Jeff Niemann is making a strong case for a spot in the Tampa Bay Rays' starting rotation.
It seems as if Niemann has teased the Rays for years with his talent, and this year with James Shields traded to Kansas City, there's an opening behind David Price, Matt Moore, Jeremy Hellickson and Alex Cobb.
Niemann and Roberto Hernandez are both vying for it, and Niemann put in a strong bid for the job on Thursday as the Rays beat the Baltimore Orioles 4-3.
He went 4 1-3 innings, allowing one run on four hits, walking three and striking out three.
''Everything's there,'' Niemann said. ''Put the ball in play and let the defense do the work.''
In 12 2-3 innings, Niemann has allowed three runs on 11 hits. Hernandez, who will pitch Sunday at Boston has allowed four earned runs in 10 innings.
Niemann's velocity was down, but he thinks the scoreboard's measurement was a little off.
''We were able to get those bad swings and those weak hit balls. For me, it's more important what the hitters ...