but don’t worry Rays fans, it doesn’t seem to be much of a problem.

“The neck thing is not that bad, but it doesn’t make sense (to play him) if it’s a little stiff,” Cash said. “Give him two days off and let him quiet things down. He’s fine and he’ll be in there Opening Day.”

Longoria was a late scratch a couple of weeks ago because of his neck. He’s one of the players whose spring performance is fairly irrelevant, but he did hit just .239 with one homer and four RBI in 17 games.

The Rays confirmed a pair of inevitable moves Friday morning.

It’s been known since Day 1 of training that Wilson Ramos was headed to the disabled list as he continues to work his way back from ACL surgery. The club  officially confirmed he will be on the 60-day DL to start the season. Joining him there will be reliever Shawn Tolleson, whose right flexor strain is apparently more serious than previously known.

These moves will help make room for non-roster invitees who made the team in Rickie Weeks, Tommy Hunter, Jesus Sucre and potentially Peter Bourjos, who was acquired in a trade this week.

Cash said Friday morning that final decisions will “come down to the 11th hour.”

That could mean this afternoon, but he technically has until noon on Sunday to make any decision official. Mallex Smith, Daniel Robertson, Nick Franklin, Jumbo Diaz and Bourjos are all players waiting to learn their fates.


Steven Souza Jr., Rays:
He didn’t have the best stat line of the game, but in the second inning, Souza hit a home run that might still be flying. The homer was his second of the spring.

Jeanmar Gomez, Phillies:
The Phillies’ closer kept the game tied at 7-7 in the ninth inning with a perfect frame. He also had two strikeouts.

Bottom/Top 4th:
The teams combined for nine runs in the frame. The Rays got three of their runs on a Tim Beckham bases-loaded triple to take a 5-0 lead. Philadelphia answered right back with five runs of their own. Andrew Knapp also plated three runs, but with a double.

Michael Russell, Rays:
He gave the Ray a 6-5 lead in the sixth inning when he hit an RBI single to score Derek Norris.

“This is actually the same locker I was in. I obviously thought about it a couple of times. With the back stiffness I had leading into this week I was thinking it would make for a bad, coincidental story.”

Rays pitcher Alex Cobb on returning to Spectrum (formerly BrightHouse) Field for the first time since tearing his UCL there in 2015.


WHEN: Sunday, 1:10 p.m.
WHERE: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg
SCHEDULED STARTERS: RH Chris Archer vs. RH Masahiro Tanaka
MONDAY: Off. TUESDAY: vs. New York, 7:10 p.m. WEDNESDAY: vs. New York, 7:10: p.m. THURSDAY: vs. Toronto, 7:10 p.m. FRIDAY:  vs. Toronto, 7:10 p.m.

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