03/07/2013 5:24 PM ET
Lee could be Rays' future shortstop
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
BRADENTON, Fla. -- Hak-Ju Lee, 22, came to the Rays in the trade that sent Matt Garza to the Cubs. A gifted fielder, Lee spent all of 2012 at Double-A Montgomery, and he is set to be the shortstop at Triple-A Durham this season.
Though he seems to be equipped with the tools to be a Major League shortstop in the field, he needs some work on his offense. He hit .261 with four home runs and 37 RBIs at Montgomery last season, but he struck out 102 times in 475 at-bats.
"I know I need to work on my offense," Lee said. "I need more power, and I need to make more contact -- hit line drives."
In that vein, Lee added 10 pounds to his 6-foot-2 frame. He now weighs 193 pounds, a weight at which he'd like to remain during the season.
"I'm really excited about the season," Lee said. "I'm ready to show them what I can do. I just work on my routine."
Rays manager Joe Maddon said that Lee has been a half a tick off this spring.
"He's a little bit behind," Maddon said. "I don't know how much he had a chance to work this winter in Korea. He's fine, though. He just needs more reps."
Maddon also noted that he really likes Lee.
"If you watch his hands and his release, how he throws the baseball, it's very, very good," Maddon said. "This guy's still a big part of our future. He's a great kid."
Roster mostly set, Maddon still considering options
BRADENTON, Fla. - Heading into the start of Spring Training, there didn't appear to be too many jobs up for grabs. After several weeks of camp, that situation has not changed.
Rays manager Joe Maddon acknowledged the fact that most everything concerning the roster has been decided, save the No. 5 starter, the backup catcher and perhaps a bullpen piece or two. Nevertheless, Maddon pointed out that any situation can change.
"Something can happen during the course of this camp, so you want to stay on top of what's going on with the guys right now," Maddon said. "It is about depth. We have nice depth."
Maddon noted that once the Minor League season starts, he stops trying to influence which players might be brought up during the season. This view was derived through his experience working on the developmental side with the Angels. It frustrated Maddon when the Major League club dictated which Minor League players were called up, even though the developmental staff had more expertise based on watching those players perform.
According to Maddon, the best thing he can do with players who might join the team during the year is to get to know them during the spring, "so that when they do come back up, they walk into the door comfortably and we have good conversation.
"And they know how we do things here. That's the part that's important."
Price believes pitching staff can pick up Shields' innings
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Many have talked about the need for Rays starters to pick up the slack in the aftermath of James Shields being traded to the Royals.
Shields gave the Rays 200-plus innings the past six seasons. David Price said the Rays will miss Shields, but he believes the staff is capable of rising to the challenge of picking up the innings Shields left behind.
"I think so," said Price, who has surpassed the 200-inning plateau in his past three seasons. "If everyone can throw seven, 10, 12 more innings than they threw last year, it all evens out. That even includes me. If I get up to 220 innings, we can have someone else get up into the 200s and 190s. If we can do that, everybody else picks up 10, 15 innings, it will work it out."
• Sam Fuld and Luke Scott remain sidelined with tight hamstrings. Maddon said Scott would likely return to action at the beginning of next week and Fuld will likely return at the end of next week. The Rays manager noted they were being overly cautious with both players and that neither of the players' situations seems to be serious.
• Maddon had a colonoscopy on Wednesday's off-day and everything went well. Maddon, who is 59, sheepishly admitted to being negligent for not having had the procedure done in the past. Nevertheless, he wanted to go public with the fact he got one in order to encourage others to get over any apprehensions they may have.
• Cal Ripken will be at Charlotte Sports Park on Sunday to promote his new children's book, Wild Pitch. Ripken will throw the first pitch prior to the game and do a book signing for fans from 2:30-4:30 p.m. ET. Books will be available for purchase at the ballpark.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.