Rays-Yankees game canceled by rain

The New York Yankees’ exhibition game against the Tampa Bay Rays

on Monday night was canceled because of inclement weather.

Continuous rain throughout the afternoon prompted the decision

around 2 1/2 hours before the scheduled pitch first at 7:05 p.m.

The forecast called for additional rain well into the evening.

The game will not be made up.

New York will break camp after Tuesday’s home game against

Detroit. The Rays have two more games, including a spring finale

Wednesday against Toronto at Tropicana Field.

The Yankees were busy off the field, making a number of roster


In addition to the expected move of Eric Chavez earning a spot

as the backup to third baseman Alex Rodriguez and first baseman

Mark Teixeira, rookie catchers Jesus Montero and Austin Romine lost

out in the backup catcher competition.

The 21-year old Montero, along with infielder Ramiro Pena and

outfielder Justin Maxwell were optioned to Triple-A

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Romine, 22, was optioned to Double-A


”When you look at those two young guys, we consider them

front-line catchers in the majors someday,” Yankees manager Joe

Girardi said. ”They seem to understand it and will go down with

the right attitude. We want them to play everyday. We want, when

they come up, not to have to go back.”

Gustavo Molina, who has played in 23 major-league games, will be

the backup catcher unless the Yankees make a late addition from

outside the organization.

Eduardo Nunez beat out Pena for the other reserve infield


Mark Prior, looking to make a comeback with New York after not

pitching in the majors since 2006, will remain in Florida to

continue his development into a reliever.

”Just because of the weather and the first time he’s ever

relieved,” Girardi said. ”Eventually, you want to get where he

can give you more than one inning. The weather is much more

predictable here. It’s warmer for a guy that’s never had somewhat

of a time limit when he warms up.”

Prior went 18-6 with a 2.43 ERA in 30 starts for the NL Central

champion Chicago Cubs in 2003.

”They’re thinking long term,” Prior said. ”I think I’m major

league ready stuff-wise. I’ve got to go back to back games. Pitch

more than one inning. I know there’s a lot of things I can improve


Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said his roster is fairly set, but

isn’t ruling out the possibility of a change – particularly in the

bullpen – before Friday’s opener against Baltimore.

”The pitchers look to be set, and they kind of are, but there’s

still the threat of something else happening,” Maddon said.

James Shields, the Rays’ scheduled starter, will throw at

Tropicana Field on Tuesday. The right-hander will throw 30 pitches

instead of the 60 he would have made against the Yankees.

New York’s A.J. Burnett threw a simulated game in a batting


NOTES: The Yankees also released INF Ronnie Belliard and

assigned INF Doug Bernier to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. … The Rays

returned LHP Cesar Cabral to the Boston Red Sox for $25,000. He was

selected in the major league phase of the Rule 5 draft last

December. Tampa Bay has 26 players in camp, including LHP

J.P.Howell, who’ll start the season on the disabled list. … New

York is working on a deal to sell the rights of RHP Romulo Sanchez

to a Japanese league team.