There is officially less than two weeks to go before baseball is back in Port Charlotte. Pitchers and catchers report for the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday, February 14th at Charlotte Sports Park in Charlotte County. It opens the 20th Spring Training for the Rays and the third for Kevin Cash as manager. The first full squad workout will be Sunday, February 19 with 59 players reporting including 19 non-roster invites.
Some interesting things to note heading into this exhibition season:
- Only three players on the current 40-man roster made their Rays debut prior to 2013. Evan Longoria (2008), Alex Cobb (2011), and Chris Archer (2012).
- Only four players on the 40-man are over the age of 30. P Eddie Gamboa (32), Longoria (31), OF Colby Rasmus (30), and P Xavier Cedeno (30).
- Last spring, the Rays led the Grapefruit League in doubles with 68 while their pitching staff ranked fourth in MLB with a 3.78 ERA.
- Since 2008, the Rays have three Grapefruit League titles (2008, 2010, 2014).
More important dates to keep in mind this spring:
- Saturday, February 4th from 11a-4p: RAYS FAN FEST at Tropicana Field.
- Friday, February 24th @ 7:05 PM: Rays v Twins from Hammond Stadium in Lee County to open the Grapefruit League slate.
- Wednesday, February 25th @ 1:05 PM: Rays Grapefruit League home opener v Pirates from Charlotte Sports Park.
- Wednesday, March 8th @ 6:35 PM: Rays host the Columbia World Baseball Classic team from Charlotte Sports Park.
- Sunday, March 19th (pre-game): For sixth consecutive year, the Rays players and coaches will shave their heads in support of Pediatric Cancer Foundation’s “Cut for a Cure” program.