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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
The Rays will continue to raise money and awareness for children battling cancer when coaches, players and front office staff shave their heads prior to the March 6 game against the Twins at Charlotte Sports Park.
All proceeds benefit the Pediatric Cancer Foundation’s “Cut for a Cure” program.
Anyone wishing to contribute to the cause can make a $10 donation by texting “PCF” to 20222 or visit www.pcfcutforacure.org.
The Tampa Bay Rays announced their minor league coaching staff. Here is the release ...
The Durham Bulls (AAA) will be managed by Devil Rays and Bulls alumnus Jared Sandberg, who takes the reigns from Charlie Montoyo, the winningest manager in Bulls history, after Montoyo’s promotion to the major league coaching staff. The former infielder will oversee Durham’s International League South title defense in his 20th season in professional baseball and seventh as a manager in the Rays organization. Sandberg managed Charlotte in 2014 after guiding Bowling Green to the Midwest League playoffs in 2013 and winning the New York-Penn League title with Hudson Valley in 2012. Kyle Snyder joins the Bulls staff in his fourth year with the Rays after serving as a pitching coordinator in 2014. He replaces Neil Allen, who was named pitching coach for the Minnesota Twins. Snyder reunites with Sandberg, for whom he served as pitching coach at Bowling Green and Hudson Valley. Coach Dave Myers returns for his seventh year with the Rays organization, all with the Bulls. Athletic trainer Mike Sandoval also returns for his fourth year with Durham. Conditioning coach Bryan King returns for a second straight season after five seasons as the Toronto Blue Jays major league strength and conditioning coach.
The Montgomery Biscuits (AA) will be managed by Brady Williams, who returns for a second season in Montgomery. This will be his 10th year in the Rays organization. Pitching coach R.C. Lichtenstein returns for a fourth season with the Biscuits and his 11th in the Rays organization. Coach Ozzie Timmons, a Tampa native and former Rays outfielder, begins his seventh year in Montgomery and ninth coaching in the Rays organization. Athletic trainer Kris Russell, who was named Southern League Athletic Trainer of the Year in 2014, starts his fourth year with Montgomery.
By Roger Mooney
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays are expected to officially announce their minor league coaching staff this week, but Class A Charlotte sent out a release Wednesday morning announcing Michael Johns as the new Stone Crabs manager, replacing Jared Sandberg.
Sandberg was promoted to Triple A, where he will take over as manager of the Durham Bulls after long-time Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo was hired as the Rays third base coach.
Joining Johns in Port Charlotte are pitching coach Steve Watson, hitting coach Joe Szekely, and trainer Scott Thurston.