Venters Gets First Spring Action In Five Years, Rays Fall To Twins

Win Or Lose, Great To See Venter’s Back In Action

Tampa Bay Rays
Photo by Will Vragovic/Tampa Bay Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays

Snell Shows Heat In Impressive Outing:

Blake Snell made his first Grapefruit League start and was dialed in early. According to Neil Solondz of Rays Radio, Snell’s fastball was hitting 96-97 miles per hour on the in-stadium radar gun. He worked two scoreless innings striking out four. He also remained in the center of the rubber, a change that he made last season (see below).

Cron Makes His Rays Debut:

C.J. Cron made his Rays and Grapefruit League debut and absolutely destroyed a baseball in the sixth inning to draw the Rays even with the Twins at 4-4.

He was acquired in mid-February from the Los Angeles Angels for a player to be named later. In 100 games with the Halos last season he hit .248/.305/.437 with 16 homers in 373 plate appearances. On June 21st after a sluggish start and a trip to Triple-A. He returned on July 7th and hit .267/.325/.511 with 14 homers in 244 plate appearances.

Hu Faces Former Team:

Chih-Wei Hu took over for Blake Snell.  He was acquired from the Minnesota Twins along with Alexis Tapia in exchange for Kevin Jepsen at the trade deadline in 2015.  While Tapia’s development has been halted by injury, Hu made his MLB debut in 2017.  He appeared in six games with the Rays and went 1-1 with 2.70 ERA spanning 10-innings of work.  With the Durham Bulls he appeared in 31 games (4-starts) working to a 4-1 mark with a 3.06 ERA.

Wendle Gets Start At Second:

Joey Wendle, acquired from the Oakland Athletics over the winter, is in the mix to make the roster at second base/utility.  He finished the game 1-for-3 with a RBI single. He was charged with a pair of errors.

Wendle, 27, has spent parts of the last two seasons in the majors for the A’s, batting .266/.305/.339 (29-for-109) with two doubles, two home runs and 16 RBI in 36 games (27 starts, all at second base).

Jennings Roughed Up:

Dan Jennings came in to the game in the fourth inning and allowed four runs. The big blow was a 2-run homer off the bat of Mitch Garver. He was also victimized by some poor defensive plays behind him.

The left-handed Jennings was acquired from the Chicago White Sox at the trade deadline last year. The Rays sent Chicago first-base prospect Casey Gillaspie. With the Rays last season, Jennings appeared in 29 games posting a 3.44 ERA.

Scribner Competing For Job:

Evan Scribner worked a scoreless fifth inning.  Scribner, 33, was signed by the Rays in early February and will make $800K if he makes the roster. He is in camp as a non-roster invitee. He spent the last two years with the Seattle Mariners and battled lat and flexor strains in 2016 and 2017 respectively. With the injuries holding him back he was only able to provide 21.1-innings.   In his career, he’s appeared in 145 games posting a 5-4 record with a 4.15 ERA.

Venters Appears In A Spring Training Game:

Jonny Venters appeared in his first spring training game since 2013. He’s underwent three Tommy John surgeries, but has refused to throw in the towel.  He hit 92-miles per hour on the in-stadium radar gun. He walked one batter but faced the minimum thanks to a double play ball off the bat of Bobby Wilson.

Schultz Makes His Debut:

Jaime Schultz came into the work the seventh inning and allowed a run. Last season, Schultz was one of the final cuts in spring training. He was sure to be one of the first players to be called up when needed. Unfortunately, his injured his groin(see video) in his first outing with the Durham Bulls. He also injured his knee while rehabbing the groin injury and didn’t return to Durham until July 28th. He appeared 12 games working 10.2-innings striking out 19 and walking four.

I am a fan of all sports but am most passionate about baseball. From the fanatical to analytical, nothing about the game escapes me. Being born and raised in Northeast Ohio I'm very familiar with the heartache and pain that sports can bring and hope that I bring some understanding of the other side to my coverage. I will focus mostly on baseball but also cover the Tampa Bay Lightning, one of the most electric franchises in all of sports. Always willing to converse about any sport and have only one rule and that is be respectful at all times.