The Tampa Bay Rays will begin their 19th spring training and eighth in Charlotte County on Sunday, February 21 when second-year Manager Kevin Cash and his staff welcome 38 pitchers and catchers to Charlotte Sports Park. The players will take the field at 9:30 a.m. The first full-squad workout is scheduled for February 26 when the camp expands to 62 players, including 22 non-roster invites. For all spring training workouts, admission and parking are free.
Seven players on the 40-man roster joined the organization since the end of the 2015 regular season, five of those via trade. Only six players on the current 40-man roster made their Rays debut prior to 2013. The Rays enter camp with all 18 pitchers on the 40-man roster under the age of 30-a claim no other team can make. Xavier Cedeño, born Aug. 26, 1986, is the oldest pitcher on the current 40-man. The Rays have started a pitcher under the age of 30 in 236 consecutive games, one shy of Arizona for the longest streak in the majors, and have started an under-30 pitcher for 94 pct. of their games since May 25, 2007. The last 30-plus pitcher to start a game for the Rays was Erik Bedard on July 3, 2014.
Since becoming the "Rays" in 2008, the club has captured three Grapefruit League titles (2008, 2010, 2014) and has collected at least 15 wins in seven of eight years-something they were unable to do in all 10 springs as the Devil Rays. During this span, they hold the majors' third-best spring record behind the Kansas City Royals and Los Angeles Angels (see chart). Last spring, the Rays pitching staff posted a 3.12 ERA, second in the majors to the St. Louis Cardinals (3.06).
On Saturday, March 12 prior to the Rays-Yankees game at Charlotte Sports Park, the Rays will continue their annual tradition of shaving their heads as part of the Pediatric Cancer Foundation's "Cut for a Cure." For the fifth consecutive year, Rays coaches, players and front office staff will shave their heads to pay tribute to children fighting cancer. Details will be announced at a later date.