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Rays Lose To Pirates Sunday, Face Yankees Tonight

Spring Training has almost come to a close and opening day starter David Price had his last start of the offseason on Sunday. Price went four innings with five hits, three strikeouts and only one earned run - decent work. He would leave the game in Rule 5 pick Cesar Cabral's hands with a 3-1 lead.

Stepping in, the 22 year old Cabral had a lot on his plate. There seems to be but one position left available in the bullpen and Cabral will be sent back to the Red Sox minor league system unless he earns a place on the 25 man roster. Unfortunately, Cabral would surrender three runs over the next two innings on five hits. On the bright side, Cabral did have four strikeouts, all swinging (a positive sign, meaning he has the stuff to fool batters). The young Dominican still stands a chance to join the roster as a LOOGY, or Left handed specialist One-Out GuY. As a left handed pitcher who can get strikeouts, he may be good for one or two outs when the situation arises. Cabral also didn't find himself in trouble until his second inning pitched, where he game up two hits hits and a walk as he blew the lead. His main competition is the (slightly) more experienced Cesar Ramos, who joined the Rays in the Jason Bartlett trade.

Also from that trade was Adam Russell. He and closer hopeful rookie Jake McGee each pitched a scoreless inning with one strikeout after Cabral left the game. The Rays came back to tie the game in the top of the ninth with a solo shot from catcher John Jaso. It's encouraging to see Jaso in the game and performing well, he suffered a groin contusion last week on a foul ball and the worry remains he will start the season on the disabled list. 

Nevertheless, the Pirates would walk away with the win. In the bottom of the ninth, Rays minor league infielder Daniel Mayora committed a throwing error from third to first, allowing a man on second to find his way home. 

Game Notes:

  • Catcher Kelly Shoppach and utility man Ben Zobrist hit solo homeruns in the game, each player's fourth longball of the spring.
  • B. J. Upton started the game with a lead off walk. Upton has been tagged by many to lead off for the Rays against left handed pitching. Getting on base and speed make a lead off man very valuable, let's hope for future patience and/or contact from Bossman in the future!

The Rays will take on the Yankees at 7:05pm in Tampa's Steinbrenner Field. James Shields will take the mound for his final start of the spring against A. J. Burnett. Sheilds will be the Rays number two starter, and will make his debut Saturday against the Orioles.

Jake McGee and Adam Russell are expected to appear as well. The test will be to watch their performance in back-to-back games as the season gets close.

We will add an update when tonight's starting line-up is announced.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.