03/05/2013 3:15 PM ET
Hernandez continues to make strides in return
By Jonathan Mayo / MLB.com
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- His name might be different, but Roberto Hernandez is trying to prove this spring that his stuff is just as good as it used to be.
Hernandez was known to everyone as Fausto Carmona when he established himself with the Indians, finishing fourth in the 2007 American League Cy Young Award voting and going to the All-Star Game in 2010. It was discovered he wasn't Fausto Carmona, but was actually Roberto Heredia Hernandez and was three years older than initially thought. He missed nearly all of 2012 as a result before the Indians declined their option on him for 2013.
In stepped the Rays, signing Hernandez to a one-year deal and throwing him into a competition for a spot at the back end of the rotation. The right-hander made his third outing of the spring on Tuesday against the Twins, allowing one run over 2 2/3 innings while striking out three.
Hernandez cruised through his first two frames against Minnesota, working quickly and doing what he does best: inducing ground balls. He got two ground-ball outs in the fourth, sandwiching a strikeout between them. In the fifth, he issued one of his two walks, but he also struck out one and picked up another ground-ball out.
"He's even better than I had remembered," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "First of all, I didn't know he was that big. He's very strong, he's very big. From the side, you can see the movement on the ball. Combine that with the velocity, he's had a lot of success."
The ground-ball outs are nothing new for Hernandez. He carries a career 58.5 percent ground-ball rate into the 2013 season, according to Fangraphs.com. In that '07 season, it was 64.3.
"He puts the ball on the ground. I'm seeing all that stuff right now," Maddon said. "That's why he's so interesting. I think he's very motivated right now. He likes being here. All those things are positives. It's been fun to watch. He's very interesting."
Rays to resume 'Fortune Favors the Bald' initiative
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- It's time, once again, for the Tampa Bay Rays to come clean. Clean shaven, that is.
On Tuesday morning, manager Joe Maddon sent out the following tweet announcing the second "The Fortune Favors the Bald" effort by the club:
We're shaving our heads again to support Pediatric Cancer Foundation. 3/15 vs. PHI. Donate $100 at fastercure.org & you can join us.- Joe Maddon (@RaysJoeMaddon) March 5, 2013
The effort began last spring, when more than 70 members of the Rays -- players, coaches, the manager and executives -- all shaved their heads to raise money for and pay tribute to children battling cancer. Principal owner Stu Sternberg not only had his head shaved, he made a $25,000 donation to the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer and Research Institute, where he serves on the board of advisors.
"I thought it was one of the more pertinent moments in our organization since I've been here, seeing everybody together doing that," Maddon said. "I was standing up top watching it unfold after I was done, and I was impressed with the moment."
The Rays want the moment to get bigger. Last year, the event was almost entirely organization-related, with few fans joining the buzz-fest. They'd like that to change. Donate $100 and get your head shaved with the Rays and get one of those "The Fortune Favors the Bald" shirts, this time in blue (last year's was gold/yellow).
"It's something for us to continue to build upon and keep it rolling, get more fan support," Maddon said. "Last year, the awareness factor wasn't there for the fan base. There's a little more time to get that done."
Then Rays fans can find out what members of the organization did a year ago: Initial fear about having a shaved head gave way to relief and sometimes even an embracing of a new look.
"Last year was revealing in a sense," Maddon said. "We didn't look as badly as we thought we were going to look. Guys kind of dug it. Beyond that, it's about the cause."
Scott, Fuld dealing with mild hamstring issues
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Luke Scott continued to show improvement on his left hamstring, though he did not make the trip to Fort Myers for Tuesday's game against the Twins.
Scott came out of Sunday's game with tightness in his hamstring after running following his lone at-bat in the game. He continued to receive treatment on Tuesday morning, and manager Joe Maddon reported that it appeared the designated hitter was on the mend.
"He was all spry this morning," Maddon said. "There's nothing new, except he's fine. It probably will be just after the day off that you see him again. I don't think it's long. I don't think it's much further down the road, but I'm not 100 percent sure to tell you."
Outfielder San Fuld has been dealing with a sore right hamstring as well. He went 1-for-2 in Sunday's game, but didn't make the trip to Fort Myers on Monday to play the Red Sox or on Tuesday to face the Twins. It's not expected to be a long-term issue.
"Sam was a little sore in his hammy as well," Maddon said. "Nothing awful, just precautionary type stuff."