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Notes: Rays ready for spring training games to begin

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Published:   |   Updated: March 19, 2013 at 04:14 PM
PORT CHARLOTTE -

If the Tampa Bay Rays had a theme for the day, something to print on a T-shirt to be worn around the clubhouse, it would be this: Let the games begin.

The Rays begin their 15th Grapefruit League schedule Saturday at Fort Myers against the Twins. LHP David Price is scheduled to pitch one inning. He'll be followed by a busload of relievers.

"It's good to get it going," manager Joe Maddon said. "I know we've had a great camp to this point, I've talked about it every day. I know the players are going to prefer getting back to game situations. We've gotten pretty much everything in. There's a couple of more things we want to cover, but we've gotten everything in and I thing we're ready to go."

Winning is never the ultimate goal of spring training games, yet Maddon wants the Rays to win far more than they lose since he sees a winning record as momentum into the regular season.

"That's my point," Maddon said. "I don't want us to play a different game in April than we're playing right now. We're going to come out revved up. I don't want anyone going through the motions even though it's a spring training game. I want them aggressive in everything that we do."

The Rays were 18-8-2 in 2008, 20-8-2 in 2010 and 15-14 in 2011 and reached the postseason each year. They finished 15-16-1 in the World Baseball Classic-interrupted spring of 2009.

"My goal is to maintain or the maintenance of momentum," Maddon said. "That's the best way I can describe it. I think you can feel that. You'll now if it's there or not just based on the attitude or the energy every day. I think if that's there we'll win plenty of games in the spring training setting if we have that kind of approach."

Longoria improving

The bruising was gone from the fatty part of 3B Evan Longoria's right hand but it was still swollen and that is the reason you won't see Longoria playing today in Fort Myers and why he will likely miss Sunday's game against the Twins in Port Charlotte.

"This isn't something I would anticipate keeps me out longer than a couple of days," Longoria said. "It felt better waking up (Friday). It's the same song and dance with me. As soon as I am able to get back out there I will."

Longoria was injured during Thursday's intrasquad game when he was struck on the hand by a Matt Bush fastball. X-rays taken later in the day were negative.

"It did get a little sore when I got back into the training room, and that was a little concern to me," Longoria said. "Obviously X-rays tell the truth and there were no breaks or anything. Once that worry is out of your head you let the swelling down and go from there."

Maddon said he expects Longoria to play his first game Monday against the visiting Orioles at Charlotte Sports Park.

"We already have him down (on the lineup card)," Maddon said.

Daily Moore update

LHP Matt Moore threw again Friday morning but was held out of the team's annual golf outing in the afternoon.

He said before the workout that the strain in his mid lower abdomen was pain free for a second consecutive day.

"It was a sore muscle," he said. "It's on the way to getting better."

Maddon said Moore can throw a bullpen as early as Sunday. Moore will throw two bullpens and one session of live batting practice before pitching in his first game. That's a schedule that could have Moore on the mound by the end of next week.

NOTEWORTHY

C Jose Molina is scheduled to start today's game. SS Reid Brignac is also in the lineup … The Rays have won 15 games in each of their last four spring seasons. They never won more than 14 in any of their first 10 spring seasons … Today is the first of nine games against the Twins, the most against an opponent in any spring training season. The previous high was seven against the Pirates in 2011.


rmooney@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7227

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