by Steve Carney
The Tampa Bay Rays wrapped up their first week of Spring Training with the pitchers and catchers continuing bullpen sessions and fielding practice.
"It's just like camp, as you want it to go as perfectly as you can get it to in your head," pitcher Jake Odorizzi said. "Everyone's still excited, camp's going great."
Thee 22-year-old, acquired in the James Shields trade, also sees a difference with how manager Joe Maddon handles these early bullpen sessions.
"He's really hands-on, and you don't see that from too many managers," He's always in the bullpen with us. Talking about catchers, talking about this and that, but it's awesome."
Maddon attributes his approach to his time playing in the game.
"I was a catcher," the Rays skipper said. "As a manager, probably the most important thing you do on a daily basis is to understand and utilize your bullpen well. You make lineups, you know who your starters are going to be, but the difference between winning and losing consistenly is your bullpen."
FULD, OTHERS ARRIVE: Five more position players reported Friday for their first workout of the spring in advance of Sunday's first full-aquad workout. Outfielders Sam Fuld and Rich Thompson, infielders Ryan Roberts and Mike Fontenot, and first baseman Leslie Anderson.
Currently just five players have not reported to camp yet: DH Luke Scott, SS Hak-Ju Lee, SS Yunel Escobar, OF Shelley Duncan, and RHP Dane De La Rosa.
SATURDAY'S SCHEDULE: Pitchers and catchers will have an abbreviated workout Saturday morning starting at 8:45 at the team's complex in Port Charlotte before heading to Rays Fan Fest at Tropicana Field.
Scheduled autograph times
10:30-11:30: Jason Bourgeois, Tim Beckham, Leslie Anderson, Cole Figueroa, Nick Weglarz, Rich Thompson
11:30-12:30: Wil Myers, Yunel Escobar, Kelly Johnson, Sean Rodriguez, Shelley Duncan
12:30-1:15: Chris Archer, Criag Albernaz, Cesar Ramos, Jake Odorizzi, Shawn O'Malley, Frank De Los Santos, Josh Lueke, Matt Joyce
1:15-1:45: Evan Longoria, Matt Moore, Jeremy Hellickson, Don Zimmer, Jose Molina
1:45-2:30: Jake McGee, Chris Gimenez, Kyle Farnsworth, Jeff Niemann, Jose Lobaton, Robinson Chirinos, Alex Colome, Mike Montgomery
2:30-3:00: Ben Zobrist, Fernando Rodney, Luke Scott, Desmond Jennings, David Price
3:00-3:45: Mike Fontenot, Matt Buschmann, James Loney, Felipe Rivero, Will Inman, Enny Romero, Alex Torres, Sam Fuld