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Rays have deal with Luke Scott

11

January

Luke Scott has agreed to a deal with the Rays to be their DH.

"I'm excited,'' Scott told the Times.

Scott, 33, said he has agreed to a one-year deal, with an 2013 option, and his contract includes some incentives. He expects to primarily serve as the DH - which likely means the end of Johnny Damon's tenure with the Rays - and play some at first base. He is a left-handed hitter and throws right-handed.

Scott missed most of last season while undergoing right shoulder surgery in July, but said he is progressing well and passed what was surely an extensive physical with the Rays.

"There's no reason why I shouldn't be ready for opening day,'' Scott said. 

When healthy the previous three seasons he put up impressive numbers for the Orioles, hitting .266 while averaging 25 homers with a .348 on-base percentage and .845 OPS.

Scott made $6.4-million last season with the Orioles and would have been eligible for arbitration, but was not tendered a contract by the Orioles.

Scott said he has been hitting off a tee for six weeks and has been doing weight work and just started a throwing program. He admitted he likely won't be ready to make throws from the outfield at the start of the season but shouldn't need much time to be ready, and then can play either corner spot.

He said he chose the Rays in part because of their recent success, in part because he grew up in Florida (east of Orlando, going to DeLand High) and in part because he prayed about it.

 Scott's staunchly conservative political and religious beliefs tend to be a topic of conversation. He said Wednesday his focus on the field is baseball, but makes it no secret how he feels and strongly supports "the principles our country is founded on.''

Here's how the Baltimore Sun's erstwhile dan Connolly described Scott in a blog post today:

Scott was popular inside the clubhouse and polarizing away from it. One of the friendlier, more fan-accessible players in recent team history, Scott often was showered by chants of “Luuuke” when he came to the plate at Camden Yards.

But Scott also ruffled feathers along the way with his conservative political stances and continual vocalization of his devout Christian beliefs. He appeared several times on national programs as an unyielding supporter of gun rights, and his proclamation in December 2010 that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States engulfed him in a mini controversy.

He also ticked off some opponents — including the Rays and their former starting pitcher Matt Garza — for his exuberant home run celebrations, which prompted former teammate Kevin Millwood to say that Scott hits the “happiest” long balls in baseball.

Yet Scott never seemed fazed by the attention — negative or positive — and never shied from answering questions or engaging in debates with teammates. His “tough love” approach with enigmatic teammate Felix Pie also garnered rave reviews from the Orioles’ front office.

Here are links to a couple of past stories where Scott shared his views, with Yahoo and ESPN.

 

[Last modified: Friday, February 10, 2012 12:41am]

    

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