The Rays play only themselves today in minor-league exhibition games. Jeff Niemann will start in one game in perhaps his final audition for the major-league fifth starter's job. He and Jason Hammel have battled all spring.
The Triple-A's face the Double-A's and the two Class A's square off.
Drew Anderson (fresh addition from Reds)
E. Johnson, 2b
(They're mixing it up enough that I've given up on an order.)
Niemann F-8, K, K in 1st
2nd: perfect with a Kc, capped by a backhanded Brignac dive and throw from his knees.
3rd: Matulia single erased by 6-4-3.
5-out 4th: two hits, one erased when Jennings tried for a double. Niemann's day done.
Or not. Niemann back for 5th.
5-out 5th: 2 hits, including Mollicone double. Kc Jennings to end it.
5 innings, but 19 outs; 4 hits allowed, 6 Ks, no walks. "It was a good start," Niemann said. "I felt good with all my pitches."
Niemann also, once again, refused to acknowledge the greatness of the SEC. :)