Notes: Rays move workout inside
Manager Maddon emphasizes controlling running game
ST. PETERSBURG -- Manager Joe Maddon had to alter Sunday's workout because, in his words, "the hawk came."
Translation: Strong winds made working out outside pointless.
But not all was lost. The Rays worked on defensive drills for their catchers, some of the pitchers threw inside, and those who didn't throw were part of a discussion about controlling the running game.
Maddon said the first step toward controlling the running game is to begin a dialogue with the pitchers and catchers about how to control it.
"I'm adamant about it," Maddon said. "I can see the looks in their faces; they're involved in this."
Maddon plans to meet Monday with the group of pitchers who were not privy to the discussion Sunday.
New guy: Right-hander Scott Dohmann is one of the newcomers in camp trying to earn a spot in the Rays' bullpen.
Dohmann was signed to a one-year Major League contract in January after splitting 2006 between the Rockies and Royals, pitching in a career-high 48 games, all in relief. The 28-year-old had a combined record of 2-4 with a save and a 7.08 ERA.
The Rays like Dohmann's arm, but there are things he needs to work on to win a spot.
"The changeup and fastball command is what I need to work on," Dohmann said. "At the end of last season, I got a little tired. [I] got a little erratic with the fastball command as far as putting it where I wanted to put it. The velocity has always been there, but as everybody knows, it's not the velocity; it's locating at this level. So if there's one thing, it's probably fastball command -- the slider and changeup key off of that."
Dohmann believes he has a great opportunity with the Rays.
"There's a lot of talent in here, it's a young team," Dohmann said. "But coming in and knowing there's a lot of opportunity -- not a whole lot of guys established in bullpen roles -- [we need to] take advantage of it for what it's worth."
Starting rotation: Barring injuries, Maddon is firm about the first four pitchers in his starting rotation at the outset of camp.
"The first four guys are easy to talk about -- [Scott] Kazmir, Casey [Fossum], Jae Seo and [James] Shields," Maddon said. "The fifth starter appears to be among several candidates: Edwin Jackson, Brian Stokes, J.P. Howell, Jason Hammel and [Jae Kuk] Ryu, our new acquisition. So we have about five guys vying for the fifth spot. The other four guys have pretty much been placed, except if Casey is held back for any particular reason. That's what it kind of looks like at this point."
Lineup not yet set: While the Rays seem to be moving toward an established everyday lineup, they aren't there just yet, according to Maddon.
"It's hard to really at this point say that [we'll have a set lineup]," Maddon said. "There's going to be a lot of competition this spring. I'm really open to that competitive aspect of Spring Training. I think we probably have more names to choose from. ... I'd like to have a set lineup, yes; that's what I've always said. Do we have one yet? I'm not quite sure."
Looking at the bullpen: The Rays' bullpen was much-maligned after the 2006 season, when it averaged 15.01 baserunners and 10.55 hits per nine innings -- both of which were the worst in the Major Leagues. But Maddon feels like the team has some good candidates for the bullpen this spring.
Looking at the bullpen: The Rays' bullpen was much-maligned after the 2006 season, when it averaged 15.01 baserunners and 10.55 hits per nine innings -- both of which were the worst in the Major Leagues. But Maddon feels like the team has some good candidates for the bullpen this spring, mentioning Ruddy Lugo, Chad Orvella, Seth McClung, Shawn Camp, Al Reyes, Jeff Ridgway and Jon Switzer.
"Coming in here last year, we had some nice names, but some of them were truly inexperienced," Maddon said. "... There are so many guys, and we're only going to go with six or seven, obviously. The competitive nature of this camp may win a job."
Maddon still considers the bullpen to be, in a term he likes to use, "amorphic."
"There's no defined particular positions yet," Maddon said. "If we get somewhat more defined roles before the end of camp, that would be great; and if we don't, then we'll start off the season basically the same as we had the end of last year, and I'm OK with that."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.