tampabay.com

Highly touted prospect Davis tosses no-hitter

By EDUARDO A. ENCINA
Published May 5, 2007


ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays prospect and Class A Vero Beach RHP Wade Davis threw his second professional seven-inning no-hitter in less than nine months Friday.

Davis 2-0, a third-round pick in 2004, struck out six and walked one in the 4-0 victory over Jupiter in the second half of a doubleheader.

In the preseason, Baseball America ranked Davis the 97th-best prospect in baseball. On Friday, he dropped his ERA to 1.73, and opponents are batting just .175 against him.

On Aug. 31 at Class A Southwest Michigan, Davis allowed no hits against Beloit but lost 1-0 because of two errors. Friday, Vero Beach scored four runs in the top of the seventh to break a scoreless tie.

Davis and teammate Jake McGee, a top-ranked left-hander, have 34 strikeouts, tied for the Florida State League lead.

WORKING EARLY: About 45 minutes before the Rays' scheduled stretch time, their clubhouse was empty. All players were on the field participating in fundamental drills reminiscent of the first weeks of spring training.

Outfielders connected with infielders on cutoff throws. Pitchers worked on pickoff moves and fielding bunts. Manager Joe Maddon said he wanted to revisit the drills so his players would keep certain fundamentals in mind as the season progresses.

Maddon said the early work will become more commonplace during homestands.

"I really want us to stay ahead of our problems as much as we can, " Maddon said. "We've had our problems. We've seen all that. I'm not denying we have, but as the season progresses, I want us to stop making the mistakes that cost us games that sometimes it's not a mental error, not a physical error."

The Rays have made 25 errors in 29 games.

"You never practice those things throughout the season, " 1B Carlos Pena said. "I think it's a nice time to revisit it just to refresh your memory.

"So I actually think it's a pretty good idea."

MORE MINOR MATTERS: Triple-A Durham RHP Andy Sonnanstine (3-2, 2.13 ERA) threw eight shutout innings Friday, allowing seven hits and striking out five in a 3-0 win over Norfolk. RHP Chad Orvella notched his fifth save, lowering his ERA to 2.76. ... Greg Norton began his rehab assignment at Double-A Montgomery, going 1-for-3 with a two-run double as the DH.

MISCELLANY: B.J. Upton raised his AL-leading batting average to .386 with two hits and extended his hitting streak to seven games. ... Rays pitchers issued a season-high eight walks. ... Twenty-two of the Rays' 29 games have been decided by three runs or fewer. ... Carl Crawford extended his club record with his 67th career triple. ... The Rays now have been outscored 83-48 from the sixth inning on. ... INFs Jorge Cantu and Pena will sign autographs from 5:45 to 6:15 before tonight's game. ... The Rays' 10th season anniversary yearbook, a 96-page book with photos and biographies of every player in club history, can be bought at the team store at Tropicana Field for $10.

Eduardo A. Encina can be reached at eencina@sptimes.com.