Rays Spring Training Day 4: Jeremy Hellickson

DAY FOUR—Sixty out of 65 players have reported to camp…reporting today were OF Sam Fuld, INF Mike Fontenot, OF Rich Thompson and 1B/OF Leslie Anderson…the five players yet to arrive are RH Dane De La Rosa (who cleared waivers and was invited to camp on Monday), DH Luke Scott, SS Yunel Escobar, SS Hak-Ju Lee and 1B/OF Shelley Duncan.

  • LH David Price, RH Fernando Rodney, RH Jeff Niemann, RH Kyle Farnsworth and RH Roberto Hernandez were among those who threw bullpen sessions today.

Manager Joe Maddon
On Jeremy Hellickson: “There’s definitely 200 [innings] in him, at least, maybe even more than that. The big part with Jeremy is just commanding his fastball more consistently, getting the outs more efficiently. Once he learns how to do that, the 200 innings will be there. That’s the misconception. It’s not necessarily about getting stronger or a different kind of work pattern, it’s about what you’re thinking.”

On how four- and five-inning starts affect the bullpen: “It’s always taxing on our bullpen, and we want all of our guys to understand that concept. … That’s why bullpens are good or not so good sometimes. … When your starters are able to get deeper into games, it’s able to get some of the workload off of your bullpen, and you can use the bullpen like you want to as opposed to how you have to. Starters are good, bullpen is good, Rays win; it’s always a good moment.”

Right-handed pitcher Jeremy Hellickson
On trying to stretch out his starts to pitch more innings: “I felt like I could have thrown 200 innings last year. Like you said, there’s a handful of games where I went four or five innings. You’re not going to get to that goal throwing that amount of innings in that amount of games. But that’s my goal this year, and I think I’m ready to do it.”

Outfielder Sam Fuld
On being able to contribute off the bench: “That’s kind of the beauty of it. You’re going to be involved in the game no matter what. We’d all like to be starting a lot, but Joe [Maddon], that’s one of his best characteristics, is his ability to keep everybody engaged and keep everybody active in the game and feel like they have an important role on the team.”

On the team’s offseason moves: “First of all, it’s tough to lose the guys that we lost. That’s a big hit, there’s no doubt about that. In some ways, it’s reminiscent of two years ago when I came over here as a newcomer and all the talk was there was this huge amount of turnover, and we lost [Carl] Crawford, [Carlos] Peña, [Jason] Bartlett and [Matt] Garza—all these big names, and at the end of the year we were in the playoffs. At this point, you can’t help but just have a ton of faith in the front office and the moves that they make.”