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Rays

Rays invite five to camp on minor-league deals


Published:   |   Updated: February 6, 2014 at 02:54 PM

The Tampa Bay Rays signed infielder Wilson Betemit, outfielders Justin Christian and Jeremy Moore, right-hander Juan Sandoval and catcher Eddy Rodriguez to minor-league contracts with invites to spring training.

Camp opens Feb. 15 at the Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte with the first workout for pitchers and catchers.

Here is a look at the five players from the Rays new release that was sent Thursday:

Betemit, 32, spent parts of 11 seasons in the major leagues and is a career .267 hitter. The switch-hitting third baseman owns a career .279 average vs. right-handed pitching compared with .228 vs. left-handers. He was limited to six games with the Baltimore Orioles in 2013 after suffering a torn PCL in his right knee in late March.

He has played at the major-league level for seven teams: Atlanta Braves (2001, 2004-06), Los Angeles Dodgers (2006-07), New York Yankees (2007-08), Chicago White Sox (2009), Kansas City Royals (2010-11), Detroit Tigers (2011) and Orioles (2012-13).

Christian, 33, spent parts of three seasons in the major leagues with the Yankees (2008) and San Francisco Giants (2011-12), appearing in 76 games. He hit .270 (101-for-374) in 107 games with Triple-A Memphis (St. Louis Cardinals) in 2013, including .291 (71-for-244) vs. right-handed pitching.

He ranked as the Pacific Coast League’s fifth-toughest player to strike out, averaging one strikeout every 9.3 plate appearances.

The right-handed hitter has a career .289 batting average and .354 on-base percentage over 10 minor-league seasons while starting at all three outfield positions. He has also been successful on 85.1 percent (322 of 378) of his stolen base attempts.

Moore, 26, appeared in eight games for the Los Angeles Angels in 2011. He spent the 2013 season with the Dodgers’ organization and split the year between Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Albuquerque while playing in three games with the rookie-level Arizona League Dodgers.

He hit a combined .211 (53-for-251) in the three levels.

Over eight minor-league seasons, the left-handed hitter hit .270 with 82 home runs, 129 stolen bases and a .325 on-base percentage.

Rodriguez, 28, played in two games for the San Diego Padres in 2012. He split the 2013 season between Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A Tucson in the Padres’ organization and hit .231 (65-for-281) in 83 games. He resides in Naples and was selected by the Cincinnati Reds in the 20th round of the 2006 June draft out of the University of Miami.

Sandoval, 33, split the 2013 season between Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham and combined to go 6-4 with a 3.21 ERA (81.1 innings, 29 earned runs) and 19 saves over 58 appearances. He played the previous two seasons in the Mexican League before signing with the Rays as a minor-league free agent prior to the 2013 season.

The Dominican native was blinded in his right eye in 2006, when he was hit with shotgun pellets as a bystander during an altercation in a Dominican restaurant. He originally signed with Seattle in 2002 and has spent time in the Mariners’ (2002-07), Milwaukee Brewers’ (2008-09) and Philadelphia Phillies’ (2010) organizations.

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