Maddon not afraid to use slugger in No. 2 spot
Either Scott or Pena likely to hit second in Rays' batting order
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Joe Maddon has never been one to adhere to conventional wisdom for the sake of adhering to conventional wisdom, which leads to the topic of the Rays' No. 2 spot in the batting order.
Right now there is a good chance that either Luke Scott or Carlos Pena will fill the second spot in the batting order. Using either of the sluggers in the second spot runs counter to conventional wisdom, a fact that doesn't rattle the Rays' manager in the least.
"I just think [conventional wisdom is] all based on the perception that a No. 2 hitter has to be a guy who can bunt, hit-and-run and move the runners," Maddon said. "It doesn't happen anymore. That's not part of the game right now.
"You might see it a little bit on the National League side, but it's not part of our game. That's the day of the shortstop, all-glove, no-bat guy that would move the leadoff hitter who got on. And hopefully the three or four guy [would drive them in], because at that time, the three-run homer was not as prominent as it is today. It was just a whole different way of thinking back then."
Maddon summarized by saying he didn't think he had to have a No. 2 hitter that fit "that old school schematic or template of what it's supposed to look like."
"It's not what it's supposed to look like anymore," Maddon said.
When asked if he remembered any power hitters hitting in the No. 2 spot and having success, he immediately brought the name Jim Edmonds into the conversation.
"Jimmy hit for some really good power numbers," Maddon said. "I think that was in '95, '96, '97, something like that. Jimmy hit in the two-hole very productively."
In theory, hitting Scott or Pena in the second spot would allow either slugger to see more fastballs when leadoff hitter Desmond Jennings reaches base because Jennings is a base-stealing threat. Conversely, when the pitchers go to breaking pitches to combat the No. 2 hitter laying in wait for the fastball, Jennings can take advantage by stealing second.
Upton optimistic he won't miss much time
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- B.J. Upton is feeling pretty frisky.
The Rays' center fielder will start the season on the disabled list due to a lower back problem.
Upton sounded optimistic on Monday that he won't miss too much regular-season action.
"I threw yesterday and ran yesterday," Upton said. "And I was able to do that before, it just bothered me the next day. And now it's fine, so that's a good sign."
Initially, Upton had hoped to be ready for Opening Day, but the Rays decided to back off on that goal in order to make sure the problem doesn't linger. Upton believes that was the right call.
"I wanted to be back for Opening Day," Upton said. "I think everybody as a whole, we were just trying to get me ready for Opening Day, and that may not have been the thing to do with the situation. I'm glad we just let it rest, and it's getting better. That's all we can ask for now."
Upton believes he will be back with the team at some point during its three-stop road trip that begins in Detroit on April 10.
Rays manager Joe Maddon pointed out that Upton needs at-bats before he can be ready to play again.
Right wrist surgery to sideline Fuld 4-5 months
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Sam Fuld will be out four to five months due to surgery on his right wrist. The surgery is scheduled to take place Tuesday morning in Cleveland.
Fuld was examined Monday by Dr. Tom Graham at the Cleveland Clinic, where it was determined that surgery was the best option to stabilize a ligament in Fuld's wrist.
Graham will perform the surgery.
Approaching the end of Spring Training, Jeff Salazar appears to be the likely choice to take Fuld's spot on the roster.
Farnsworth confident in Rays' bullpen
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Kyle Farnsworth doesn't say a lot, but it's clear he likes the composition of this year's bullpen.
"Everyone is staying healthy -- that's obviously huge for any pitching staff," the closer said. "Everybody just falls into the roll we fall into and do what we did last year, just compete against each other. Go out there have a good time."
Farnsworth noted that the arms and the experience "are there."
"[Jake] McGee is getting better and better," Farnsworth said. "You've got Burke [Badenhop], ground-ball guy. We definitely have the makings for a good, solid bullpen. And then you've got the starters going seven or eight innings a night. So that helps tremendously."
Farnsworth likes the mix off different styles this year's bullpen has, too.
"A lefty here, a sinker here, a hard-throwing lefty," Farnsworth said.
The Rays have acquired outfielder Kyle Hudson from Texas in exchange for a player to be named. Hudson, 25, will report to Triple-A Durham. He appeared in 14 games for the Orioles last season, his first taste of the Major Leagues. At three Minor League levels last season, he combined to hit .296 with 41 stolen bases.
Desmond Jennings' three home runs in Sunday's win over the Orioles earned him the distinction of becoming the first player in Rays history to hit three homers in a Spring Training game. Pittsburgh's Craig Monroe was the last player to turn the trick in a spring game when he did so on March 12, 2009, against Minnesota. In the regular season, Evan Longoria (Sept. 18, 2008, vs. Minnesota) and Jonny Gomes (July 30, 2005, vs. Kansas City) have hit three home runs in a game for the Rays.
Fernando Rodney (right forearm contusion) said he felt fine after throwing Sunday. The veteran right-hander will throw in a game Tuesday, and he does not expect any problems being ready for Friday's regular-season opener against the Yankees.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.