FORT MYERS — RF Wil Myers, mired in a spring-long slump, said he woke up Tuesday morning thinking he was going to have a good game, and he did.
Moved to the leadoff spot by manager Joe Maddon in an effort to “give him a different look,” Myers responded with doubles in each of his first three at-bats.
That ignited a 20-hit barrage for the Rays in an 11-3 victory against the Twins.
“Just got some good pitches and put some good swings on them,” Myers said.
He had just four hits in 26 at-bats entering the game, none for extra bases.
“See if it makes a difference,” Maddon said before the game. “Many times it does, as you know in the past. I know it’s spring training, but we’re getting to the end and I want him to feel good about himself going into the season.”
Maddon has used the same tactic in the past with OF Matt Joyce and former 1B Carlos Peña.
“Try easier, stay in the middle (of the field), get on base, utilize your skills, that kind of stuff,” Maddon said. “I want him to just think differently.”
Myers doubled to right-center field leading off the game.
“My first fly ball of the spring as well,” he said. “It was good to put a good swing on it.”
Myers pulled a double down the left field line in the second inning. He scored in each of his first two at-bats and drove in a run with his third double. He was more pleased with the double down the line.
“It was a breaking ball, and I was able to stay inside it,” he said. “I think that was honestly my best at-bat, even thought it didn’t look like it.”
Moore feels stronger
RHP Matt Moore hit 96 mph with his fastball during his 4ª innings Tuesday.
Moore walked six and allowed four hits and a run. He threw 96 pitches, 48 strikes.
“Everything did feel good minus the six walks, a solid day,” Moore said. “Those are definitely a black mark on today and something we’re continuing to address.”
Moore said he was more aggressive and felt strong, as evidenced by his increase in velocity. But he wasn’t happy that four of those six walks came with two outs.
“That’s terrible,” he said.
Price to pitch sim game
LHP David Price will pitch a simulated game Friday rather than face the Blue Jays. The move also allows LHP Erik Bedard the opportunity to get one final start before the Rays settle on a fifth starter.
Price, who threw 91 pitches Sunday in 6 2/3 innings against the Red Sox, will aim for 105 pitches in eight innings. He will scale back the workload March 26 when he faces the Orioles in his final start before facing the Blue Jays on Opening Day.
“He’s in pretty good shape right now, physically,” Maddon said about the decision to not have Price pitch in a minor league game.
RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo, who pitched 10 minutes of live BP on Monday, is expected to make his spring debut Friday. ... UTL Sean Rodriguez (left hamstring) played a minor-league game Tuesday and is expected to start in the infield this afternoon against the Orioles. ... RHP Joel Peralta struck out two in 1 ß innings Tuesday in a minor league game. LHP Jake McGee allowed one hit, an unearned run, one walk and one strikeout in one inning, and RHP Josh Lueke allowed one hit and struck out one in one inning during the same game. ... Former Rays SS Jason Bartlett played center field Tuesday night for the Twins. He made a running, diving catch to rob CF Desmond Jennings of a hit to end the sixth inning.