LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Not so much. Blue Jays first baseman Lyle Overbay — out with a sore right ankle — as well as the Rays’ Eric Hinske, who manned first on Tuesday, both had negative comments about the field conditions at the Wide World of Sports Complex.
Overbay had one “routine” grounder bounced to him on Tuesday night that he said “took a right turn,” hindering him from gloving the ball. Hinske’s blunder in the second inning on Tuesday was also a result of a strange hop. The problem is there isn’t a team that uses this park regularly after Spring Training, so it likely doesn’t get the same daily treatment as a big-league park.
“Not to bash them or anything,” Overbay said. “But I just have a hard time thinking that the Braves have Spring Training here and play on that kind of field. I know they play a lot of games here after Spring Training, so it’s frustrating.
“Routine ground balls, I mean, that ball took a right turn and went straight up. That ball would’ve hit me right in my face if it didn’t [turn], and that’s a routine ground ball. That’s not a hard hit ball.”
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons also isn’t a big fan of playing in this 9,500-seat ballpark, which drew only 8,269 on Tuesday night (paid attendance anyway). The Jays understand why the Rays would want to hold games here, but that doesn’t mean Toronto has to be a big fan of the idea.
“I didn’t like the feel out there last night,” Gibbons said. “Plus, there were some empty seats out there yesterday. You can see their idea, you know, drawing up some interest — it makes sense.”
Overbay had X-rays on his right ankle on Tuesday night, but the results came back negative. Alex Rios was out of the lineup for the second straight game — this time due to flu-like symptoms. I caught a glimpse of Rios laying on a training table before the game and, yeah, dude looked to be in real rough shape.
On another note, Gibbons said that Jesse Litsch shouldn’t be looking over his shoulder for now, even though the young righty has struggled out of the gates. Now, if Litsch’s woes persist for another 3-5 outings? “That’s a long way down the road. That’s a month from now,” was all Gibby would offer. Oh, and Josh Banks? Probably 7th or 8th on the rotation depth chart? Claimed off waiver by the Padres.
TORONTO (10-11) at TAMPA BAY (9-11)
at 7:10 p.m. ET at Disney’s Wide World of Sports
David Eckstein, SS
Shannon Stewart, LF
Aaron Hill, 2B
Vernon Wells, CF
Matt Stairs, RF
Rod Barajas, 1B
Gregg Zaun, C
Robinzon Diaz, DH
Joe Inglett, 3B
PITCHING: RHP Roy Halladay
Akinori Iwamura, 2B
Carl Crawford, LF
B.J. Upton, CF
Carlos Pena, 1B
Evan Longoria, 3B
Eric Hinske, RF
Jonny Gomes, DH
Dioner Navarro, C
Jason Bartlett, SS
PITCHING: RHP Jason Hammel