While the rest of the team worked on bunt fielding and base running drills on Field 4 at the Charlotte Sports Park, the Tampa Bay Rays' three full-time outfielders went retro to fill their time.
Desmond Jennings, Matt Joyce and Sam Fuld and hitting coach Derek Shelton played a spirited game of pepper in right field.
"In a way, it was a way for us to stay loose," Fuld said. "I like playing, because when you're up there hitting you kind of simplify things. You have to be real short to the baseball. So I do find there's a benefit to the hitter."
Pepper, which is prohibited in most major-league stadiums, was once a big part of practice and pregame drills. Rays manager Joe Maddon said he wouldn't mind seeing the drill make a return.
"I'm all for it. Back in the day, obviously, it was utilized more often," Maddon said. "It's about bat control, getting the fat part of the bat on the ball, following (the ball) in, utilizing your hands. A guy like Sammy should be able to benefit. It should benefit anybody. At a time I had it as a mandatory part of (training) when I was a minor-league hitting coach. Major-league level, I would like if they did it on their own volition that this is going to help, I like it. I can drive in a couple of guys if I can do this."
Don't screen him in
RHP Alex Cobb threw live batting practice Tuesday morning for the first time. Unlike most pitchers, Cobb did not want to pitch behind the protective screen.
"I don't like it," Cobb said. "All I'm trying to do is work on my fastball down, and that screen is in my head a little bit."
Cobb said he needs to extend his arm as far as possible when throwing the pitch, and he is afraid he might hit his hand on the screen.
"I know I'm not going to hit it, but it's a distraction," Cobb said.
Guyer nearly 100 percent
OF Brandon Guyer has yet to swing during live BP, but he said it has nothing to do with his left shoulder, which required season-ending surgery May 31 to repair a torn labrum, and everything to do with him still working on his timing at the plate.
"I'd say it's just about 100 percent," Guyer said. "It definitely feels strong. I'm ready to get out there and test and put it to use."
Guyer suffered the injury while hitting baseballs off a tee before a game in Toronto.
"I was doing an extension drill and it just came out on me," he said.
James Andrews, who performed the operation, inserted seven anchors in the shoulder. Guyer said his rehab went well and he is not under any restrictions this spring.
"It's a completely new shoulder," he said. "It feels great."
Speaking of shoulders
DH Luke Scott said his right shoulder, which required season-ending surgery in August 2011, is no longer an issue when it comes to hitting.
"Hitting-wise, I can get those last two inches of extension that I lacked last year. So I think that's really going to transmit into my bat head staying in the zone longer, having a little more length in my swing, not to mention a little more power," Scott said.
Scott also said his shoulder is healthy enough to allow him to play first base and the outfield. Reaching into his locker, Scott said, "Look I have all these nice, pretty gloves. It's a shame they had to sit on the sideline all last year."
A number of the regular position players remained in the field for an extra 30 minutes after Tuesday's workout to work on situational hitting. "Any time you want to emphasize something, you put it at the early part of camp," Maddon said. "Nothing heavy duty, just put it out there and get the thoughts rolling." … Maddon watched RHP Jake Odorizzi throw BP and was impressed with the rookie who came over from Kansas City in the James Shields/Wade Davis trade … LHP David Price, RHP Fernando Rodney, RHP Kyle Farnsworth, RHP Roberto Hernandez and RHP Jeff Niemann are scheduled to throw BP today.