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Final roster still a work in progress
By MARC TOPKIN and SHANNON COLAVECCHIO-VAN SICKLER
Published March 28, 2006
FORT MYERS - With opening day less than a week away, manager Joe Maddon acknowledged Monday the Devil Rays have considerable work to do in finalizing their roster.
"There's still some real close decisions to be made," Maddon said. "Hopefully by Thursday or Friday we'll have that all wrapped up. That's what I'm anticipating. There are some really tough things to do yet."
The most interesting decisions appear to be:
Picking between Nick Green and Luis Ordaz for the utility infield spot, and deciding if there is also room for Greg Norton , who seems to be ahead of Russell Branyan and Sean Burroughs . Ty Wigginton would appear to have a spot on the bench.
Filling out the remaining bullpen spots behind Dan Miceli , who is in, and Shawn Camp and Travis Harper , who appear to be. That would leave Jason Childers , Jesus Colome , Tim Corcoran , Chad Harville , Justin Miller and Chad Orvella the top choices for the other four spots.
Deciding between Edwin Jackson and Doug Waechter for the fifth spot in the rotation.
"Utility player; that's still a tough one. That's a real tight race right now. It just honestly is," Maddon said. "The bullpen also really is difficult. The fifth starter is not as difficult. We just have to make up our mind by the end of the week.
"To me, they're all the same. All difficult. We're talking about humans and great people, so they're all tough decisions."
ROCKING ROCCO: The Rays also have to determine whether Rocco Baldelli , who has been idled a week by a strained left hamstring and has yet to play in the field, is headed to the disabled list. They hope to know more by Wednesday.
Trainer Ron Porterfield "told me he was feeling better," Maddon said. "And he actually said that in a way that was the first time he had said it like that in a week, so that was a good thing."
CASEY CLUBBED: Rays starter Casey Fossum had one of those spring training days, allowing 10 runs on 10 hits and four walks.
Fossum said he felt fine, and the problem was a matter of location: the fastballs he threw not going where he wanted and the ground balls the Red Sox hit getting through the infield.
The best thing about it, he said, was that he can make another exhibition start, probably Saturday. "I want to get some innings," he said. "I don't want to bring this game into the season."
PROSPECT ARRESTED: Minor-league pitcher Matt Walker was arrested shortly after 3 a.m. Sunday on one count of driving under the influence after two Tampa police officers found him sleeping at the wheel of his white 2005 Chevy pickup truck, which was in the middle of a downtown street with the engine running. Walker, 19, was arrested and booked into the Orient Road Jail, where he refused to take a blood alcohol test, then released after posting $500 bail Sunday afternoon. Walker was rated the Rays' ninth-best prospect by Baseball America .
GAME DETAILS: The game was eventful aside from the eighth-inning brawl, though it ended badly for the Rays, with Corcoran walking Hee-Seop Choi to force in the decisive run in a 12-11 loss. ... The Rays were down 7-0 after two and 10-6 after six, then rallied to lead 11-10 going to the ninth. ... Jonny Gomes hit a three-run homer off David Wells , and Toby Hall added a solo shot. ... Corcoran, whose bid for a relief spot seems in jeopardy, opened the ninth by allowing two singles, got hurt by an infield error, allowed the tying run on an errant pickoff throw, then walked Trent Durrington to reload the bases and Choi to end it.
MISCELLANY: Ordaz started at third for the first time this spring. ... Mark Hendrickson reported no problems the day after a solid six-inning start. ... Maddon said Green was okay despite being hit by a pitch and a throw.