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Healthy Farnsworth hopes for key Rays role

PORT CHARLOTTE — Veteran RHP Kyle Farnsworth looked good and felt good in making his spring debut in Friday's 3-2 win over the Phillies.

After working a 1-2-3 inning and hitting 92 mph on the stadium radar gun, Farnsworth said there are no current concerns about his previously balky right elbow.

"There's nothing wrong, everything felt good today, no issues," he said. "Everything was pain-free, everything felt fluid and easy, that was the main thing."

Farnsworth, 36, looked good at the start of last spring, but he was shut down at the end because of an elbow strain and missed nearly half the season.

"We've just got to stay on top of the things that kept me out last year and make sure it doesn't pop up, and try to be as healthy as possible," he said.

Part of that plan is cutting his spring workload, which is why the Rays delayed his debut and will limit him to seven or eight exhibitions. They hope to keep him fresh for the season, when they expect him to fill a key mid- to late-inning role in the bullpen.

"We'll see where he's at by the end of this camp and then just figure out how often and how much we want to push him at the beginning of the season," manager Joe Maddon said.

PRICE CHECK: LHP David Price had a mixed reaction after a middling outing in which he worked four innings with five strikeouts and no walks but gave up eight hits and two runs and threw 61 pitches (43 strikes).

He was pleased that he got ahead of most hitters and kept his pitch count relatively efficient. But he was displeased with the eight hits, though he credited the Phillies for taking a regular-season type approach as they worked back into counts.

"I felt fine," he said. "It's part of spring training; one day you feel great, and the next day you feel not so great. I felt good today, I did. I'm not blaming what happened today on the way I felt or anything. They hit the ball, they hit me well. (Batting practice) was at 11, not at 1:05, so I didn't get the memo."

ALL-AROUND MATT: OF Matt Joyce has been working on becoming an all-around player, and Friday he showed off his arm, throwing out runners at third base and home.

"He works at it now," Maddon said. "When we first got him we had to really push him to work at it. Now it's a lot easier to get him to do these different things."

GAME DETAILS: C Chris Gimenez continued his hot pursuit of the backup job, rapping two more hits to up his average to .526 (10-for-19). … 3B Evan Longoria, after looking bad striking out in his first at-bat against RHP Kyle Kendrick, blasted a two-run double over CF Michael Martinez's head in his second. … RHPs Jamey Wright, Joel Peralta and Brandon Gomes were sharp. Gomes posted his fourth scoreless outing. … The Phillies opted to use the designated hitter.

MISCELLANY: Another round of cuts is likely by early next week. … OF Sam Fuld said he was "not overly concerned" about the right hamstring tightness expected to sideline him until the end of next week. … DH Luke Scott is targeted for a Monday return from his left hamstring tightness. … Former Rays INF Tony Graffanino was in the clubhouse, making a visit on behalf of baseball ministries.

Healthy Farnsworth hopes for key Rays role 03/08/13 [Last modified: Friday, March 8, 2013 11:59pm]
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