Zach Eflin makes good first impression with Rays after big deal Baseball and Rays return to Tropicana Field four weeks early

The most expensive free agent in Tampa Bay history made a good first impression on the Rays.

Zach Eflin struck out three of the four Minnesota Twins batters on Thursday in his first spring practice start, a game played at Tropicana Field. The right-hander signed a three-year, $40 million deal during the offseason, the most the Rays have given a free agent.

“I felt very good,” Elfin said. “I felt like I was in control of the situation. I felt like my off-speed was pretty good today, which is a good base to start with.”

Eflin started last season in the Philadelphia rotation, but his last start was on June 25 before he was ruled out with pain in his right knee. He returned on September 14 and made seven games out of the bullpen with a 1.17 ERA before making 10 postseason relief games for the National League champions. He threw 4 1/3 scoreless innings in four World Series games.

His 2021 season was cut short due to a patellar tendon tear in his right knee, requiring surgery. He underwent surgery on both knees in 2016, the same year he made his major league debut with the Phillies.

Eflin joins Rays rotation that includes an All-Star left-hander Shane McClanahan and right-handed Drew Rasmussen. Tyler GlasnowThe 6-8 right-hander is expected to miss six to eight weeks with an oblique injury.


Infielder Dodgers Miguel Rojas told reporters that he is pulling out of the World Baseball Classic with Venezuela because he wants to focus on his role as a likely starting shortstop for Los Angeles.

34-year-old expected to get more playing time after injury Gavin Luxwho tore a ligament in his knee this week and missed the season.

“It’s definitely heartbreaking that I can’t go and participate with Venezuela,” Rojas said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “The reason is that a new opportunity has opened up for me – the opportunity to play every day in the shortstop.”

Rojas said he would likely get more bats in the spring with the Dodgers than in his expected utility role with Venezuela.

Rocky Mountains

It was a double dose of less than encouraging news for the Colorado Rockies on Thursday.

Manager Bud Black said the second baseman to win the Golden Glove Brendan Rogers He may need surgery after he dislocated his left shoulder while diving for an Earthling in the middle of Wednesday’s spring practice game.

Black also said that the feeder is left-handed Lucas Gilbreth is dealing with an elbow problem and may face Tommy John surgery.

Rodgers was third overall for the Rockies in 2015. He hit .266 last season with 13 homers and 63 RBIs.

“This setback is hard,” Black said of Rogers. “I really think he was ready for the big year. I think he was in great shape, he was in a good mood psychologically, confident in himself. Everything was pointed in the right direction for success. And now it’s a failure.”


The Pittsburgh Pirates weren’t successful in a 9-1 exhibition loss against the Yankees until Matt Frazier led in the bottom of the ninth inning with an infield single from right-hander non-innings Matt Bowman, the ninth pitcher from New York .

Frazier was erased for a double play, but Maggie’s Drew scored a goal in the Pirates’ only run.

Each Yankees pitcher threw one inning. The top five included guys from the list of 40 people, with starting Lou Trivino followed by Wanda Peralta, Clay Holmes, Albert Abreu And Jimmy Cordero.

Yankee top prospect Anthony Volpe started the game with a homer. Rafael Ortegawho played for the Chicago Cubs for the past two seasons, hit a two-run homer for an RBI triple.


Well, it was a quick 1-2-3.

It only took Peralta about 20 seconds to hit Pittsburgh. Tucupita Marcano in three steps. The Yankee southpaw, who has always been known for breaking hitters’ timing, can now take advantage of the new pitching hours.

“It’s right in his lane,” said Yankee manager Aaron Boone. “It just gives him something else to fiddle with.”

After a fast 85 mph slider that a seemingly surprised Marcano mistook for a hit, he swung and missed a 94 mph slider before watching an 86 mph speed change that was dubbed the third hit. to finish the second inning.


infielder rough smell started at second base for the Padres on Thursday after completing the minor league deal.

Manager Bob Melvin said Odor will get the opportunity to play in practice this spring as the Padres are short of infielders, especially with the upcoming World Baseball Classic.

If Odor is added to the roster of 40, he will receive an $800,000 one-year contract.

Odor, a lefty hitter, batted .207 in 135 games for Baltimore last season, after a year with the Yankees and seven with the Texas Rangers. He has a career batting average of .231, 174 home runs and 550 RBIs in 1,095 games. He also has 1,008 strikeouts and 252 walks.

SOME SICK PLAYERS – Red Sox Catcher Connor Wongis predicted to be a backup of the starting Reese McGuireinjured his left hamstring in Boston’s 15-3 win over Philadelphia.

“Things aren’t looking great right now, but hopefully we’ll get better news on[Friday]morning,” Boston manager Alex Cora said.

– Closed another prospect of catching the Yankees.

Josh Brough won’t be shooting for a week or two with an elbow problem after suffering discomfort while shooting earlier this week. This happened to Austin Wells for six to eight weeks with a broken rib.

Ben Rortvedt is out indefinitely after undergoing surgery for what Yankees manager Aaron Boone called “an aneurysm in his posterior artery” near his left shoulder. Rotevedt is one of three catchers on New York’s 40-man roster, along with the All-Star and Golden Glove winner. Jose Trevino and backup Kyle Higashioka.

Races infielder Yandy Diaz out for at least a week with a hip flexor injury. Diaz hit .298 with nine homers, 57 RBIs and 71 runs last season. He was fifth in the majors with his .401 on-base percentage.


It was a different kind of pitch when a right-hander from Minnesota Kenta Maeda made just his second spring start since returning from Tommy John surgery two seasons ago.

Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said the trap of PitchCom’s devices Tony Walters was loud enough for the Tampa Bay hitters to hear every pitch called. Home court umpire Brennan Miller heard them all over the wireless system used by pitchers and catchers to communicate.

Maeda still threw two scoreless innings, allowing two hits. He struck out two and walked one.

“I said well done,” Baldelli said. “By the way, it should be noted that they knew about every step that was coming.”

Maeda laughed when his manager told him what had happened.

Baldelli said the device in Walters’ ear was significantly louder than usual, and it was not very loud at the domed Tropicana Field, where a 2,531 crowd was claimed.

A transformation with the referees after the second half alerted Baldelli and adjustments were made to the arrangement.


Spring practice games in Arizona were played on a Thursday when temperatures were barely in the mid-50s (Fahrenheit). Temperatures in and around Phoenix are forecast to be closer to 60 degrees by Friday, but that’s still nearly 5 degrees below the average high for the first week of March.

ST. SAINT PETERSBURG, Florida. Baseball came early to Tropicana Field this year.

Four weeks before the start of the season, the Races against Detroit, Tampa Bay and Minnesota practiced rock music in preparation for Thursday’s spring practice game at the Race’s home stadium.

The Rays’ spring training is split between ESPN’s Wide World of Sports facility in Kissimmee and Tropicana Field because their own compound on Florida’s Gulf Coast was damaged by Hurricane Yan in September. After practice and one game at Disney against the New York Yankees, Tampa Bay moved their operations to St. Petersburg, with the rest of their spring practice home games scheduled at the domed stadium.

“It’s nice,” said Rays manager Kevin Cash. “I am very happy to be here, in awe of what Disney has turned out to be. I hope everyone understands that it’s nice to spend an extra month in the stadium and in your own bed.

Rays infielder David Robertson noted that playing at Tropicana Field provided a “cool” opportunity for players who weren’t at the stadium. It also gives them a chance to live the life of a major league in spring training.

“The guy is kind of knocking on the big league door to get a feel for it,” Robertson said. “The setting, the roof, the lawn. Hey, my goal is to play here someday.”

Before the game, there was a moment of silence in memory of those who died during Hurricane Ian.

Zach Eflin, who signed a three-year, $40 million contract with Tampa Bay as a free agent, started in front of an announced crowd of 2,531. Tickets cost $19 and all the fans sat in boxes.

“That’s interesting,” Eflin said. “I’ve only performed here two or three times. I know the fans are coming, but today it was a little different, it was like crickets. You could hear your own thoughts and stuff, but it’s spring training, it’s still early.

Average home attendance in Tampa Bay in 2022 was 13,927, the third-lowest in the major leagues behind Miami and Oakland.

A number of adjustments were made to prepare Tropicana Field.

The Rays use two clubs for nearly 80 players in camp. Team meals are served in the Media Dining Room, which can be reached by lift from the club level.

Practice is also scheduled at nearby Huggins-Stengel Field, where the New York Yankees’ Babe Ruth and the Mets’ Darryl Strawberry and Doc Gooden took part in spring training.

“We’ll make it work,” Cash said. “Lots of moving parts, but I’m sure we’ll get the hang of it pretty quickly.”

Staying at home allows players to feel comfortable in regular season accommodation instead of moving…


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