Hawpe "couldn't be more excited" to join Rays
Newly-acquired outfielder Brad Hawpe arrived at Tropicana Field this evening, saying he "couldn't be more excited" to join the Rays and a pennant race.
"I haven't been this excited since I got called up to the big leagues," said Hawpe, 31.. "It's an opportunity to join the best record in baseball, the best team in baseball. It's late in the season. These guys have been playing great all year, so I'm really looking forward to the opportunity to just help them out."
Hawpe said he'll play Saturday and Monday for Class-A Charlotte before rejoining the big league club next week. Manager Joe Maddon said the left-handed hitting Hawpe will primarily be used as DH against right-handed pitchers, and occasionally in the outfield and first base. Hawpe, an All-Star a year ago, said he feels he can rebound from a rough season with the Rockies, hitting .255 with seven homers and 34 RBIs
"I didn’t play as well as I should have," he said. "I should have played better when I was there. I lost a role there and once you lose your role, they have some young guys that are there that were looking for their opportunities. That's how I got mine."
Hawpe said he had good conversations with the Rockies management last week, and they told him with the younger players expected to get more playing time, they'd try to put him in a situation where he could land with another club. After Hawpe cleared waivers, he had conversations with several teams, but heard good things about the Rays, and Maddon, and a lengthy discussion with executive VP Andrew Friedman Thursday night sealed the deal. He said adjusting to being DH, which he's rarely done, is something he'll have to get used to, but got advice from Jason Giambi.
As a side benefit, Hawpe said Tropicana Field, Yankee Stadium and the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington are the only three big league stadiums he's never played in.
Noting that the Yankees and Rangers are both likely playoff teams, Hawpe quipped, "We'll play them in the playoffs and knock them all out there."
-- JOE SMITH