Friday, April 11, 2008

Niemann gets the call, Longoria too

UPDATE: The Heater is reporting that Evan Longoiria will in fact get the call up and could be in the line up tomorrow:

"I'm headed that way,'' Longoria said late Friday before boarding a flight to Tampa. "I'm very excited, obviously. I hope I'm in there tomorrow."

It is also being reported on The Heater that the 13 days Longoria spent in the minors is one more day than baseball rules deem necessary to delay Free Agency. I'm checking to see if that is accurate.

Well the worst kept secret of the week in Tampa Bay is now official. Jeff Niemann will be called up sometime before Sunday's game and take Matt Garza's spot in the rotation. Niemann, the Rays first round pick in 2004, will be making his major league debut. The 6'9 righty almost made the team out of Spring Training, but the final spot went to Jason Hammel. Niemann will have a few weeks to prove he should stick in the bigs before the Rays have to clear a rotation spot for Scott Kazmir and then another for Matt Garza in about four weeks, hopefully.

The bigger news, however, is Rays top prospect Evan Longoria may be joining Niemann on that flight from Durham to Tampa. Rays current starting 3B Willy Aybar re-aggravated a hamstring injury on Wednesday night. Aybar was bothered by the hammy in spring, but was healthy enough to make the club. He was playing well before hurting it again trying to score from second Wednesday. Aybar was held out of last night's game as well as tonight's game. The Rays are awaiting MRI results before deciding what to do with Aybar. If Aybar does go on the DL the Rays have two options, Joel Guzman and the other Evan Longoria. The Rays may have already made up their mind. From TBO.com:
Evan Longoria’s major-league debut may only be a day or two away. The Rays’ prized prospect was not in Durham’s lineup for the Bulls’ home opener tonight and Durham’s radio broadcast reported he is on his way to the majors.

Guzman is starting at 3B in Longoria's absence and if he was the choice it would be the other way around. The Rays have said all along they wouldn't call Longoria up until they felt he was ready to stay for good, and we hope he's ready. We'll have more as it become available on this.

In some other news Al Reyes apologized for the taser incident. Reyes had the standard apology saying he was sorry to his teammates, the organization and the fans.

Scott Kazmir threw successful batting practice session. Two interesting notes about the session besides Kazmir: Dioner Navarro caught the session and Rocco Baldelli was the first batter. Kazmir will probably pitch in an extended Spring Training game early next week.

In some exclusive news, our own Erik Hahmann/Jules Winnfield talked to David Price who said he was feeling good and may throw a bullpen session next week.