Extra bases

Sixty-five players are the most the Rays have had in camp since 2003, when they began Spring Training with 73 players. Manager Joe Maddon and executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman attributed the high number to the fact the Rays are scheduled to play split-squad contests against the Pirates and Red Sox on Feb. 23, their first day of Grapefruit League competition. Normally, having a split-squad game on the schedule would not be a problem, as Minor Leagues can be brought in the help with the load -- particularly where pitching is concerned. But Tampa Bay's Minor Leaguers do not have their first workout until March 6. … Joel Peralta, who is scheduled to play for the Dominican Republic squad in the World Baseball Classic, is no longer sure if he will be able to do so. The Rays and Peralta want to make sure the right-hander is fresh for the season, so they will make a decision in the coming days regarding whether Peralta can get the right amount of work without overdoing it if he pitches in the Classic. … When asked about this season's lineup, Maddon mentioned that one of the top priorities will be to find the "best way to set up Longo." … Friedman noted that while he had been optimistic about the offensive potential of last season's team, he now believes this year's team can pass what last year's offense managed to achieve.