Port Charlotte, FL-- The Tampa Bay Rays opened their 16th Spring Training on Wednesday.
Forty pitchers and catchers went through a morning workout, under sunny and breezy conditions at the Rays' spring complex. Two pitchers were missing.. Dane De La Rosa and Juan Sandoval.
One of the questions facing Joe Maddon this spring, is deciding on a 4th and 5th starting pitcher. Alex Cobb filled in for the injured Jeff Niemann last season, and won 11 games. James Shields was traded to Kansas City, leaving an opening in the rotation.
Cobb and Niemann are considered the favorites, and the way they spoke Wednesday, they should be the favorites.
"I anticipate it's not going to change," Jeff Niemann told 10 News. "From being a guy in the rotation who's going to give quality innings... We know we can do that, when we're healthy, and that's what our goal is."
"Same as last year, Joe's going to give me the ball every fifth day and I'm going to go out and try to win a game," said Alex Cobb. "That's my role, and that's been my role since little league... It won't change much this year."
"The search will go beyond just watching a guy pitch," said Joe Maddon who is beginning his 8th season as manager of the Rays. "He gives up no runs, he gives up 3 runs, I'm not concerned about that... We'll get em stretched out and then project how they'll pitch in April, May, etcetera."
The Rays will workout every morning at 9:30, at the Port Charlotte complex. The workouts are open and free to the public.
The first full-squad workout is Sunday.