03/03/11 1:00 PM ET
Siegal to toss batting practice for Rays
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
Siegal will honor the memory of Christina-Taylor Green, the 9-year-old killed in Tuscon, Ariz., in January and the granddaughter of former Major League manager Dallas Green by wearing Christina's Little League's memorial patch.
Siegal threw to the Indians on Feb. 21 and the A's on Feb. 23; she has yet to visit the Grapefruit League.
Yanks-Rays rivalry in full bloom for Maddon
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Rays and Yankees squared off Thursday in the first of four meetings between the teams this spring.
Rays manager Joe Maddon likened the budding rivalry to a football rivalry from his hometown of Hazleton, Pa.
"Like Hazleton and West Hazleton," Maddon said. "Talk about not being able to sleep at night. Talk about 12,000 people, half of them rooting for [Hazleton] and half of them for [West Hazleton] on a muddy, muddy field that we accused West Hazleton of wetting down on purpose to slow us down. We still won, 20-7. But it's got that kind of vibe to it now. Like Thanksgiving morning when you wake up and know you're going to play the Wildcats. It's pretty cool."
The Rays visit the Bombers' Spring Training home in Tampa, Fla., on March 17 and March 28, while the Yankees return to Charlotte County on March 21. The teams are scheduled to meet 18 times during the regular season. The Rays went 2-1 vs. the Yankees last spring, winning the lone game at Charlotte Sports Park, 6-2, before posting a 10-8 mark against the Yankees in 2010, just their second winning season against them (11-8 in 2005).
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"We've played them 103 times the last three years, haven't we?" Maddon said. "We play them every other week. And we've had some really interesting battles, and I think it's really become pretty thick. A lot like Hazleton and West Hazleton."
When Joe Girardi was asked about there being a rivalry, the Yankees manager replied: "What they've done the last three years and how talented this group is and our Spring Training being in Tampa, I believe it is a rivalry."
Torres to get start for Rays against Twins
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Alex Torres will start Friday's "A" game against the Twins in Fort Myers, Fla.
Torres, 23, came to the Rays from the Angels along with infielders Sean Rodriguez and Matt Sweeney in exchange for left-hander Scott Kazmir on Aug. 28, 2009. Manager Joe Maddon said he looked forward to seeing the southpaw pitch, noting that he has good stuff, but it's a matter of Torres trusting his stuff.
"You get him to that point, and he'll take off," Maddon said.
Torres spent the entire 2010 season with Double-A Montgomery, going 11-6 with a 3.47 ERA in 27 starts. He was named to the Southern League midseason All-Star team.
He led the Southern League with 150 strikeouts, which fell three shy of the Biscuits' record held by Andy Sonnanstine (153 in 2006); he ranked second in the Rays' system in strikeouts behind Minor League leader Matt Moore (208).
Maddon likes Johnson's look at first
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Dan Johnson has not won the starting first-base job, but manager Joe Maddon said he has the right disposition to be an everyday player.
"He can have some bad days in a row -- it's not going to rattle his confidence," Maddon said.
Maddon also feels like Johnson's swing fits that of an everyday player in that it's "loose and free" and doesn't vary much -- mechanically -- from day to day.
Johnson totaled 37 home runs, 118 RBIs and 100 walks in 138 games between the Rays and Triple-A Durham in 2010. He earned a number of Minor League honors, including International League Most Valuable Player, International League midseason and postseason All-Star and Rays Minor League Player of the Year. He has hit 159 Minor League home runs.
From the training room
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Outfielder Sam Fuld (sore left elbow) said he's feeling better. ... Catcher John Jaso (stiff right hip) reports he is feeling fine, but he'll likely sit for a day or two; look for B.J. Upton to hit leadoff in his absence. ... Infielder Elliot Johnson (left quad tightness) is expected to be out a week.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.