LAKELAND DH Luke Scott headed to Port Charlotte on Friday morning to get as many as eight at-bats in a minor-league game and predicted that “barring a setback” he will be ready for Tuesday’s Opening Day.
He had a setback.
Scott left the game after his first at-bat because of tightness in his right calf, went for an MRI and will likely begin the season on the disabled list.
“We’ll probably have to make some kind of decision or move,” manager Joe Maddon said after the Rays’ 8-3 loss to the Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium.
The Rays will first try to establish how many games Scott will miss. The injury will be back dated to Sunday, the day after his last game, which will make him eligible to come off the disabled list April8.
If it is indeed short-term, the Rays will call up a player already on the 40-man roster, with C Chris Gimenez, OF Brandon Guyer and C/OF Stephen Vogt on the short list.
If the Rays believe Scott will be out a few weeks to a month, they could add a non-roster player such as OF/1B/DH Shelley Duncan or OF/1B Leslie Anderson. That move will require removing a player from the 40-man roster and designating him for assignment, a move that comes with the risk of losing that player.
As it is, the Rays will DFA a 40-man player by Sunday to make room on the major-league roster for RHP Jamey Wright.
“We build this whole thing in the offseason to look a certain way and rely on different guys to be in different spots, and right out of the chute we have to do something differently,” Maddon said. “But I think we’re covered. I like the spare parts. I don’t know how that’s going to work yet, but I have a lot of faith in our guys and feel really good about them.”
Scott’s production in 2012 was hindered by season-ending shoulder surgery the previous August. He made two trips to the disabled list. But Scott came to camp this season pronouncing his shoulder 100 percent healthy and looked good at the plate. He was able to drive the ball to the opposite field and pull the ball to right field with some power. He hit .324 with three home runs and nine RBIs.
He did miss time with a tight hamstring suffered while running the bases March 3, an unusually cold day in Port Charlotte. This latest injury, he said, was the result of drinking too much water and not enough fluids that could replenish his electrolytes.
“He was looking good up until this point,” Maddon said.
RHP Jeremy Hellickson, in what was supposed to be a four-inning tune-up for his first start of the regular season, allowed eight runs on seven hits, including a double, triple and three home runs, in three innings Friday against the Tigers.
“I’m pretty disappointed,” Hellickson said. “That’s not how I wanted to go into the season. I feel good. I’m healthy, but I’m mainly disappointed in today.”
Hellickson had pitched well in his previous two starts, facing the Tigers in Lakeland and the Yankees in Tampa.
“I felt great the last two outings,” he said. “The command was right where I wanted it to be. That’s what’s pretty frustrating about (Friday). I thought I was right where I wanted to be. It was one of those days.”
Maddon would have liked to have seen a better outing from his No. 2 starter, but didn’t seem overly concerned.
“He’s healthy. He’s fine. He’s well. That’s all that matters,” Maddon said. “They got on some pitches. He was up. He didn’t have his best stuff, obviously. Against this particular lineup Detroit has, you cannot make many mistakes. They can flat hit.”
RHP Alex Cobb will pitch four innings Sunday in a minor-league game. … Tickets for today’s game with the Tigers at Tropicana Field are $15. There will be general admission seating in the field level. Gates open at 11:40 a.m. LHP Matt Moore, RHP Jamey Wright, RHP Kyle Farnsworth, RHP Joel Peralta, LHP Jake McGee and RHP Fernando Rodney are scheduled to pitch. … OF Sam Fuld hit his first home run of the spring Friday, a two-run shot to right field. … LHP Cesar Ramos pitched two scoreless innings.