Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Here's Jonny: Gomes & Pena arrive; still waiting on 3 more

The final two Rays regulars, Jonny Gomes and Carlos Pena, arrived to camp today for the team's first full workout according to The Heater. That means everybody that can be here is here. Joel Guzman, Willy Aybar & Juan Salas are still delayed due to visa issues. One would think that these players had to know there would be a possibility of visa issues and they would have maybe started the process earlier. All three players are playing key roles their respective roster battles. Aybar & Guzman could be the 3rd Base combination should the Rays choose not to go with Evan Longoria to start the season. Their other competition, Eric Hinske, has been in camp for days and could get a leg up on the competition especially with Maddon preaching accountability and trust in his opening address this morning.

As for Salas, the bullpen is really down to one remaining spot between himself, Scott Dohmann and Grant Balfour. Five spots are already taken with Reyes, Percival, Wheeler, Glover and Miller. The sixth spot will go to either Edwin Jackson, Jason Hammel or Andy Sonnanstine. It is almost certain that Sonnanstine and Jackson will make the rotation so Hammel looks to be the long man in the pen. Being almost a week late to camp doesn't help Salas' case for the last spot. Another factor working against Salas is he is the only one of the three I mentioned earlier with an option to go back to the minor leagues, Balfour or Dohmann would have to clear waivers first.