PORT CHARLOTTE — The Tampa Bay Rays will assemble this morning on a back field at Charlotte Sports Park for the first full-squad workout of the spring. Pitchers and catchers have already had five workouts, but for some, it will truly be the beginning of spring training.
“It has a totally different feel to it,” manager Joe Maddon said of today's workout. “The day will look different, obviously, with everything going on. Not to denigrate the pitchers, but it's a much more interesting day to watch with everything going on. Getting everybody together is always exciting for the first time. You walk around, you see bigger, better bodies. You see renewed interest. You see people setting new and higher goals.
“All that stuff is always exciting. Getting out there, getting everybody used to one another is going to be fun to see.”
RHP Alex Cobb and 2B Ben Zobrist said this camp feels like a continuation of last season, because the team has remained nearly intact since last season.
Maddon said that will make it easier for he and the coaching staff to get their messages across.
“They've heard it before, they get it, and any of the new folks that are in there, they can follow them easily,” Maddon said. “The continuity component is really fun to think about.”
Cobb said earlier in camp that it took a while last season for the Rays to fully bond as a team. Maddon said he noticed that, too, hence the DJ, the band, the magician and the cockatoos in the clubhouse.
“That's why at the beginning of last season I got involved a little bit, because I wasn't seeing enough of that (chemistry),” Maddon said. “Not this togetherness that we're used to seeing.”
SS Yunel Escobar and IF Wilson Betemit are the only two position players who have yet to work out.
Price skips bullpen
LHP David Price did not throw his scheduled bullpen session Wednesday. Pitching coach Jim Hickey gave the pitchers the option of skipping one of their first three sessions this camp, and Price chose not to throw his third one.
“I'm getting wise,” Price said.
Price did throw his daily long-toss Wednesday. He said his arm feels fine. In fact, Price said it feels better than it has the past few camps. Normally, Price doesn't throw his breaking pitches until the second time he throws batting practice. He said he threw his breaking pitches during his last bullpen.
“Every pitch for me stems off my fastball. Right now, I don't feel like I've missed a whole lot of spots in my bullpen with my fastball,” he said. “My breaking stuff has been extremely well. For me, if I can find that release point with my fastball, especially early on, which is happening now, it makes all the other stuff easy.”
Price said he will throw a round of live batting practice Saturday when the hitters face the pitchers for the first time this spring.
RF Wil Myers took batting practice Wednesday with a GoPro Hero3+ camera strapped to the bill of his cap, and member of the Rays video staff watched what Myers was seeing nearby on an iPhone.
“It was pretty cool,” Myers said. “It didn't affect anything. It didn't fall off, which was good. I think it's a cool thing to put online just to see what it's like, a day in spring training.”
Fans can follow Myers' morning at raysbaseball.com.
RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo and RHP Juan Sandoval have yet to report because of visa issues.
Sandoval's work visa is being delayed because he didn't sign with the Rays until late last month. The organization has to request the work visa, according to RHP Joel Peralta,