Fuld And Johnson Make Case For Roster Spots, Rays Win 6-3

Projected backups Sam Fuld and Elliot Johnson led the Rays offense to victory, going a combined 5 for 6 with 4 steals.

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Sam Fuld And Elliot Johnson Aim For Roster Spots

Benefiting from what may have been the most incredible display from a pair of backups this spring, the Rays beat the Marlins 6-3 today. Elliot Johnson and Sam Fuld went a combined 5 of 6, with 4 steals, 4 RBI, 4 runs scored and a pair of doubles.

Fuld, recently acquired from the Chicago Cubs in the Matt Garza trade, projects as the Rays fourth outfielder. He earned a reputation, while in Chicago, as a daring defender, but the Rays also like his patience at the plate and speed on the base paths. Today, he happily displayed the latter two, going 3 for 3 with a double and a steal.

Elliot Johnson, who is also contending for a bench role with the 2011 Rays, went 2 for 3 with a double and — amazingly — 3 steals, including a steal of home off former Ray Randy Chaote in the 6th inning.

Both players are out of options, so they would need to pass through waivers to return to AAA, but they still might need to impress the Rays leadership in order to find themselves in Tampa this April.

On the pitching side, bullpen candidate Cory Wade tossed almost 3 innings of solid work, allowing only 1 run (on a homer to John Buck) while striking out 4. Rob Delaney, also looking for one of the last bullpen spots, pitched two and a third shut out innings, collecting one strikeout on the way.

The Tampa Bay Rays will be in action again tomorrow at 7:05 pm EST as they take on division rival New York Yankees.


Rays And Marlins Face Off As Spring Training Continues

Spring Training has now passed its halfway point, with 15 days remaining until regular season play. Today, the Rays will oppose Chris Volstad and the Florida Marlins in Jupiter, Florida.

Here is today's lineup, per Marc Topkin:

John Jaso C
E. Johnson CF
Manny Ramirez DH
Matt Joyce RF
Jose Lopez 3B
Casey Kotchman 1B
Sean Rodriguez 2B
Reid Brignac SS
Sam Fuld LF
Cory Wade P

Wade Davis will not be taking the mound, also per Topkin, because he is suffering from the flu. In his place, Cory Wade, one of the many bullpen contenders, will start things off, followed by Cesar Cabral, R.J. Swindle, and Rob Delaney.

The Rays also recently cut a number of players, including bullpen candidates Dirk Hayhurst and Matt Bush, as well as catcher Robinson Chirinos and outfielder Desmond Jennings.

Radio: Available through MLB.tv
MLB Gameday link: here

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