Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Bolts News 10/6

Teddy Purcell is projected to dress in Saturday's opener against Atlanta after suffering a charley horse last Friday in an exhibition contest.

He skated before Tuesday's practice after being forced to sit out Monday's session.

Dominic Moore skated Tuesday for the first time since Sept. 24 and is progressing well from a groin injury.
Now his status has been upgraded for Saturday's opener, as he may be ready to play against the Thrashers after all. The Lightning may still decide to rest him if he is not completely healthy, but he has not been ruled out of participating.

Johan Harju has been sent down to the minors.
Harju played in four preseason games with the Lightning. He had four goals and 18 points in 55 KHL games last season.

Chris Durno has been reassigned to AHL Norfolk.
Durno cleared waivers in September, but he stayed with the Tampa Bay Lightning until Tuesday. Durno had eight points and 47 penalty minutes in 41 games with the Colorado Avalanche last season.

Cedrick Desjardins has been reassigned to AHL Norfolk.
This comes as no surprise as the Lightning already have veteran goaltenders Dan Ellis and Mike Smith. Desjardins dealt with some abdominal and groin problems during training camp.

Mathieu Roy has been placed on waivers by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Roy had 10 points in 31 NHL games last season. He isn't expected to have any fantasy value in 2010-11.

Eric Perrin will not be offered a contract by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Perrin took part in the Lightning's training camp on a tryout basis, but he failed to make the team. Perrin spent last season with the KHL's Omsk Avangard and we wouldn't be surprised if he signs with a European squad again this season.

Mattias Ritola has been claimed off waivers by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Red Wings GM Ken Holland placed Ritola on waivers, saying Ritola didn't do enough to make the team. Ritola had 19 goals and 42 points in 73 games last season.

Lightning coach Guy Boucher doesn't plan to decide his starter for Saturday's season opener until Friday.
"I like to see how the guys do during the week," Boucher said. Regardless of who Boucher ends up picking, Mike Smith or Dan Ellis will probably both get chances to prove themselves in October as they fight for the starting job.

Randy Jones (thumb fracture) returned to practice on Monday.
It was the first time he skated with his teammates since fracturing his right thumb on Sept. 23 at Edmonton. "It felt pretty good," said Jones, who believes he will be ready for Saturday's regular-season opener. "I was handling the puck a lot more, shooting more, doing some battle drills and stuff, so for the most part I was very pleased."

Vincent Lecavalier missed practice on Monday due to a contusion on his left foot.
He took a puck off his foot during Saturday's preseason finale against Florida and said he wanted to practice, but was held out for precautionary measures. It sounds like he'll be ready for Saturday's opener against Atlanta, but we'll let you know if anything changes.

A lot of these players really had no choice making the roster. A lot of them have promise such as Ritola, Roy, and Harju but did not show enough in the pre-season to make the team or have been reassigned to Norfolk. The good news is that Lecavalier is trying to become an Elite NHL player again. He has all the ability to become a great player again, but he has to get a hold of the puck and needs to put it in the back of the net. Lecavalier has not had a dominating season since the year he won the Art Ross. He will need to hook up with Stamkos on the power play to help with his stats this season. Also I feel as if Dan Ellis will be the starting goalie come opening night due to the fact they traded for him during the draft in order to start, not to be the back up. Also Dominic Moore skating and being close back to 100% is a good sign for the depth along the center position. 

Bucs News 10/6

Though he's slated to start this week against the Bengals, Cadillac Williams acknowledges that his days as the Bucs' feature back are probably over.

"You know (the team) is looking beyond this year," said Williams. "I'm just going to prepare myself and go out there on Sunday and continue to put things on film." Caddy is averaging just 2.5 yards per carry through three games. With LeGarrette Blount seeing an increased role on early downs and Kareem Huggins working into the passing game, Williams no longer merits a roster spot in 12-team leagues.

Kareem Huggins (groin) returned to the practice field Tuesday, as expected.
Huggins used the bye week to get back up to full speed, and he's in line for an increased role on passing downs going forward. LeGarrette Blount is the better wavier pickup for now, but Huggins is worth a stash in deeper leagues.

Bucs RB Kareem Huggins' expanded role going forward is expected to consist of primarily passing-down work.
Huggins is healthy after battling a groin injury in the first few weeks. This backfield suddenly has the look of a three-headed monster. LeGarrette Blount will work on early downs and in short-yardage situations, while Cadillac Williams will start games and mix in during all phases. The demotion is deserved, but Williams loses a ton of scoring and reception potential.

Bucs DL Michael Bennett will be active in Week 5 for the first time this year.
Bennett has been a healthy scratch the first three weeks, but coach Raheem Morris is looking for more of a pass rush and hoping Bennett can provide a spark. He did have the Bucs' only two sacks from a defensive lineman during the preseason, but our hopes aren't high.

Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris said rookie NT Brian Price has earned more playing time based on how he played in Week 3 against the Steelers.
"On first and second down he creates that different type of element of speed," Morris said. "He creates different mismatches for the center." The second-round pick has just two tackles so far, both coming in Week 1, but his upside is significant. Ryan Sims and even Roy Miller figure to start ceding snaps to the youngster.

Buccaneers TE/FB Erik Lorig has made a full-time switch to offense.
Lorig is also capable of playing defensive end, but the Bucs want him to focus on offense. He isn't a factor in fantasy.

Coach Raheem Morris said that second-round WR Arrelious Benn isn't moving into the starting flanker position just yet.
Benn will be a bigger part of the rotation when the Bucs come out of their bye, but Sammie Stroughter will remain the starter. Benn's chance will come sooner rather than later though, as Stroughter is best suited for the slot. For now, Benn is just a super-deep flier.

Overall, the Bucs have not really done much shuffling around with the roster during the bye week. It is kind of surprising to me as the Bucs have a serious issue at Safety. Although I like Cody Grimm, He is no where near ready for the starting role at the Free Safety position. Personally I feel Sabby Pisctielli, the more athletic safety, was better suited for this type of role instead of being forced into the Strong Safety position. The safety position is the weakest on defense for the Bucs minus Defensive End. So I would hope to see some sort of change this week in the starting line up however I don't think thats going to happen. Cody Grimm had to go up against Mike Wallace and Hines Ward in his first start. Going up against the most consistent WRs in the past 5 years is not exactly what this rookie needs to build his confidence. Expect Carson Palmer to pick on Cody this game. But anyways, look to Kareem Huggins and LeGarette Blount more this time around. Caddliac as much heart as he has put in to getting back into the game, has not seen as much success as he did last year. He is most likely on his last leg and is much more suited to be a back up RB. It will go in a rotational back set up possibly with Huggins working on Passing downs. Erik Lorig is a guy that might end up surprising others by becoming a blocking TE that the Bucs desperately need. John Gilmore is a goner next year and hopefully Erik Lorig can become the Blocking TE that he is being trained to be. Another guy to watch out for is Michael Bennett. He has got some moves and he is definitely the second best pass rusher on this team only to Stylez White. He has potential and he will possibly surprise some people. I hope he gets a lot of touches this week cause getting after Carson Palmer will be key. Brian Price and Gerald McCoy will need to stuff the run and get after Palmer as well because the interior line of Cincy is no slouch. Those two need to command double teams and allow Ruud and the DEs to take advantage of the 1v1 matchups. Brian Price has done very well this year and has rivaled McCoy's production. Taking two DTs has proved very good for the interior of the DL. And finally Arrelious Benn, who I will admit I did not want nor was impressed from since the draft, has still not found his way into the starting line up. This is no surprise, considering the player is young and has been known to have some issues with the mental aspect of the game and picking up the playbook. He has the talent to become the next Anquan Boldin but he will need to learn the playbook more and become more important in the passing game. Sammie Stroughter needs to move back to the slot position asap because he has done nothing as the X receiver. Hopefully the Bucs take all of these things into consideration and hopefully they walk away with a win come Sunday. I feel with the way Cincy has been playing, this can be possible but TO and his monster game last weekend is scary and hopefully will not repeat that against the Bucs. 

Rays News 10/6

Sorry I havent updated the stuff lately my fellow sports fans, I have been swamped with work and just had no free time. But on the good side I have ton of information to give to you in this blog. Lets start off with our AL East Division Champion Tampa Bay Rays! Congrats to you guys! You played great baseball all year round.

Jason Bartlett will bat leadoff for Game 1 of the ALDS against the Rangers on Wednesday afternoon.

It's a minor surprise, as Bartlett hasn't batted leadoff since June 17. Carlos Pena will bat No. 5 while Kelly Shoppach starts behind the plate and bats eighth against the southpaw Cliff Lee. Oct. 6 - 10:21 am et

Desmond Jennings is on the Rays' roster for the ALDS.
Rays manager Joe Maddon could have carried Dioner Navarro as a third catcher, but he apparently likes the speed of the young outfielder. Jennings stole 37 bases with Triple-A Durham this season.

Rocco Baldelli has been awarded a spot on the Rays' roster for the ALDS.
Rays manager Joe Maddon ultimately opted for Baldelli as an extra right-handed bat over Willy Aybar. He'll be the DH in Game 1. The 29-year-old outfielder batted .208 with one home run and five RBI after joining the team in September.

Evan Longoria (quad) said Tuesday that he is feeling "probably 85, 90 percent."
"I think holding back that last series was the best thing for it," said Longoria. "In the last four days, it's probably progressed the most. I'm excited to be back." Longoria missed the final 10 games of the regular season with a strained left quad, but is good to go for the ALDS.

David Price will start Game 1 of the ALDS against the Rangers.

James Shields will follow in Game 2 and Matt Garza will take Game 3. If a Game 4 starter is necessary, Wade Davis will probably take the hill. Price posted a 19-6 record, 2.72 ERA and 1.19 WHIP this season.

This is all good news. David Price has been the best pitcher on the Rays all year with Matt Garza being very good as well. To start off with Price will definitely be the right thing with him posting a great record throughout the season. Evan Longoria also being close to 100% is crucial for the Rays batting rotation in order to dominate in the playoffs against the powerhouse Yankees if they meet in the ALCS. I am interested as well in the choice of Rocco Baldelli and Desmond Jennings over Dioner Navarro and Willy Aybar. Ultimately lets hope that it works out since both were on the World Series team two years ago. 

Friday, October 1, 2010

Rays News 10/1

Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times reports that impending free agent Rafael Soriano has hired Scott Boras as his agent.

If Soriano wasn't a goner already, this probably clinches it. The 30-year-old right-hander has exceeded all expectations by posting a 1.76 ERA, 0.78 WHIP and 44 saves in 47 chances this season. He'll look to cash in this winter. It's a legitimate question who will close next season for Tampa Bay since Grant Balfour, Dan Wheeler, Joaquin Benoit and Chad Qualls could all end up elsewhere, as well.

Matt Garza gave up three runs in seven innings Thursday in a loss to the Royals.
Garza didn't exactly finish strong. He was roughed up by Boston and by the Yankees twice this month, and while he came with back quality starts against the Mariners and Royals, those aren't the kind of offenses he'll be facing in October. He ends the year 15-10 with a 3.91 ERA.

Rays manager Joe Maddon said there's a chance David Price will start Saturday against the Royals.
The possibility opened after Wade Davis had his next start pushed back to Sunday, leaving Saturday wide-open. "Yes, there is a chance that he can pitch, yes," said Maddon. "He could start. We're talking about all the different ways to set it up." If Price makes the start, he likely wouldn't stick around long enough to qualify for his 20th victory. He is scheduled to start Game 1 of the ALDS next Wednesday.

Rays manager Joe Maddon said he wouldn't hesitate sitting Evan Longoria this weekend if his left quad is not properly healed.
"That wouldn't bother me in the least; I don't think it's absolutely imperative that he does (play this weekend)," said Maddon. "The biggest thing is that he feels confident on his leg in the first game of the playoffs." Maddon said there is only an "outside chance" that he will return to the lineup Friday, though he is expected to play at some point during the weekend series. Fantasy owners shouldn't give up on their contingency plan.

Its not really a big deal unless you have Longoria in your fantasy baseball leagues but the ultimate point is that he is healthy for the playoff run. With the news of Soriano  being very hot throughout the season and the possible dismantlement of the playoff team  by the Rays ownership we could see how this  will be a big season for the fans. It is really sad seeing a team that was always a bottom dweller in the toughest division in baseball to finally play just as good, if not better, then the Yankees and Red Sox, to lose all its star players. I m not suggesting that all of the players will be gone but the team will lack some serious firepower  in the batting rotation if the Rays don't  pony up the cash to keep the players. But fans its this season to hold your breaths cause the Rays will go deep in the playoffs. Lets finally bring a World Series to Tampa so we can have all 3 major sports championship titles!