Ben Zobrist Returns To Rays And Takes Batting Practice
A teams biggest challenge during spring training is to get through the six week process without any significant injuries. Early on in camp even the slightest tweak of a muscle can be worrisome. A week ago Rays second baseman Ben Zobrist tweaked his back while working out in the weight room. Zobrist downplayed the injury saying, “”It’s just tight and sore right now. Just going to have to wait a couple of days before I get started.”
Zobrist returned to the field today to take batting practice along with his teammates and took some light fielding practice.
Joe Maddon is primarily concerned with making sure Zobrist is healthy. “All I’m really worried about is that he is getting well. We’ve thought that from the beginning, that it wasn’t anything serious,” Maddon said. That he’s able to get out here
validates that. I haven’t spoken with him yet, but went through a normal day over there.
As for getting enough plate appearances for him Maddon says, “We’re going to try to backload it and it’s very doable, even if he misses the first couple games. He always can get at-bats during a minor league game, throw him over there for maybe 5, 6 7
at-bats on a particular day … so he can get his at-bats and get off the field. So again, I’m really not concerned about any of that stuff right now.”
After taking about 20 swings from each side of the plate and taking some light fielding practice he was optimistic about returning, “To finally get to put the uni on and go outside and do stuff with the other guys , I look forward to ramp it up in the next couple of days as we get into playing games.” Zobrist said. “I got to go out there, get stretched, do some conditioning, running. I took about 50-55 ground balls to each side, and was able to go all directions. I was able to hit on the field. All those things are exciting for me to finally get to be in on and go outside and do stuff with the other guys. I look forward to being able to ramp it up the next couple days as we get into games here.”
He is hopeful to play this coming Sunday but that will depend on how he feels when he finally is allowed to run the bases. He admits that his back is still tight but there is no pain – he insist there is no limited motion or anything like that.
Although it’s only a tweak and everything seems to be progressing nicely both the Rays and their fans will feel better when they see him back on the field at second base.