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Friday, Mar 06, 2015

Rays Report

A baseball blog by Roger Mooney

Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune and TBO.com. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald.

Day 3 Notes: Montgomery to ‘pen, starters for 1st 3 games

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By Roger Mooney

PORT CHARLOTTE -- LHP Mike Montgomery is going to make the transition this spring from starter to reliever. The Rays feel his stuff plays better in short bursts rather than five or six innings, and it could enable Montgomery to reach the big leagues quicker.

Montgomery has pitched in relief only five times during his seven-year minor league career. He did work out of he bullpen during the Arizona Fall League, thought was were scheduled appearances and he had time to prepare.

Montgomery said he still thinks he can be a starter but is receptive to the move.

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Rays release former first-rounder Josh Sale after troubled career

Published:   |   Updated: February 28, 2015 at 09:28 AM
By Roger Mooney

PORT CHARLOTTE - The Tampa Bay Rays on Friday released outfielder Josh Sale, the first-round pick from the 2010 draft who was suspended three times since 2012.

Sale was first suspended in August 2012 for testing positive for stimulants. He was suspended indefinitely in 2013 for conduct detrimental to the team after posting derogatory comments on his Facebook page regarding a dancer he met in a strip club. He was reinstated for the 2014 season but suspended in August for failing another drug test.

Sale was the 17th overall pick in the 2010 draft by Tampa Bay. 

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Morning notes: Belisario injured, Zim honored

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By Roger Mooney

PORT CHARLOTTE -- The Rays first full-squad workout of the Kevin Cash Era began with the news that RHP Ronald Belisario has a fracture in his left shoulder and will be off the field for two weeks.

The non-roster free agent competing for a spot in the bullpen suffered the injury during an accident before he arrived in camp. He will be reevaluated in two weeks.

The Rays also honored the late Don Zimmer with a street sign along the walkway that runs past the players’ parking lot. Don Zimmer Way will be unveiled by Matt Silverman as the team heads to the practice fields.

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Morning notes: Balfour returns home for ailing dad

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By Roger Mooney

PORT CHARLOTTE -- Rays pitcher Grant Balfour left the team and is returning home to be with his father, David, who is battling pancreatic cancer.

Since David Balfour, 62, lives in Australia, Balfour will likely be gone for more than a few days.

Former first base coach George Hendrick, now a special advisor with the Rays, visited camp this morning.

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Smyly clarifies tweet about Moncada’s signing bonus

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By Roger Mooney

PORT CHARLOTTE -- Rays LHP Drew Smyly caused a bit of a stir Monday night with his tweet regarding the reported $31.5 million signing bonus given by the Red Sox to 19-year-old Cuban free agent infield prospect Yoan Moncada.

Smyly posted “It’s not right that a Cuban 19yr old gets paid 30m and the best 19yr old in the entire USA gets prob 1/6th of that. Everyone should have to go through same process,” in his account, @SmylyD.

On Tuesday morning Smyly clarified what he meant by his tweet.

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Archer, Cobb optimistic about 2015 as workouts begin

Published:   |   Updated: February 23, 2015 at 12:54 PM
By Roger Mooney

PORT CHARLOTTE — The Rays took the field this morning for the first time in 2015 as pitchers and catchers participated in the first workout of the spring at Charlotte Sports Park.

There is a lot of optimism inside the clubhouse about the team’s chances this season despite all the turnover during the offseason.

“To me we’re going to be one of the most exciting teams to watch in the American League.” Pitcher Chris Archer said before taking the field.

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MLB’s new rules to speed up games

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Major League Baseball announced rules that will be in place this season to speed up the pace of games. They’ve also modified the rules surrounding replay reviews.

Here is the release from MLB:

PACE OF GAME

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INF Elmore signs minor league deal with invite to camp

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By Roger Mooney

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays continued to add to their depth at middle infield Monday when they signed Jake Elmore to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training.

Elmore, 27, has played parts of the past three years in the major leagues with three different organizations. He was designated for assignment in January by the Pirates. The Pirates claimed him off waivers from the Reds in November. He had joined the Reds in August after being claimed off waivers from the A’s.

Elmore played with the Diamondbacks in 2012, the Astros in 2013 and the Reds last season.

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Rays to donate jerseys to more than 5,000 T-ball players and coaches

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For the second consecutive spring, the Rays will provide jerseys and caps to more than 5,500 T-ball players and coaches for more than 50 Little Leagues from nine surrounding districts. The program reaches Little League T-ball teams in Charlotte, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Sarasota counties.

The Rays kick off the initiative the weekend of Feb. 7-8 when the team will distribute the uniforms and conduct clinics for the T-ball players and coaches.

Manager Kevin Cash, who played on the Northside Little League team that represented Tampa in the 1989 Little League World Series, will address the coaches on Feb. 7. Rays pitchers Grant Balfour and Jake Odorrizi will help conduct clinics for the kids on Feb. 8.

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Manfred sees Tampa as ‘vibrant major league market’

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BY ROGER MOONEY

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred, in an phone interview with the Tampa Tribune, said he shares the vision of Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg that a major league franchise can thrive in the Tampa area.

“I think with the right facility Tampa Bay can be a vibrant major league market,” Manfred said Friday.

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