Tampa Bay Rays Wiretap
Matt Joyce is ready for Tampa Bay to give him an everyday job.
"He finally feels comfortable in his major-league skin; he knows he belongs here," Joe Maddon said. "He knows he can do this."
Joyce made 63 starts last season.
Rays starter James Shields is making some changes in hopes that he'll have a bounce-back season in 2011.
Shields went 13-15 with a 5.18 ERA last year.
"You look back at last year and forget about it -- that's over with," he said. "You obviously try to make adjustments to fix what you might have done wrong and try to implement those adjustments in Spring Training so that you can start the season off strong. I had great offseason workouts and my body feels tremendous now. I just need to move forward. I feel really good."
Picking apart his mechanics, Shields pinpointed that falling off the mound during his delivery and landing on the outside of his plant foot contributed to the ball arriving high and fat.
Thus, he incorporated some different things during his offseason workouts to address his mechanics.
"I implemented a little more of the biomechanics of my pitching and just really worked on the strength of my core and the stability of my legs," Shields said. "I think that's going to help out a lot."
B.J. Upton is ready for a breakout season after re-adjusting following shoulder shoulder back in 2009.
"I had to make some adjustments to my swing because of the surgery," Upton said.
"When you're trying to find that happy medium, that comfort level, it's kind of tough if it's not in place before the season starts. I think trying to make adjustments on the fly during the season is a little bit tougher than coming into Spring Training knowing what you have to do and kind of running with it."
Upton made headlines in 2008 when he hit seven home runs in 16 postseason games, tying the AL record for homers in the playoffs.
"B.J., God, there is so much there," manager Joe Maddon said. "There is so much there."
Carl Crawford apologized Friday for failing to mention the Rays during his introductory news conference with the Red Sox in December.
Crawford, who that day described his decision to sign with the Red Sox by saying "because my heart is here in Boston," said he struggled to speak and hopes the omission isn't a sore spot with the Rays players, fans or front office.
"My throat was hurting so bad, and I tried to limit myself to as few words as possible," Crawford said. "If I made a few people upset, I'm sorry about it.
"Everybody knew I loved Tampa when I was there. I had a good time there. It's just at the press conference, I was overwhelmed by cameras, and I'd never been in this kind of situation before. And it just kind of slipped my mind."
Manny Ramirez showed up for camp with the Rays five days early.
"I just have a chip on my shoulder," Ramirez said. "I want to get here and get my stuff right and show people I can play."
After hitting 37 home runs with 121 RBIs in stints with the Red Sox and Dodgers in 2008, he had just 28 home runs and 105 RBIs with the Dodgers and White Sox in '09 and '10, which has led some to speculate that Ramirez is near the end and has something to prove this season.
"I think every year you gotta go out there and have something to prove, because you like to compete," Ramirez said. "I think every player during the offseason prepares to have a great season. We love to compete, and it doesn't matter what you did last year and you've got to prove yourself. It doesn't matter who you are. You have to go out there and keep showing what you can do."
Manager Joe Maddon likes the possibilities of Ramirez playing with "a chip" on his shoulder.
"It means it could be a very exciting day for the Rays," Maddon said.
Rays Feb 2011 Archive