MLB Spring Training was shortened to just 3 weeks. Position players on the Tampa Bay Rays didn't seem to mind, but most starting pitchers would have preferred to have a little more time to get ready.

Despite A Shortened Spring Tampa Bay Rays Are Ready For MLB Opening Day

MLB Spring Training was shortened to just 3 weeks. Position players on the Tampa Bay Rays didn't seem to mind, but most starting pitchers would have preferred to have a little more time to get ready.

ST. PETERSBURG, FL. – MLB Spring Training was shortened to just 3 weeks. Position players on the Tampa Bay Rays didn’t seem to mind, but most starting pitchers would have preferred to have a little more time to get ready.

Rays reliever Josh Fleming, went 4 innings on Monday and says it really wasn’t that big of a deal. Fleming, who got word that he made the club on Tuesday, thinks Rays pitchers were set to go, right from the start.

“For the most part, as a group, we were more ready than most,” Fleming said. “So we came down here, yeah it’s a shortened spring, we’re not getting nearly as many innings and workload as we normally would. At the same time, why would you? You’ve got the extra two guys the first month. So there’s really no need to rush or push the envelope, when you really don’t need to.” 

Catcher Mike Zunino says as a hitter, it would have been nice to get the extra at bats early in the spring but he feels good at the plate right now. He’s caught most of the pitchers and agrees with Fleming, that the Rays staff came down to Port Charlotte ahead of schedule.

“They take what they do so seriously,” Zunino said. They came in ready to go. The only thing I felt missing was obviously that one week of bullpens and stuff. You get to see everybody. But everyone stayed on top of what they needed to do. Came into spring ready to go. I think that’s why you’re seeing a lot of the guys have success and throw the ball extremely well.”

Rays manager Kevin Cash had to change up the way he used pitchers this spring and says the toughest part was not knowing when they were going to start because of the 99 day MLB lockout.

“I think position players wise, we really enjoyed it.,” Cash said. Pitching wise with relievers, fine. The starters, we find ways to be creative. We expected that with the condensed spring. But moving forward, if we had that communication, before the lockout ended, I think we would have been fine.”

Regardless, it all starts for real Friday when the Rays opening at home against the Orioles. Tampa Bay is coming off their first 100 win season and back-to-back AL East titles.      

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