Jeff Niemann threw his first bullpen of the spring under watchful eyes – evidently numerous watchful eyes. Why? Who knows? Maybe it’s because of the big right-hander’s health issues last season. Maybe it’s because he’s a leading candidate for the fourth/fifth slot in the Rays’ starting rotation. If healthy, Niemann solidifies a rotation looking for innings lost in the trade of James Shields.
Tropicana Field played host to the Rays’ 2013 edition of Fan Fest. Over 25,000 showed up for the autographs, pictures, and festivities. I attended Fan Fest two years ago, and it was great. Wall-to-wall people, autograph lines going on forever, and kids hitting and running for stop watch times. Great family entertainment.