by Steve Carney
The Tampa Bay Rays held their final full practice of the spring before the start of the 2013 Grapefruit League, with the position players first practicing popups before the final session of live batting practice thrown by pitchers, including Alex Cobb, Jeremy Hellickon, Matt Moore, and Jake McGee.
Manager Joe Maddon says theextended length of Spring Training has been an asset.
"I do like the pace of the WBC Spring Training," Maddon said after Thursday's practice. "You don't feel rushed to do anything, which I feel is good. A lot of people bemoan the length of Spring Training. They think it's too long. I don't think so. I like the length of Spring Training."
Second baseman Ryan Roberts believes the spring helps build chemistry.
"There's just a few things guys like to do for me personally," Roberts said. "There's a few things I like to do when turning double plays. Basically, taking ground balls in repetition, getting a feel for people, with a few minor details. It's pretty standard."
PRACTICES WRAP FRIDAY: The team will finish up the practice portion of Spring Training Friday morning with an abbreviated workout at their complex in Port Charlotte. Position players will work on cut-offs and relays before taking batting practice from coaches. The final practice will start at 9:30 and end at 11:25. The session will be held on the stadium field at Charlotte Sports Park, and will not be open to the public.
STARTING PITCHING SCHEDULE:
February 23 vs. Pittsburgh - Roberto Hernandez vs. Jeff Locke
February 23 at Boston - Enny Romero vs. TBA
February 24 at Minnesota - Chris Archer vs. TBA