Jeff Niemann, thought to be an avid hunter, had a dry offseason, netting just one turkey over the winter, but he also put aside his hunting wares to work on his pitching.
The right-hander, a Biscuit way back in 2005-06, was recovering from a series of injuries that cost him much of 2012.
A line drive broke Niemann's leg in May. With the Rays in a pennant race, Niemann hurridly returned in September. One 3 1/3-inning appearance later, he was shut down with shoulder inflammation.
"We were pushing it to the limit every day," Niemann said. "There was no time for anything but moving forward."
Niemann, for the third time in five years, is in a spring training battle for a spot in Tampa Bay's rotation. A decision looms Friday.