Monday, March 31, 2014

17 former Biscuits on Opening Day rosters, non-Rays division

After the Rays, Biscuits fans can look to the Windy City for their former stars.

Of the 17 former Biscuits on an Opening Day roster other than Tampa Bay's, three are with the Chicago Cubs: right-handed pitchers Jason Hammel and Jose Veras and outfielder Justin Ruggiano. The Cubs also feature Montgomery County native Wesley Wright, a left-handed pitcher.

The Oakland A's, Baltimore Orioles, San Diego Padres and Kansas City Royals each have two former Biscuits on their Opening Day rosters. The A's have a third, catcher Stephen Vogt, on their 40-man roster but in the minor leagues.

Padres pitchers Dale Thayer and Alex Torres both appeared in Sunday night's season-opening victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Thayer was the winning pitcher.

James Shields was the Opening Day starter today for the Royals, though reliever Wade Davis took the loss at Detroit.

Here's a rundown of all the former Biscuits on a team's 40-man roster ...

RHP Dane De La Rosa (DL)
LHP Darin Downs
LHP Scott Kazmir
C John Jaso
C Stephen Vogt (minors)
CF B.J. Upton
RHP Jason Hammel
RHP Jose Veras
OF Justin Ruggiano
RHP Jean Machi
IF Elliot Johnson
IF Derek Dietrich
RHP Ryan Reid (minors)
C Jose Lobaton
RHP Evan Meek
OF Delmon Young
RHP Dale Thayer
LHP Alex Torres
RHP Wade Davis
RHP James Shields
LHP Kyle Lobstein (minors)
LHP Frank De Los Santos (minors)

Oh, what of the Rays, you ask? ...

RHP Chris Archer
LHP Jeff Beliveau (minors)
RHP Alex Cobb
RHP Alex Colome (suspended)
RHP Jeremy Hellickson (DL)
LHP Jake McGee
LHP Matt Moore
LHP David Price
LHP C.J. Riefenhauser (minors)
LHP Enny Romero (minors)
RHP Kirby Yates (minors)
IF Tim Beckham (DL)
IF Hak-Ju Lee (minors)
3B Evan Longoria
CF Desmond Jennings
OF Kevin Kiermaier (minors)

VIDEO: Biscuits IF-OF Taylor Motter takes BP

Biscuits infielder-outfielder Taylor Motter takes batting practice during the team's first full workout Monday at Riverwalk Stadium.

VIDEO: Biscuits OF Jeff Malm takes BP

Biscuits outfielder Jeff Malm takes batting practice during the team's first full workout Monday at Riverwalk Stadium.

VIDEO: Biscuits 3B Richie Shaffer takes BP

Biscuits third baseman Richie Shaffer takes batting practice during the team's first full workout Monday at Riverwalk Stadium.

Numerical Biscuits roster

Anybody need a numerical roster?

1: Ryan Brett, second base
2: Jake Hager, shortstop
4: Riccio Torrez, infielder
7: Joey Rickard, outfielder
8: Luke Bailey, catcher
10: Taylor Motter, infielder-outfielder
11: Braulio Lara, left-handed pitcher
12: Richie Shaffer, third baseman
13: Curt Casali, catcher
15: Dylan Floro, right-handed pitcher
16: Alejandro Segovia, first baseman
17: Andrew Bellatti, right-handed pitcher
18: R.C. Lichtenstein, pitching coach
19: Santiago Garrido, right-handed pitcher
20: Matt Ramsey, right-handed pitcher
21: Luke Maile, catcher
22: Brady Williams, manager
23: Jeff Malm, outfielder
24: Willie Argo, outfielder
25: Jimmy Patterson, left-handed pitcher
28: Grayson Garvin, left-handed pitcher
29: Jared Mortensen, right-handed pitcher
33: Cameron Seitzer, first baseman
34: Michael Colla, right-handed pitcher
36: Jake Thompson, right-handed pitcher
41: Sam Runion, right-handed pitcher
44: Ozzie Timmons, hitting coach
45: Victor Mateo, right-handed pitcher
46: Matt Lollis, right-handed pitcher

Mateo to start Opening Night for Biscuits

Victor Mateo is scheduled to be Montgomery's Opening Day starter Thursday against Birmingham.

After Mateo, the Biscuits' planned rotation goes Dylan Floro, Jared Mortensen, Michael Colla and Grayson Garvin.

Mateo is the only one of the five planned starters who was with the Biscuits at the beginning of last season. Colla joined the team in early June. The other three ended last season at high-Class A Charlotte and are making their Double-A debuts.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Breaking down Rays' top prospects by team

The Biscuits have the most crown jewels of the Tampa Bay organization to start the season.

Montgomery has six of the top 30 prospects in the Rays' system, going by Baseball America's annual preseason rankings.

Tampa Bay (1): P Jake Odorizzi (No. 1).

Tampa Bay DL (1): IF Tim Beckham (9).

Durham (4): P Enny Romero (4), OF Kevin Kiermaier (10), P C.J. Riefenhauser (23), OF Mikie Mahtook (25).

Durham DL (1): IF Hak-Ju Lee (2)

Montgomery (6): IF Ryan Brett (8), IF Richie Shaffer (13), P Grayson Garvin (16), IF Jake Hager (18), P Dylan Floro (26), C Curt Casali (29).

Charlotte (4): OF Andrew Toles (6), C Justin O'Conner (12), IF Tyler Goeddel (22), P Jeff Ames (30).

Bowling Green (2): P Blake Snell (14), C Oscar Hernandez (24).

Extended spring (4): C Nick Ciuffo (7), P Ryne Stanek (11), IF Riley Unroe (19), OF Tommy Milone (27).

Suspended (2): P Taylor Guerrieri (3), P Alex Colome (5).

Not in U.S.?? (2): P Jose Mujica (21), P Jose Castillo (28).

Traded away (3): P Jesse Hahn (15), P Felipe Rivero (17), OF Drew Vettleson (20).

Left behind

Below are the players unaccounted for when the Rays released their full-season rosters. Each was on the most-recent minor league spring roster.

Most will be at extended spring training or are rehabbing injuries, though some may have been released.

Some may be assigned to Hudson Valley right away and will report to a full-season team as an extra player. That's what catcher Luke Bailey is doing with the Biscuits and I didn't include him here. I suspect catcher Mayo Acosta is doing the same at Triple-A Durham, but I don't have confirmation, so I did list him.

Pitcher (19): Jose Alonzo, Damion Carroll, Clayton Crum, Ely Echarry, Mario Fernandez, Darren Fischer, Hyrum Formo, Enderson Franco, William Gabay, Nolan Gannon, Isaac Gil, Ben Griset, Josh Kimborowicz, Derek Loera, Jordan Norberto, Jorge Rodriguez, DJ Slaton, Ryne Stanek, Anthony Tzamtzis.

Catcher (9): Mayo Acosta, Nick Ciuffo, Wilmer Dominguez, Taylor Hawkins, Ryan McChesney, Adam Pendleton, David Rodriguez, Geoff Rowan, Sean Smedley.

Infielder (6): John Alexander, Coty Blanchard, Douglas Duran, Ariel Soriano, Cristian Toribio, Riley Unroe.

Outfielder (10): Spencer Edwards, Jeremy Hadley, Clay Henning, Bralin Jackson, Hunter Lockwood, Tommy Milone, Raul Mondesi Jr., Jose Paez, Julian Ridings, Elias Torres.

Suspended (2): RHP Alex Colome, RHP Taylor Guerrieri.

Bailey inactive; 3 others on Biscuits' DL

Catcher Luke Bailey won't be on Montgomery's active roster to start the season.

Also, the Biscuits have three players assigned to their disabled list, though all three will remain in Port Charlotte, Fla., for rehab.

Outfielder Ty Morrison is among them, along with pitchers Lenny Linsky and Jake Partridge.

EARLIER: Your 2014 Montgomery Biscuits

Your 2014 Charlotte Stone Crabs

Your 2014 Charlotte Stone Crabs ...

Pitchers (12): Jeff Ames, Kevin Brandt, Ryan Garton, Roberto Gomez, Marcus Jensen, Reinaldo Lopez, Parker Markel, Jose Molina, Austin Pruitt, Leonel Santiago, Nick Sawyer, Bruedlin Suero.

Catchers (3): Jake DePew, Justin O'Conner, Maxx Tissenbaum.

Infielders (6): Tommy Coyle, Tyler Goeddel, Hector Guevara, Patrick Leonard, Jonathan Quinonez, Leonardo Reginatto.

Outfielders (4): Kes Carter, Marty Gantt, Josh Sale, Andrew Toles.

DL (1): RHP Albert Suarez.

Your 2014 Bowling Green Hot Rods

Your 2014 Bowling Green Hot Rods ...

Pitchers (13): Luis Cabrera, Jake Faria, Aaron Griffin, Andrew Hanse, Jordan Harrison, Ian Kendall, Chris Kirsch, German Marquez, Colton Reavis, Brad Schreiber, Blake Snell, Stone Speer, Hunter Wood.

Catchers (2): Armando Araiza, Oscar Hernandez.

Infielders (6): Pat Blair, Darryl George, Juniel Querecuto, Alexander Simon, Kean Wong, Ty Young.

Outfielders (4): Yoel Araujo, Johnny Field, Granden Goetzman, James Harris.

DL (3): LHP Brandon Henderson, RHP Eduar Quinonez, RHP Jaime Schultz.

Your 2014 Durham Bulls

Your 2014 Durham Bulls ...

Pitchers (13): Matt Andriese, Erik Bedard, Jeff Beliveau, Brad Boxberger, Steve Geltz, Nathan Karns, Merrill Kelly, Adam Liberatore, Mike Montgomery, C.J. Riefenhauser, Enny Romero, Juan Sandoval, Kirby Yates.

Catchers (2): Eddy Rodriguez, Ali Solis.

Infielders (6): Vince Belnome, Wilson Betemit, Cole Figueroa, Mike Fontenot, Ray Olmedo, Robby Price.

Outfielders (4): Justin Christian, Kevin Kiermaier, Mikie Mahtook, Jerry Sands.

DL (3): SS Hak-Ju Lee, OF James Darnell, OF Jeremy Moore.

No Mayo Acosta or Jeremy Moore.

Updated with Moore being included on Durham's DL by the Rays.

Your 2014 Montgomery Biscuits

In lieu of official rosters that will be announced whenever they're announced, here again is the list of Biscuits from Saturday. There are 26 players, so one player won't be on the active roster when Montgomery begins the season Thursday.

Pitchers (13): Andrew Bellatti, Michael Colla, Dylan Floro, Santiago Garrido, Grayson Garvin, Braulio Lara, Matt Lollis, Victor Mateo, Jared Mortensen, Jimmy Patterson, Matt Ramsey, Sam Runion, Jake Thompson.

Catchers (3): Luke Bailey, Curt Casali, Luke Maile.

Infielders (7): Ryan Brett, Jake Hager, Jeff Malm, Alejandro Segovia, Cameron Seitzer, Richie Shaffer, Riccio Torrez.

Outfielders (3): Willie Argo, Taylor Motter, Joey Rickard.

FRIDAY: 20 confirmed players headed north to Biscuits
SATURDAY: Rickard also on Biscuits' 26-player list

Your 2014 Tampa Bay Rays

Here are your 2014 Opening Day Tampa Bay Rays ...

Pitchers (12): Chris Archer, Grant Balfour, Heath Bell, Alex Cobb, Brandon Gomes, Josh Lueke, Jake McGee, Matt Moore, Jake Odorizzi, Joel Peralta, David Price, Cesar Ramos.

Catchers (2): Ryan Hanigan, Jose Molina.

Infielders (6): Yunel Escobar, Logan Forsythe, James Loney, Evan Longoria, Sean Rodriguez, Ben Zobrist.

Outfielders (5): David DeJesus, Brandon Guyer, Desmond Jennings, Matt Joyce, Wil Myers.

DL (3): IF Tim Beckham, RHP Jeremy Hellickson, RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo.

Links from Biscuits-Rays exhibition

If you need to catch up on anything from Saturday's Biscuits-Rays exhibition, here are your links.

Oh, my, O'Conner: Catcher makes big impression for Rays

Notes: Comeback feeds Biscuits' hopes

Commentary: Biscuits-Rays matchup should happen more often

Desmond Jennings enjoys Riverwalk return: 'It's like home. I love it here.'

Trio of Biscuits return to Riverwalk

Exhibition a nice tuneup for Biscuits

Biscuits pride: Hometown fans watch their team beat the Rays

Joe Maddon Q-and-A -- Tampa Bay manager to youth: 'Sacrifice is a big word'

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Saturday: Biscuits 6, Rays 5

Richie Shaffer's eighth-inning flyout brought home Luke Maile and lifted the Biscuits to a 6-5 exhibition win over their parent team, the Tampa Bay Rays, on Saturday.

Maile singled and went to third Cameron Seitzer's double before Shaffer hit a long flyball to right field. Maile easily scored.

The Biscuits rallied from a 5-0 deficit in the sixth inning against pitchers who are going to be Biscuits. Three Montgomery pitchers played for Tampa Bay on Saturday.

They scored four times in the sixth, highlighted by Jeff Malm's two-run home run off Dylan Floro. Taylor Motter hit the first pitch of the bottom of the seventh for a game-tying homer off Jimmy Patterson.

Catcher Justin O'Conner was a highlight for the Rays, though he's scheduled to begin the season at high-Class A Charlotte. O'Conner hit three doubles and threw out two potential basestealers.

Rays starter Chris Archer threw four shutout innings in his final spring appearance. Archer gave up three hits with no walks and six strikeouts. He threw 34 of 52 pitches for strikes.

The Rays begin the regular season Monday at home against Toronto. The Biscuits open the year at home Thursday vs. the Birmingham Barons.

VIDEO: Rays 3B Evan Longoria

Rays third baseman Evan Longoria, who played for the Biscuits in 2006-07, checks out a new display that includes him at Riverwalk Stadium.

Saturday's lineups: Biscuits vs. Rays

Lineups for today's exhibition game between the Biscuits and their parent team, the Tampa Bay Rays. First pitch at 2:05 p.m.

Ryan Brett 2b (Riccio Torrez in 6th)
Willie Argo lf (Jeff Malm in 6th)
Curt Casali c (Luke Maile in 6th)
Cameron Seitzer 1b
Richie Shaffer 3b
Alejandro Segovia dh (Luke Bailey in 7th)
Taylor Motter rf
Jake Hager ss
Joey Rickard cf
Victor Mateo rhp

David DeJesus lf
Wil Myers rf
Ben Zobrist 2b
Evan Longoria 3b
James Loney 1b
Desmond Jennings cf
Matt Joyce dh
Yunel Escobar ss
Justin O'Conner c
Chris Archer rhp

3 Biscuits to suit up for enemy Rays

The Biscuits have three "traitors" in their midst.

Pitchers Dylan Floro, Jimmy Patterson and Jake Thompson, who each have lockers in Montgomery's clubhouse (and a Biscuits uniform hanging in front of it), will play against the Biscuits today.

They'll be in Tampa Bay uniforms for the exhibition game at Riverwalk Stadium.

Also, infielder Hector Guevara, who played for the Biscuits last year, will be on the Rays' bench.

The Rays brought six more minor league position players on the trip to augment their roster: catchers Justin O'Conner and Maxx Tissenbaum, infielders Tommy Coyle and Patrick Leonard, and outfielders Kes Carter and Marty Gantt.

Rickard also on Biscuits' 26-player list

Outfielder Joey Rickard is joining catcher Luke Maile in hurdling high-Class A Charlotte.

Rickard is also one of 26 players who have a nameplate hanging in Montgomery's clubhouse today for an exhibition game against the Rays.

The official Opening Day roster won't be set until next week, the Rays say. The Biscuits begin the season at home Thursday against Birmingham.

Rickard, part of Arizona's College World Series championship team in 2012, hit .270 for the low-A Bowling Green Hot Rods.

The other additions from Friday's list ...
RHP Santiago Garrido
1B Jeff Malm
IF-OF Taylor Motter
RHP Sam Runion
C-1B Alejandro Segovia

2004 Original Biscuits: Where are they now?

Yes, it's been 10 years since affiliated baseball returned to Montgomery and the Biscuits began.

A decade ago, a group of 26 players, three coaches and an athletic trainer made up the Original Biscuits, that first batch.

Seven of them made the major leagues and two remain. The rest are scattered throughout the country ... and beyond.

As the 10th anniversary of the inaugural game nears (despite last year's math-challenged logo), where are they now?

Closer Parker trying to get back to Riverwalk as high school coach

Cortez: Take advantage of time when you have it

DeMent's baby Biscuits growing up dancing

Montoyo big winner at Durham

A rundown of the rest (and a few other notable 2004 Biscuits, too)

Friday, March 28, 2014

20 confirmed players headed north to Biscuits

The Rays say their minor league rosters won't be ready until early next week, but there are two dozen players on their way to Montgomery right now.

We've confirmed 20 of the players who are driving north and are supposed to be in uniform Saturday when the Biscuits face the Rays in an exhibition game.

The Southern League has a 25-player roster limit and the Rays usually send extra players who won't be on the active roster. (Last year, the Rays sent 27 players with an extra pitcher and catcher.)

Half of the 20 were with the Biscuits last season, including Victor Mateo, who threw a no-hitter in his last home start.

There's also catcher Curt Casali, who hit .383 with 31 RBIs in 35 games after a late-season promotion to Montgomery.

The other (confirmed) returnees are pitchers Andrew Bellatti, Michael Colla, Braulio Lara, Jimmy Patterson and Jake Thompson, and infielders Ryan Brett, Cameron Seitzer and Riccio Torrez.

The newcomers include two recent first-round draft picks and a supplemental first-rounder.

Shortstop Jake Hager was the 32nd overall pick in 2011, while third baseman Richie Shaffer went 25th overall in 2012. Both were at high-Class A Charlotte last year.

Left-handed pitcher Grayson Garvin, a former Vanderbilt teammate of Casali's, threw 28 1/3 innings last year after returning from an elbow injury. He added 26 1/3 innings in the Arizona Fall League.

Dylan Floro, who was Tampa Bay's minor league pitcher of the year last season, is also headed to the Biscuits.

Floro was a combined 11-2 with a 1.77 ERA between low-Class A Bowling Green and Charlotte.

Catcher Luke Maile, after playing at Bowling Green last year, hurdles Charlotte and will be with the Biscuits. He hit .283 for the Hot Rods last year.

The other (confirmed) newcomers are pitchers Matt Lollis, Jared Mortensen and Matt Ramsey, catcher Luke Bailey, and outfielder Willie Argo.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Cobb's nerves were calm when dolphin asked his question

Rays pitcher Alex Cobb said his nerves weren't frayed as a dolphin swam toward him and girlfriend Kelly Reynolds in early February.

He knew the question the dolphin carried, but he was also confident of the answer.

Reynolds soon was his fiancee.

"It wasn't that bad," Cobb said. "Being in the baseball world has helped prepare me for nervous situations.

"I was more excited than nervous."

STORY: Rays' Cobb enlists dolphin to propose to Montgomery native

Reynolds didn't see Cobb take liner to head

Kelly Reynolds was Tropicana Field on June 15 when her fiance, Rays pitcher Alex Cobb, was hit in the head with a line drive.

But Reynolds didn't witness it.

She was in a suite talking to a friend and had her back to the field when it happened. At first, she wasn't aware of the details.

"He was down on the field and I waited for him to get up because I didn't know it hit him on the head," Reynolds said. "That's when they told me I needed to go downstairs."

The tears started from there. There was some relief when she first saw him and found out what he had said.

"I was so happy to see his legs moving," Reynolds said. "The trainers said he was calling for me to say to stop crying. Even in the ambulance."

STORY: Rays' Cobb enlists dolphin to propose to Montgomery native

VIDEO: Former Biscuits SS Tim Beckham

Former Biscuits shortstop Tim Beckham tore a knee ligament in a December workout and will miss 6-8 months.

Cobb: Fake breakup "didn't go over well"

Rays pitcher Alex Cobb's devilish grin hints at the havoc he wrought. Only Kelly Reynolds, a Montgomery native and his fiancee, shrugs it off.

Cobb pulled an April Fools' Day prank on Reynolds one year and faked that he was breaking up with her.

"Oh, that didn't go over well," Cobb said.

Don't tell Cobb, but Reynolds "didn't believe him."

"He laid it on way too much," Reynolds said. "And I don't think he let it go for more than a minute."

STORY: Rays' Cobb enlists dolphin to propose to Montgomery native

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

VIDEO: Biscuits RHP Jake Thompson

Jake Thompson, after two years as a starter for the Biscuits, will be a reliever this season.

NOTES: Jake Thompson takes to new role

VIDEO: Future Biscuits OF Andrew Toles

Outfielder Andrew Toles was Tampa Bay's minor league player of the year last year. He hit .326 to win the Midwest League batting title for the Bowling Green Hot Rods and stole an organization-best 62 bases.

Eierman no longer on Rays' spring list

Outfielder Johnny Eierman, a third-round draft pick in 2011, is one of four players whose name no longer appears on Tampa Bay's minor league spring roster.

Eierman, who hit .228 in 34 games last year at Rookie-level Princeton, was the 119th overall pick in 2011.

Pitchers Cory Jordan and Trevor Shull and outfielder Erick Vasquez are also not listed on the latest spring roster, which is dated Tuesday.

Jordan was a 35th-round pick last year and had a 4.00 ERA in 18 appearances at short-season Hudson Valley. Shull, a 19th-rounder in 2008, was with Bowling Green in 2012 before throwing just eight innings in the GCL last year.

Vasquez, an international signee from Venezuela, hit .179 for the GCL Rays last year.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

VIDEO: Biscuits OF Ty Morrison

Ty Morrison played in just 17 games last year for the Biscuits before having Tommy John surgery. A torn labrum and shoulder surgery followed his return in the fall.

Brother proud of Morrison's rehab efforts, mindset

Ty Morrison's brother helped the Biscuits outfielder deal with surgeries on his elbow and shoulder last year.

Mike Morrison had his own Tommy John elbow surgery in 2008 and led Ty by example.

"It's been great to see how he's carried himself and stayed positive through all of it," Mike Morrison said. "When it happened, we kept reminding him to think about the positive and encouraged him.

"We reminded him there's a plan, and it's larger than us."

Mike Morrison returned to a college track and field career and was the NCAA decathlon champion at California as a senior.

Ty Morrison was hurt last year while with the Biscuits.

"I'm so proud of the way he's handled it with such poise," Mike Morrison said. "He's close to 200 pounds now and it sounds like he's stronger than ever and he's bigger than ever.

"I can't wait to see him come back and play."

STORY: Biscuits’ Morrison follows brother’s example to deal with surgeries, rehab

VIDEO: Former Biscuits RHP Merrill Kelly

Merrill Kelly's 2013 success at Triple-A Durham led to him being invited to the Rays' major league spring training. He appears set to be part of Durham's rotation to start this year.

NOTES: Merrill Kelly expected to start with Bulls

VIDEO: Future Biscuits C Nick Ciuffo

Catcher Nick Ciuffo, the Rays' top pick in last year's draft, is expected to go to extended spring training before playing for a short-season team.

Class A work groups (position players only)

Here's how the position players were situated among the Class A groups during this morning's workout.

Ryan McChesney, Justin O'Conner
Infielders: Tyler Young, Patrick Blair, John Alexander, Juniel Querecuto, Kean Wong, Alexander Simon
Outfielders: Ty Morrison, Tommy Milone, Jeremy Hadley, Johnny Field Jr., Julian Ridings, Raul Mondesi Jr., Hunter Lockwood, Spencer Edwards, Yoel Araujo, Jose Paez, Elias Torres

Nick Ciuffo, Geoff Rowan, Luke Maile
Infielders: Alejandro Segovia, Tyler Goeddel, Tommy Coyle, Leonardo Reginatto, Ariel Soriano, Cristian Toribio, Douglas Duran, Riley Unroe, Coty Blanchard
Outfielders: James Harris, Marty Gantt, Clayton Henning, Granden Goetzman, Bralin Jackson

Ciuffo pleased with first pro spring

Catcher Nick Ciuffo says it's been a whirlwind spring, and that's not a bad thing.

The 19-year-old was the 21st overall pick in last year's draft and is experiencing his first spring training.

“I'm just learning new stuff every day,” Ciuffo said. “The biggest thing for me is trying to figure out what to do to get my body ready.”

Ciuffo hit .258 in 43 games for the GCL Rays last year. He'll be in extended spring training to start this year before joining a short-season team from mid-June through Labor Day.

“Playing 142 games is going to be a huge thing,” Ciuffo said. “That's six months of baseball. We'll see what kind of toll that takes on my body.”

Ciuffo said he missed a week of spring training with a hip strain, which he likened to stubbing a toe.

With Bedard's release, Kelly should start year at Durham

Merrill Kelly stands to begin the season at Triple-A Durham after the Rays released Erik Bedard today.

The Bulls had two pitching spots open up with Bedard's release and Alex Colome's suspension Monday. Kelly was considered on the bubble.

Bedard, a nine-year major league veteran, was a free-agent signing who had been contending for its fifth starter spot and who could opt out of his contract. That seemed likely when Jake Odorizzi won the fifth starter's role.

Kelly began last year with the Biscuits and moved up to the Bulls for what was expected to be a short stay. Kelly made the most of it, finishing 8-4 with a 3.19 ERA at Durham. He had been 5-6 with a 4.15 ERA for Montgomery.

Rays manager Joe Maddon told reporters that Bedard could return to the Rays and go to Durham if other major league teams aren't interested.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Colome suspended for steroids

Former Biscuits pitcher Alex Colome has been suspended for 50 games after testing positive for a steroid.

Colome made his major league debut and suffered an elbow injury last year.

The right-hander pitched in a minor league intrasquad game Sunday. He was to begin the season with Triple-A Durham.

Colome had a 2.25 ERA in three starts for Tampa Bay last year. He won a combined 11 games for the Biscuits in 2011-12. The 25-year-old is the 16th Rays minor leaguer to draw a drug suspension since January 2012.

As he left the field Sunday, Colome was unusually glum. Except for before the games in which he's scheduled to pitch, Colome is normally quick to smile and upbeat. He only said "Hi, how are you?" to me before looking back to the ground.

VIDEO: Former Biscuits LHP Enny Romero

Enny Romero said it took two phone calls before he believed that the Rays were bringing him to the majors last September.

FULL STORY: Enny's major league campaign included computer plea
NOTES: Baby big step for pitcher Sawyer

Hak-Ju Lee to sit for 3-4 weeks

Shortstop Hak-Ju Lee will miss up to a month with a left calf strain, the Rays said today.

Lee, who was hurt Saturday in a Triple-A exhibition game, missed most of 2013 after tearing ligaments in his left knee. The recent injury is unrelated to last year's injury, the Rays said. He'll be out three to four weeks.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

VIDEO: Future Biscuits RHP Taylor Guerrieri

Pitcher Taylor Guerrieri is one of Tampa Bay's top prospects, though he's out until at least July after Tommy John surgery last year.

VIDEO: Former Biscuits LHP C.J. Riefenhauser

Former Biscuits reliever C.J. Riefenhauser is set to return to Triple-A Durham this season. Tampa Bay added him to its 40-man major league roster this offseason.

Riefenhauser didn't stare at phone for 40-man call

C.J. Riefenhauser didn't alter his daily offseason grind the day he hoped the Rays would call.

Knowing the team would finalize its offseason 40-man roster, Riefenhauser hoped he'd be on the list, but he didn't want the suspense, either.

"I didn't want to get my hopes up, to get too hyped," Riefenhauser said.

He went to the gym that morning and hung out with family that afternoon. He avoided MLB Network and didn't check out

"Just a normal day," Riefenhauser said. "I didn't want to get let down. I stuck to my plans and kept my same routine."

STORY: Riefenhauser's stock continues to soar
NOTES: Figueroa stands behind his Gators

Saturday, March 22, 2014

VIDEO: Biscuits 3B Riccio Torrez

Biscuits third baseman Riccio Torrez on recovering from last season's broken hand and his offseason at home, which included watching his alma mater, Arizona State.

MORE: Biscuits' Torrez swinging free and easy after hand injury

Lee's injury not serious, Rays say

Shortstop Hak-Ju Lee's knee injury isn't considered serious, Rays manager Joe Maddon told reporters. Lee suffered no swelling and is expected to return soon, Maddon said.

Lee out with apparent knee injury

Shortstop Hak-Ju Lee left a Triple-A game with an apparent knee injury today.

Lee was taken from the field in a golf cart with an apparent left knee injury. That's the same knee that suffered torn ligaments in April 2013 with Triple-A Durham. He missed the remainder of the season.

Lee successfully stole third base and stayed on the ground, writhing in pain.

The severity of today's injury wasn't immediately known.

Garcia also released by Rays

Relief pitcher Nate Garcia has also been released by the Rays. He had 13 saves and a 3.48 ERA in 54 1/3 innings at high-Class A Charlotte last year. Garcia was a 16th-round draft pick in 2010.

Triple- and Double-A work groups

Here's who was on the Triple- and Double-A fields during this morning's workout.

Though this may be each player's current work group, it's obviously no assurance that's where they'll be when the regular season begins.

Also, I give no guarantee that I didn't miss anyone. Second, someone could be filling in for the major league game and isn't listed. Third, those pitching today may have already gone in, too.

The high-Class A position players had finished by the time I got through the high-level guys. However, their pitchers were still engaged in some fielding practice.

These are listed in the order I wrote them on my notepad. (Scientific method?)

Catchers: Ali Solis, Eddy Rodriguez, Keith Castillo, Curt Casali
Infielders: Cole Figueroa, Vince Belnome, Ryan Brett, Cameron Seitzer, Hak-Ju Lee, Ariel Soriano*
Outfielders: Kevin Kiermaier, James Darnell, Mikie Mahtook, Justin Christian, Jeremy Moore, Jerry Sands
Pitchers: Alex Colome, Jeff Beliveau, Steve Geltz, Kirby Yates, Juan Sandoval, Merrill Kelly, Adam Liberatore, Brad Boxberger, Enny Romero, C.J. Riefenhauser, Matt Andriese, Mike Montgomery

Catchers: Geoff Rowan, Luke Bailey, Luke Maile, Jake DePew
Infielders: Alejandro Segovia, Jeff Malm, Robby Price, Jake Hager, Hector Guevara, Taylor Motter, Riccio Torrez
Outfielders: Willie Argo, Josh Sale, Andrew Toles, Joey Rickard
Pitchers: Santiago Garrido, Andrew Bellatti, Jake Thompson, Braulio Lara, Sam Runion, Sergio Perez, Michael Colla, Jimmy Patterson, Jake Partridge, Jared Mortensen, Victor Mateo, Matt Lollis, Matt Ramsey, Lenny Linsky, Dylan Floro, Grayson Garvin

*--Soriano went through drills with the Triple-A group, but joined the Double-A's for batting practice.

Pitchers: Parker Markel, Kevin Brandt, Ryne Stanek, Trevor Shull, Austin Pruitt, Chris Kirsch, Jeff Ames, Nick Sawyer, Andrew Hanse, Taylor Guerrieri, Isaac Gil, German Marquez, Ely Echarry, Ian Kendall, Jacob Faria, Stone Speer, Derek Loera, Colton Reavis, Blake Snell, Reinaldo Lopez, Marcus Jensen, Cory Jordan

Fleming among 5 no longer in Rays' minor league camp

Marquis Fleming, a reliever with the Biscuits the last three seasons, is no longer in spring camp with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Fleming, 27, is one of five players whose name no longer appears on Tampa Bay's spring minor league roster. The latest roster is dated Friday.

The other deletions: pitchers Ryan Carpenter, Shay Crawford and Rick Teasley and infielder Travis Flores.

Carpenter was 7-6 with a 4.67 ERA and was a midseason All-Star at high-Class A Charlotte last year. The left-hander was a seventh-round draft pick in 2011.

Crawford had a 1.34 ERA in 53 2/3 innings for the Stone Crabs last season. Teasley was a 23rd-round pick last year and had a 2.61 ERA in 17 games for two short-season teams.

Flores, a first baseman, hit .179 in 50 games at Princeton in 2013. The 11th-round pick in 2010 didn't play in 2011 or 2012.

Fleming was 4-7 with a 5.18 ERA in 92 innings for Montgomery last year. In 123 appearances the last three years with the Biscuits, the right-hander was 13-16 with a 4.20 ERA.

Friday, March 21, 2014

VIDEO: Former Biscuits OF Kevin Kiermaier

Kiermaier kept quiet after taking Rays' call

Kevin Kiermaier, after being told to keep his major league promotion a state secret, gave only one person an early tip.

Though he was told Aug. 29 that he would the Rays the next day, Kiermaier gave his big brother the news early the next morning. He called his mom from the airport ... after arriving in Arlington, Texas.

After debuting in Game 163 for the Rays, Kiermaier said he found 109 text messages on his phone.

MORE: Kiermaier hopes 163 isn’t his only lucky number

Guerrieri moving through rehab

Taylor Guerrieri has a different look this spring.

First, he'll be marooned in Tampa Bay's rehab program until at least late July -- "but that's without any setbacks" -- after Tommy John surgery last year.

"It's a process," Guerrieri said, "and it's a long process."

Guerrieri, the Rays' No. 1 draft pick in 2011, stayed in Port Charlotte all winter for rehab. He said he's throwing every other day. He makes 50-60 throws each time out and is up to 15 throws from 120 feet.

"I had to take a step back," said Guerrieri, who was at low-Class A Bowling Green when he went down. "And this is a great time to work on my mechanics."

Second, if that matters, after sporting hair that leaned out of the back of his cap a year ago, he's sporting a closely cropped look. He did it as part of the Rays' annual haircut cancer benefit.

Guerrieri has to serve a suspension for a positive drug test. He'll serve that while rehabbing from the surgery.

Maddon on depth: "Durham should be happy"

Rays manager Joe Maddon slyly heaped a load of expectations on the Durham Bulls and manager Charlie Montoyo.

The Rays, before Friday's spring game with Toronto, still had 35 players in their major league camp.

Whittling the list to 25 for the start of the regular season is a chore, he said.

"There are some really good baseball players out there who are making it hard," Maddon said. "Whatever we choose, there's going to be a lot of depth in Triple-A, too.

"Durham should be happy."

Maddon said he and general manager Andrew Friedman had already "had some singularly good discussions" over the roster. He expects to have it settled soon.

"It's all Andrew's fault for putting this together," Maddon said. "It's a sign of how good a job our scouting department has done. There are so many good players out there."

There are still seven non-roster invitees in camp. Pitcher Erik Bedard has said he will opt out of his contract rather than go to the minors. Catcher Mayo Acosta, who was with the Biscuits last year, isn't a threat to make the Rays.

There are six players still in camp who can't be sent to the minors without the Rays having to risk losing them. They're out of minor league options, according to

Outfielder Brandon Guyer spent all of last season at Durham. Pitcher Josh Lueke spent most of the season with the Bulls. The other four -- pitchers Chris Archer, Jake McGee and Cesar Ramos and outfielder Matt Joyce -- were mostly (or entirely) in the big leagues last year.

Latest roster still has all on board

I've arrived in Port Charlotte for the final days of the Rays' minor league spring training.

First duty every year: check the latest minor league roster.

The most-recent roster is dated March 12, a mere four days later than the initial minor league roster, and there have been no deletions.

Monday, March 10, 2014

3 of 2013 draft signees not in Rays camp

Three of last year's draft signees -- all pitchers -- aren't in Tampa Bay's minor league spring camp, either.

(It is not unusual for a player to report only to extended spring training, which won't begin for another month.)

Roel Ramirez, an eighth-round pick from a Texas high school, had a 5.86 ERA in 27 2/3 innings with the GCL Rays last year.

Harmen Sidhu, a 20th-round college senior draftee, made just two appearances at Hudson Valley. John Farrell, a 21st-round college senior, started three games for Hudson Valley.

Those no longer with Rays

Here are the departed, those who were on a Rays minor league roster (U.S.-based teams only) at the end of last season who aren't in camp this spring, for whatever reason.

Matt Buschmann
Frank De Los Santos
J.D. Martin

Craig Albernaz
Leslie Anderson
Jason Bourgeois
Jesus Flores
Mike Fontenot
Evan Frey
Rich Thompson

Jeff Beliveau
Carlos Fisher
Jake Floethe
Erik Hamren
Austin Hubbard
Victor Mateo
Matt Nevarez
Neil Schenk
Joe Van Meter

Robi Estrada
Todd Glaesmann
Kyeong Kang
Shawn O'Malley
Steve Tinoco

Drew Vettleson

Matt Spann

Ryan Dunn
Brandon Martin

Justin Choate
John Farrell
Tyler Gauthier
Darryl George
Chris MacDonald
Harmen Sidhu

Ben Kline
Julian Morillo
Omar Narvaez

Oscar Armenta
Edgar Gomez
Stepan Havlicek

Leopoldo Correa
David Garcia
Chad Nacapoy
Enmanuel Paulino

Yomelbin Almonte
Freddy Alvarez
Jose Castillo
Chris Crisostomo
Geisel De La Cruz
Eric Fredrick
Andres Gonzalez
Jesse Hahn
Jhefferson Hurtado
Jose Mujica
Ruben Paredes
Roel Ramirez
Yael Regalado
Wilking Rodriguez

Ryan Henley
Hector Montes
Adderly Rosa

2014 minor league Rays spring roster

Here's the 134 minor league campers for the Rays, as of Saturday. This list will not include the players cut from major league camp Saturday. I've listed them below with the team where they finished last year.

Pitchers (68)
Jose Alonzo, GCL
Jeffrey Ames, Bowling Green
Andrew Bellatti, Charlotte
Kevin Brandt, Bowling Green
Luis Cabrera, Charlotte
Ryan Carpenter, Charlotte
Damion Carroll, GCL
Michael Colla, Montgomery
Shay Crawford, Charlotte
Clayton Crum, Princeton
Ely Echarry, Hudson Valley
Jacob Faria, Princeton
Mario Fernandez, Princeton
Darren Fischer, Princeton
Marquis Fleming, Montgomery
Dylan Floro, Charlotte
Hyrum Formo, GCL
Enderson Franco, Greeneville (Astros)
William Gabay, Hudson Valley
Nolan Gannon, Princeton
Nate Garcia, Charlotte
Ryan Garton, Bowling Green
Grayson Garvin, Charlotte
Isaac Gil, Hudson Valley
Roberto Gomez, Charlotte
Aaron Griffin, Hudson Valley
Ben Griset, Hudson Valley
Taylor Guerrieri, Bowling Green
Andrew Hanse, Bowling Green
Jordan Harrison, Bowling Green
Brandon Henderson, Bowling Green
Marcus Jensen, Bowling Green
Cory Jordan, Hudson Valley
Ian Kendall, did not play (injured?)
Josh Kimborowicz, Princeton
Chris Kirsch, Hudson Valley
Lenny Linsky, Charlotte
Derek Loera, Hudson Valley
Matt Lollis, San Antonio (Padres)
Reinaldo Lopez, Bowling Green
Parker Markel, Charlotte
German Marquez, Princeton
Jose Molina, Bowling Green
Jared Mortensen, Charlotte
Jordan Norberto, Sacramento (A's)
Jacob Partridge, Charlotte
Jimmy Patterson, Montgomery
Sergio Perez, Puebla (Mexico)
Austin Pruitt, Bowling Green
Eduar Quinonez, Bowling Green
Matt Ramsey, Charlotte
Colton Reavis, Hudson Valley
Jorge Rodriguez, Princeton
Leonel Santiago, Wilmington (Royals)
Nick Sawyer, Bowling Green
Brad Schreiber, Hudson Valley
Jaime Schultz, Hudson Valley
Trevor Shull, GCL
D.J. Slaton, Princeton
Blake Snell, Bowling Green
Stone Speer, Bowling Green
Ryne Stanek, did not play (2013 draftee)
Albert Suarez, Montgomery
Bruedlin Suero, Bowling Green
Rick Teasley, Hudson Valley
Jake Thompson, Montgomery
Anthony Tzamtzis, Hudson Valley
Hunter Wood, Princeton

Catchers (15)
Armando Araiza, Bowling Green
Luke Bailey, Charlotte
Keith Castillo, Montgomery
Nick Ciuffo, GCL
Jake DePew, Charlotte
Wilmer Dominguez, Princeton
Taylor Hawkins, GCL
Oscar Hernandez, Bowling Green
Ryan McChesney, Hudson Valley
Justin O'Conner, Bowling Green
Adam Pendleton, GCL
David Rodriguez, VZL Rays
Geoff Rowan, Bowling Green
Sean Smedley, GCL
Maxx Tissenbaum, Fort Wayne (Padres)

Infielders (28)
John Alexander, Hudson Valley
Pat Blair, Hudson Valley
Coty Blanchard, Princeton
Ryan Brett, Montgomery
Tommy Coyle, Bowling Green
Douglas Duran, Princeton
Travis Flores, Princeton
Darryl George, Hudson Valley
Tyler Goeddel, Bowling Green
Hector Guevara, Charlotte
Jake Hager, Charlotte
Patrick Leonard, Bowling Green
Jeff Malm, Charlotte
Taylor Motter, Charlotte
Robby Price, Montgomery
Juniel Querecuto, did not play (injured)
Jonathan Quinonez, Charlotte
Leonardo Reginatto, Bowling Green
Alejandro Segovia, Charlotte
Cameron Seitzer, Montgomery
Richard Shaffer, Charlotte
Alexander Simon, GCL
Ariel Soriano, Hudson Valley
Cristian Toribio, GCL
Riccio Torrez, Montgomery
Riley Unroe, GCL
Kean Wong, GCL
Tyler Young, Hudson Valley

Outfielders (23)
Yoel Araujo, Princeton
Willie Argo, Charlotte
Kes Carter, Charlotte
Spencer Edwards, Princeton
Johnny Eierman, Princeton
Johnny Field Jr., Hudson Valley
Marty Gantt, Bowling Green
Granden Goetzman, Hudson Valley
Jeremy Hadley, GCL
James Harris, Hudson Valley
Clayton Henning, GCL
Bralin Jackson, Princeton
Hunter Lockwood, Princeton
Tommy Milone, Hudson Valley
Raul Mondesi Jr., did not play (injured)
Ty Morrison, Montgomery
Jose Paez, GCL
Joey Rickard, Bowling Green
Julian Ridings, Hudson Valley
Josh Sale, did not play (suspended)
Andrew Toles, Bowling Green
Elias Torres, Princeton
Erick Vasquez, GCL

Rays' minor league exhibition schedule

Tampa Bay's minor league exhibition games begin Wednesday, and here is the schedule for the Triple- and Double-A games.

12 Orioles
13 at Orioles
14 Twins
15 Red Sox
16 camp day
17 at Twins
18 Red Sox
19 Twins
20 at Red Sox
21 at Orioles
22 Orioles
23 camp day
24 at Twins
25 at Red Sox
26 Orioles
27 Orioles
28 at Twins

The Class A games are at the opposite site. For example, while the Rays host the Triple- and Double-A games Wednesday, the Class A games will be at the Orioles.

On March 29, the Triple- and Double-A teams do not play. However, the Class A teams host the Red Sox.

The Orioles are based in Sarasota, while the Red Sox and Twins are in Fort Myers.

If you don't know, the Rays are in Port Charlotte. What is a camp day? That means a morning workout and afternoon off.