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Vets, prospects split up as Rays open slate

Kiermaier leads home squad vs. Bucs; Bauers, Adames head out to face O's
MLB.com @wwchastain

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- If you want to see Kevin Kiermaier hit third in the order, head to Port Charlotte to watch the Rays play the Pirates on Friday at 1:05 p.m. ET. If you can't make it, the game will be available via an audio webcast on rays.com.

If you want to see prospects, specifically Jake Bauers, Willy Adames, Justin Williams, and Yonny Chirinos, head to Sarasota, Fla., to see a Rays squad primarily composed of youngsters face the Orioles at 1:05 p.m. on MLB.TV.

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- If you want to see Kevin Kiermaier hit third in the order, head to Port Charlotte to watch the Rays play the Pirates on Friday at 1:05 p.m. ET. If you can't make it, the game will be available via an audio webcast on rays.com.

If you want to see prospects, specifically Jake Bauers, Willy Adames, Justin Williams, and Yonny Chirinos, head to Sarasota, Fla., to see a Rays squad primarily composed of youngsters face the Orioles at 1:05 p.m. on MLB.TV.

Rays Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Schedule

Vidal Nuno will start for the Rays in Port Charlotte. Austin Pruitt, Ryne Stanek, Dan Runzler, Diego Castillo, Colton Murray, Cody Hall, and Edwin Fierro will also see action. Tyler Eppler will start for the Pirates.

Chirinos will start the game for the Rays in Sarasota. Andrew Kittredge, Ryan Weber, Adam Kolarek, Hunter Wood, Ian Gibaut, Forrest Snow, and Kyle Bird are also slated to pitch. The Orioles starter was still to be determined.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"Excited to see the guys," manager Kevin Cash said. "Probably a little more veteran group starting over here. And a younger group over in Sarasota. But I'm sure the guys are ready to get off the back fields and are ready to play against some other jerseys."

Cash said that he and the coaches won't be making too many judgments this early other than "getting up to game speed."

"Getting their timing at the plate," Cash said. "Pitchers getting into a rhythm and getting their work in to build up starts."

As for Kiermaier hitting third this season, Cash smiled: "No, definitely not."

Banda arrives

Anthony Banda arrived Thursday, two days after being traded to the Rays in the deal that sent Steven Souza Jr. to the D-backs.

The left-hander was the D-backs' No. 4 prospect per MLB Pipeline. He made his Major League debut with Arizona in 2017, compiling a 5.96 ERA over eight appearances (four starts). He led the D-backs' Minor League clubs in strikeouts and finished second in ERA in 2016, while reaching Triple-A for the first time, but he struggled to a 5.39 ERA over 22 starts for Triple-A Reno last year.

Video: Banda getting acclimated with the Rays after trade

When asked about getting a taste of the Major Leagues last season, Banda spoke about what he learned from the experience.

"It's a bit of everything," Banda said. "It's going to show you how to pitch. It's going to develop you. It's definitely going to teach you how to be a professional. Overall, I loved it. It was good for me. I know I can get outs there. I've shown it. Now it's just little bits, and tiny pieces, to just put them together and stay consistent. And just roll with the punches."

Rays general manager Erik Neander called Banda "a lefty that physically checks a lot of boxes."

"He's got a three-pitch mix right now," Neander said. "He's got a quality fastball that has reached the upper 90s. Has a developing feel for a breaking ball that we'd like to see get a little more consistent. And a good changeup. ... From all indications, good makeup, good work ethic, good character. Somebody who will be right in the mix for us when comes over to our camp."

Stoneman Douglas High School caps

In Friday's games, the Rays will wear Majory Stoneman Douglas High School baseball caps for both batting practice, and during the games, to pay tribute to last week's school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

Veteran outfielder and Florida native Denard Span was asked what making this gesture meant to him.

Video: Denard Span on returning to his hometown to play

"That we're honoring the families that lost loved ones," Span said. "It's unfortunate that we have to do this, I wish that we weren't wearing these hats and that this senseless act never happened. I think this is an opportunity for the whole world, the baseball world, to come together and hopefully this will catapult some changes to the gun laws and some other stuff."

The Rays' caps will be autographed and auctioned off to raise money for the Broward Education Foundation. Major League Baseball announced that all 30 clubs will wear the Stoneman Douglas caps this weekend.

Worth noting

Before Thursday's workout, Ryan Schimpf, Andrew Velazquez and Daniel Robertson did extra outfield work with Rocco Baldelli.

Cash said adding the outfield to their skill sets would be a "nice addition" to their versatility.

"[Velazquez] has already [played the outfield]," Cash said. "He's played a lot of center field. Robby worked a little bit [there last] Spring Training last minute. We want to get ahead of it before forcing it at the end of the spring. And Schimpf has some speed on his side. Just see how it plays out."

"Inside the Rays: Spring Training" premieres Friday at 8 p.m. on FOX Sports Sun. The episode will bring fans an inside looking at camp. Included is footage of Kiermaier training with the University of Tampa baseball team and coaches Kyle Snyder and Ozzie Timmons on hand for a free coaches clinic.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2004.

Tampa Bay Rays, Willy Adames, Anthony Banda, Jake Bauers, Yonny Chirinos, Kevin Kiermaier, Denard Span, Justin Williams