CHARLOTTE COUNTY, FL – Wednesday was the first official workouts down in Port Charlotte with mostly pitchers and catchers getting their work in as Kevin Cash and Co watched intently. Young guns, new faces, and even new coaches littered the many fields at Charlotte Sports Park on Valentine’s Day. Of the 68 rostered players, 59 have already reported to camp. RHP Jake Odorizzi was among the last pitchers to report. He has been at his arbitration hearing in Arizona this week.
“Good day,” Cash said after the workouts were done. “(Yonny) Chirinos really stuck out today. He had such a good year and we never saw him. He’s a big dude.”
Not necessarily a new face to the team but making his camp debut with the Rays, RHP Sergio Romo was a bundle of excitement and very happy to be back.
“I’m glad to be back,” Romo said Tuesday. “I’m in a place where I’m wanted. They have a vision here about what they want to accomplish.”
“It’s really nice to have him back,” Cash said about Romo. “Sergio knows everybody on our roster. He even knows enough about the young guys. That is the most consistent thing he does. He’s always smiling.”
Sucre awaiting Visa resolution
The only catcher to not report to camp is Jesus Sucre. Visa issues are the hold up for the 29-year old backstop and native of Venezuela.
Second base is up for grabs
Cash has gone on record as saying there are “a lot of candidates” at second base. INF Daniel Robertson will get his time there but the second-year utility man will also get some reps in the outfield. Other players in the mix will be prospects Willy Adames and Christian Arroyo as well as newly signed veterans Micah Johnson, Ryan Schimpf, and Joey Wendle. Veteran Brad Miller, who had his 2017 season cut short by injuries, is also a strong candidate to get the majority of the time there.
Only two coaches from Cash’s staff last season return in 2018.
Hitting coach, Chad Mottola, and bullpen coach Stan Boroski are back in their same positions. New hires are third base coach, Matt Quatraro, pitching coach Kyle Snyder, and first base coach Ozzie Timmons.
Charlie Montoyo has assumed the role of bench coach while Rocco Baldelli moves to a newly created role of MLB field coordinator.
Monday, February 19th, is the first full-squad workout. The Grapefruit League opener is set for Friday, February 23rd. It will be a split-squad day as the Pirates come to Port Charlotte and the other squad travels to Sarasota to face the Orioles.
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