PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Of the 5,982 fans at Charlotte Sports Park, there was one who could potentially have a much more vested interest in the home team this summer.
Gustavo Cabrera, one of the top international amateur talents eligible to become a professional when the signing period begins on July 2, was on hand in the midst of working out for the Rays on the back fields.
The 16-year-old Dominican outfielder recently completed a tour of Florida and Arizona Spring Training sites, playing games with the Dominican Prospect League for scouts here in the United States.
"It happened previous to the DPL team getting to Florida," said DPL president and co-founder Brian Mejia, who is accompanying Cabrera on this visit, of setting up the workouts. "We arranged it through the international scouts. They said they wanted to get some extra looks. They asked if we could come after we were done in Arizona, so we put it together."
Cabrera and his five-tool potential took light batting practice on Friday with the Rays' Double-A squad (the A-level teams were on the road) and Mejia thought he held his own. He'll take BP again on Saturday, as well as showing what he can defensively in outfield drills. There's also a chance he'll run a 60-yard dash. The trip will culminate on Sunday, when Cabrera will participate in a simulated intrasquad game.
The Rays were the only team to arrange a private workout for Cabrera in the U.S. But Mejia said that "back home, we have various teams that want to get him to their academy."
It's expected Cabrera could fetch a bonus in the $1.5-2.5 million range. With the new rules for the international market, all 30 teams will have the same pool -- $2.9 million - for international signees in 2012.
Fuld injures wrist, adds to Rays' OF woes
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Rays already have two ailing outfielders. They certainly didn't need a third.
That's exactly what they got when Sam Fuld was forced to leave Friday night's game against the Blue Jays. Batting with two outs in the bottom of the third, Fuld swung and missed to end the inning. Fuld, who was starting in center field, immediately bent over and then crouched, in obvious discomfort. He was replaced defensively by Jesus Feliciano, and the initial diagnosis was a sore right wrist.
It was the same wrist Fuld hurt last September, and he spoke to reporters wearing a splint and looking discouraged. He will go to Tampa to have an MRI on Monday, at which point the Rays and Fuld will have a better idea of just how long he'll be out of action.
"I'm in a familiar little spot," Fuld said. "I would say it's not quite as painful as it was last year. It was the same thing that tweaked it last September, swinging and missing. I was out front of a changeup. That's the sort of pitch that did it in September. When you're out front, you hold on with that bottom hand, and that's what caused the injury initially."
Fuld's wrist has been a minor issue all camp and he said he'd been receiving treatment for it throughout, as well as taking precautionary measures like limiting his batting practice swings to try and protect it.
"I don't think it was ever completely at 100 percent. I was trying to play with a little pain. I was confident I'd be able to grind it out a little. We've been treating it all through camp. Today was the most painful it's been this spring. It's bad timing. It's really frustrating and disappointing."
Fuld joins Desmond Jennings (shoulder) and B.J. Upton (back) as the walking outfield wounded. Upton, who wasn't able to play on Friday, has been out of action since March 14, save for a couple of at-bats in a Minor League game on March 20.
"He was unable to go," manager Joe Maddon said. "He didn't participate. It's going to be a couple of more days, but [trainer Ron Porterfield] feels like he's still on track for the beginning of the season. But right now, it's still a day-to-day issue."
Jennings did play in a Minor League game Friday afternoon. It won't be a performance he'll write home about -- he struck out three times in four at-bats -- but at this point it's more about where he is physically than what his line in the box score would be.
"No line drives involved," Maddon said. "I think he punched out three times, but nevertheless, felt really good about it."
Maddon is still optimistic he'll have his starting outfield intact on Opening Day, an April 6 home date against the Yankees. They might not be at full strength, but they should be in the lineup if things continue to progress as they have.
"They're going to be physically ready to play," Maddon said. "I'd like to be able to get them more game-ready to play, getting them more at-bats, getting them in more situations on the bases, having them make throws, things like that.
"Those are the issues that I'm a little bit bothered by. They can't play a regular kind of game to get ready and be truly at that point. They may be at a deficit, a little bit, but I think they shall be ready to play the opening of the season."
Price works breaking ball back into arsenal
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- It appears that the next phase of David Price's preparation for the 2012 season has been completed. Beyond just getting stretched out to 85 pitches and into the sixth inning, Price brought his breaking ball to the mound for the first time on Friday night.
"It's the first time I threw a curveball in a game," Price said. "I liked it. I threw it quite a bit. For the most part, it was down. I threw one up for a ball, but other than that it was down in the zone. I got some swings and misses, so I liked it today."
Price gave up two runs in 5 2/3 innings, allowing five hits and two walks while striking out five. Results aside, it appears the left-hander is right where he should be at this point of the spring.
"I thought David was really good," manager Joe Maddon said. "I thought he threw a lot of good breaking balls, he had a good fastball. He used his entire arsenal."
And Price handled the rigors of the extra work, not to mention a long inning or two, without any issue. Next up: 105 pitches in his next outing, which likely will be his penultimate one this spring.
"My body feels good. My arm feels good," Price said. "I feel pretty close to where I need to be right now. Me and Jose [Molina] were working on some things today. That's what Spring Training is for, working some kinks out, making sure your body is ready."