03/08/2013 5:27 PM ET
Maddon being coy about Opening Day starter
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Joe Maddon was coy when asked if he was ready to announce David Price as this year's Opening Day starter.
"We're going to wait a couple of more days to make that announcement," the Rays manager said. "… He's got what, a 20 percent chance [to be the starter]?"
Since Price is the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner, there is little suspense surrounding the pending announcement, but he was not the Opening Day starter last season.
James Shields opened last season for the Rays based on his 2011 performance. He was traded to the Royals over the winter. Even if the veteran right-hander had remained with the team, it's likely Price would have won the honor based on last season, when he posted a 20-5 record with a 2.56 ERA in 31 starts.
Maddon said he expected to name his Opening Day starter next week, but he sounded unsure about when he would announce the order of the entire rotation.
"Probably just [announce the Opening Day starter] at that particular moment," Maddon said. "I'll talk to [pitching coach Jim] Hickey about it, how far he wants to go. The other guys, we'll probably wait just a little bit."
The Rays open the 2013 season on April 2 with a 3:10 p.m. ET contest against the Orioles at Tropicana Field.
Farnsworth sharp in spring debut
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Kyle Farnsworth made his first appearance of the spring on Friday against the Phillies and he pitched a scoreless sixth, retiring all three batters he faced, with one strikeout.
"It felt good to get back out there," said Farnsworth, who has been a little behind the other relievers this spring. "Just tried to keep it nice and simple. Tried to throw strikes."
Farnsworth missed the start of last season due to elbow problems, so the Rays have been cautious with the veteran right-hander given the expanded length of this year's Spring Training.
"Everything was pain free, fluid and easy, that was the main thing," Farnsworth said.
Farnsworth went 1-6 with a 4.00 ERA in 34 appearances for the Rays last season after serving as the team's closer in 2011.
"I'm definitely going to be ready for Opening Day," Farnsworth said.
Farnsworth chuckled when told he hit 92 on the last pitch he threw.
"I'm getting there," he said.
Scott expected back Monday, Fuld late next week
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Luke Scott is out with a tight left hamstring while Sam Fuld is out with a tight right hamstring.
Both players experienced the tightness while playing Sunday during a contest at Charlotte Sports Park that took place in nasty weather. Scott is expected to be back in the lineup on Monday when the Rays host the Twins.
Scott said he felt good on Friday, and told reporters that running the bases was one of the final tests facing him.
"I'll be good," Scott said.
And, as for playing early next week, Scott replied: "That's safe to say."
Meanwhile, Fuld is expected to be back in the latter part of next week.
"I'm feeling better," Fuld said. "I'm not overly concerned. Other than the hamstring issue I had last year, I don't have any other experience with this kind of injury. But I do know that it's not as severe as the one I had last year and I was able to come back in about 10 days."
Fuld pointed out that the circumstances are different since his current injury occurred during Spring Training.
"I can be a little more cautious given the timing," Fuld said. "Last year I didn't come back at full strength, but I was able to still come back. This time around I have to make sure. I need my legs, so I need to make sure it's fully healed before I go back out there.
"… There's a little bit of discomfort yet. It's really frustrating, but I understand. The timing, if you're going to get hurt, this is the time to do it and not in April."
Fuld feels fortunate that he only experienced tightness in his hamstring, rather than a pulled hamstring, which is far more severe and can have a lengthy recovery time.
"It could be worse," Fuld said. "I have to remind myself of that, because it's frustrating and I'm sick of being in this spot. But it could definitely be worse."
• Three-time All-Star and 13-year Major League veteran, Cecil Fielder, will come to Rays camp on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday and dress in uniform, as part of the Rays' "Adopt-a-Legend" program.
Previous special guests include Joe Namath, Glenn Beckert, Dave LaPoint, Raheem Morris, Orlando Palmeiro and Gabe Kapler.
Rays manager Joe Maddon explained how the arrangement came about with Fielder.
"Last year during the season he came to one of our games and he was down on the field," Maddon said. "I've always liked him. Quite frankly, as a young coach at that time, he treated me extremely well, a veteran player who took time to treat me well. And I always liked his demeanor in the clubhouse, how he interacted with the players. So when I told him about our Adopt-a-Legend program, he perked right up. I said I'd love for you to come out for a couple of days and visit with the guys. And he was all for it. Great guy for me, and he treated me with a lot of respect as a young coach. That's stuff I don't forget."
• Joe Maddon was asked about Mariano Rivera's anticipated retirement announcement.
"The best ever at what he does," the Rays manager said. "It will be a long time before you get somebody who was better than that. The way he was able to be so consistent, unbelievably consistent. And the hotter the game the better he was.
"Incredible what he's done, and in such a simple manner. That's the part that's really so impressive. The guys would always yell from the bench in a joking way: 'He's tipping his pitches.'"
Maddon likened the reaction to Rivera's cutter to the way players reacted to Tim Wakefield's knuckleball, in that in both cases, hitters would know what pitch was coming but they still wouldn't be able to hit it.
"Here's a guy that everybody knew what was coming all the time and they still couldn't do anything with it," Maddon said. "It was unbelievable how he nailed it."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.