02/18/2013 12:03 PM ET
Odorizzi welcomes competition for rotation spot
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Jake Odorizzi made his Major League debut in September for the Royals, going 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA in two starts.
The right-hander felt good about his chances of making the Royals' rotation this season before coming to the Rays in the James Shields trade. Now the competition looks a little tougher for the 22-year-old as the rotation will contain a combination of David Price, Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore, Alex Cobb, Roberto Hernandez, Jeff Niemann, Chris Archer, Mike Montgomery (who also came over in the Shields trade) and Odorizzi.
"I think it's going to be good," said Odorizzi of his plight. "Competition always makes you better. I think I was so close last year to breaking in with the team, [that] this year, I think it's going to give me an advantage that I kind of know what it takes now.
"I kind of had the mindset to make a roster starting in the offseason. And I think it just carried over once I got traded. That's my goal here too, and if it doesn't happen, I want to be ready whenever the time comes."
The Rays have been fortunate with the health of their rotation, but that can quickly change. And as any player knows, a Major League roster is fluid over the course of a 162-game season.
"You're always going to need guys, people get injured," Odorizzi said. "I hope nobody ever gets injured. But that's the kind of thing that happens. I've had it happen to me before. It's just part of the game, really.
"I can't remember exactly the stat they told us last year in Kansas City. There's only 10 times a starting rotation has made it 162 games and nobody's gotten hurt. So whenever that time comes, you have to be ready."
Opportunity knocks for Wright to join bullpen
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Tampa Bay has historically been a place where veteran relievers could go to find a job and thrive. One of this year's candidates in Rays camp is Jamey Wright.
"Their history here, there's been several veteran guys come in and contribute pretty big time," Wright said. "For me, it's an opportunity to come in and I'm not worried about making the team or doing anything, I worried about getting myself ready to go for another season. And that's all I think about right now. If I throw the ball the way I know how, the way I'm capable of, there will be an opportunity here or somewhere else."
Wright, 38, is a 17-year Major League veteran who has a 4.89 ERA over 592 career appearances (246 starts). In 2012, he went 5-3 with a 3.72 ERA in 66 relief outings for the Dodgers. He transitioned to a full-time role in the bullpen in 2008 and has compiled a 4.15 ERA in 357 2/3 innings since then, the second-most relief innings in the Majors in that span.
Wright brings a seasoned, veteran voice to the team and he's ready to assume any role.
"I've had to come in and eat up two or three innings and I've come in and throw one pitch, get a ground ball and get two outs," Wright said. "Down [in the bullpen], unless you're Fernando Rodney or one of the guys who knows when they are pitching, it's kind of an attitude of be ready for anything. It's fun and games down there for the first few innings, but then once that certain inning hits, it's time to lock it in and get ready to go and not be caught off guard.
"That's what I try to tell all the young guys, make sure your preparation is the same every day, so when that phone rings, that's the fun part. That's the fun time. We've already done all of our preparation to get ready for what we need to do."
Wright was a first-round selection by the Rockies in the 1993 First-Year Player Draft. He has also played for the Brewers, Cardinals, Royals, Giants, Rangers, Indians and Mariners.
Scott brings in surprise
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Luke Scott told reporters on Sunday that he would have a surprise for the clubhouse on Monday.
As promised, the Rays' great outdoorsman delivered, bringing in the head of a wild boar he had killed.
The stuffed head -- complete with tusks -- sat next to his locker, drawing looks and comments from his teammates.
Scott said he used a Zulu spear to kill the animal, which he said began to charge him before meeting its demise.
• The Rays had a short workout Monday due to the club's annual charity golf tournament held at the Ritz-Carlton Members Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla. Players and coaches teamed with groups of Rays corporate sponsors to benefit the Rays Baseball Foundation.
• Righty Jeremy Hellickson smiled at teammates lamenting about the cold Monday. Early Monday morning, the temperature in Port Charlotte was in the high 30s. Hellickson, an Iowa native, said the coldest weather he remembered experiencing at home was "20 below zero."
• Reigning American League Cy Young Award winner David Price was one of the pitchers throwing to hitters in the Monday's blustery conditions. When asked if he had any sympathy for his teammates, Price replied: "Not one bit."
• Manager Joe Maddon cited righty Jeff Niemann for throwing "really well" on Monday. Righty Joel Peralta, who has been slowed by a stiff neck, pitched on Monday. While he reported that his neck still bothers him some, he felt like was to a point where he could work through it.
• Speaking of Peralta, he felt good enough Monday to dance with closer Fernando Rodney in the clubhouse to a Latin beat after the workout. Rodney finished the number by executing one of his imaginary arrow shots in the sky. For the record, Rodney allowed Peralta to lead.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.