by Steve Carney / 620 WDAE
Friday saw the Tampa Bay Rays practice as a full squad for the second day. Following ground balls for the infielders, the corner infielders and pitchers worked on bunt defense fundamentals.
"The biggest thing I want them to do is to do 'simple' better," Maddon said after practice. "Keep everything as simple as possible, but try to do simple better."
When it comes to doing drills like bunt defense, the Rays skipper does admit that it helps that he's got the same starting infield as in 2013.
"When you're talking defense on the infield with all these guys, they are getting close to that 'one heartbeat' kind of thing," Maddon explained.
ZOBRIST'S BACK IMPROVING: Second baseman Ben Zobrist, who tweaked his back in the weight room Wednesday said Friday his back felt "better," saying he could possibly be back on the field in a limited capability as early as Sunday, depending on how he feels. The switch-hitter also said he expects to be on the field in a full capacity early next week, and plans to be ready for the Grapefruit League opener a week from today.
FOR SATURDAY: With Rays Fan Fest being held at Tropicana Field, the players will be on the field at Charlotte Sports Park early Saturday morning. Practice will begin at 8:30, and should be done before 10:00.
FAN FEST AUTOGRAPH TICKETS SOLD OUT: The team also announced that Fan Fest autograph tickets for all 14 players scheduled to appear have sold out.
Listen to interviews with manager Joe Maddon and pitcher Alex Cobb below!