Rays pitching coordinator Dick Bosman was in town this past week to watch Montgomery, the Rays’ Double-A affiliate, take on Carolina (Marlins). Bosman shared his thoughts on a few noteworthy arms in the Rays’ system.
On righthander Jeff Niemann, who held the Orioles to one run in six innings on Sunday in his major league debut: "He could be on the cusp. The pages of history are filled with guys who caught a break and never looked back. That’s kind of what we’re hoping for with Jeff. He had a new maturity about him this spring, he showed a little bit better conditioning, came in a little bit better shape. I think he showed a little bit better focus. He understood the importance of pitching down and being consistently down.
"Going back to last season, I think he had a little bit better feel for what he needed to do. I think his health has gotten to the point where he’s understood which aches and pains he can pitch through."
On lefthander David Price, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft who has yet to pitch in a professional game due to a strained muscle in his left elbow: "He’s up to 90 feet now, and he’s reported no difficulty, no discomfort. The rehab programs that these trainers have these days is quite long and drawn out. And I don’t mean that in a critical manner in any way, but it just takes a while."
On 22-year-old righthander Heath Rollins, who in 14 innings with high Class A Vero Beach has a 24-1 K-BB ratio: "Another guy we need to talk about is Heath Rollins. He’s just picked it off where he left off last year, only he’s 10 pounds heavier, 10 more pounds of muscle … He’s a 92, 93 (mph) guy at times, but he can spin the ball. He can spin the baseball. You talk about a guy who can throw curveballs and sliders, straight changes, he just has that innate ability that he can spin the ball."