2/19/2013 2:46 P.M. ET
Fuld ready to contribute off bench
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- If the Rays began the season today, the outfield would see Matt Joyce in left field, Desmond Jennings in center and Ben Zobrist in right.
Sam Fuld would be on the bench serving as the fourth outfielder and ready for pinch-hitting or pinch-running duties. Fuld is comfortable in a role of contributing off the bench.
"That's kind of the beauty of it," Fuld said. "You're going to be involved in the game no matter what. We'd all like to be starting a lot, but [manager] Joe [Maddon], that's one of his best characteristics, is his ability to keep everybody engaged and keep everybody active in the game and feel like they have an important role on the team."
Fuld, who has been with Tampa Bay since 2011, is confident that the organization's front office has the team headed in the right direction.
"First of all, it's tough to lose the guys that we lost," Fuld said. "That's a big hit, there's no doubt about that. In some ways, it's reminiscent of two years ago when I came over here as a newcomer and all the talk was there was this huge amount of turnover, and we lost [Carl] Crawford, [Carlos] Pena, [Jason] Bartlett and [Matt] Garza -- all these big names, and at the end of the year we were in the playoffs. At this point, you can't help but just have a ton of faith in the front office and the moves that they make."
Joyce turns to YouTube for hitting tips
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Matt Joyce put YouTube to good use during the offseason, as the outfielder called up vintage video to study the swings of some of baseball's best hitters.
"It's pretty amazing when you watch guys like Jose Bautista how they've taken what they've done and turned it around," Joyce said. "There's kind of something there to be found, and I think it comes with really studying and investing your time and effort into getting to that point. For me, I spent so much time trying to learn as much as I can. In the offseason, you have a lot of time to think and reflect, and move forward and work on things. So for me, I'm really excited. I'm looking forward to this year, and I think it's going to be a great year for us."
Joyce's pursuit dealt with his desire to emulate the best, such as Bautista, Ken Griffey Jr., Robinson Cano and Barry Bonds.
"I just spent a lot of time studying these guys' swings and what makes them so successful," Joyce said. "Right now, I'm still in the process of trying to perfect it and get all the kinks worked out. For me, it's exciting, because I feel like I can create a little more bat speed, I can be a little more balanced. And that's the name of the game, stay on the plane a little bit longer of where the pitch is and you're going to have more success."
Joyce felt as though there had to be a common ingredient among the group. Why did their bats produce things other hitters only dreamed about their bats doing?
"There's something there," Joyce said. "There has to be something that clicks that makes it work better for them. Everybody's body is different, so it's about trying to fine tune and figure out what works best for you."
Joyce came to the conclusion that position at impact looked the same among the hitters.
"The balance that they have throughout their swing is really consistent," Joyce said. "When you break it down, the swings of the successful hitters become very similar when you get around the ball in impact position. Right around there it's very similar. Getting in that position over and over and repeating it is the key."
Pitchers follow own workout routines
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- James Shields was known for his work ethic when he pitched for the Rays, and the other starting pitchers on the team would follow suit. Now that he's gone, David Price said what Shields started will continue.
"These guys, they've all had a taste of the big leagues for the most part," Price said. "We're grown men. [All of the starters] have their workouts, and that's kind of what Shields taught everyone. Get your own routine. Nobody does Shields' routine, because that works for him. I have my own routine. I'll pass it down to whoever wants it, but it might not work for them.
"That's the thing that I feel like, because being a big league pitcher, you have to find your own routine. That's what we've had the last couple of years. Everybody has their own routine and it works for them, and that's what we'll continue to do."
• Jim Hickey and his teammates from St. Anthony's Hospital -- Joe Ciaccio, Jeff Weitholter, Eric Garateix and Bill Ulbricht -- shot 55 to win first place in Monday's Rays Charity Golf Tournament, held at the Ritz-Carlton Members Golf Club in Sarasota. Jake McGee won bragging rights in the Rays' clubhouse by winning the longest drive contest.
• The Rays put in some work on situational hitting at Tuesday's workout. Maddon noted that any time he wants to emphasize something, he'll put it in early in camp "to get the thoughts rolling."
• Maddon spoke highly of Jake Odorizzi's "ability to throw the ball where he wants to," noting that the right-hander acquired from the Royals in the Shields trade had a simple delivery and a good makeup.
"He's very interesting," said Maddon.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.