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Rays release Leslie Anderson

After investing four years and around $2 million in Cuban defector 1B Leslie Anderson, the Rays released him Friday so that he could pursue an opportunity in Asia.

Anderson, 31, hit .295 combined over the last four seasons in the minors, including spending the last three at Triple-A Durham, but never got a major-league call-up.

Anderson also had a .989 fielding percentage in his minor league career, where he played first base, rightfield and leftfield. When Anderson was signed, it was thought that he'd have some power potential, and he hit 54 homers over four seasons.

Rays manager Joe Maddon was impressed with Anderson during spring training, saying he looked like a different player than the one he previously saw. But after another solid Triple-A season and no major-league opportunity, it looks like Anderson found a chance to play more in Asia, and the Rays granted him his release.

 

 

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Wright signs with Dodgers

Veteran reliever Jamey Wright thoroughly enjoyed his one year with the Rays in 2013, making the playoffs for the first time in his 18-year big-league career.

Wright said at the end of the season he was interested in coming back, if it worked out.

But Wright will end up returning to one of his other former teams, the Dodgers, which announced Tuesday on his 39th birthday that they've signed him to a one-year contract.

"We're very familiar with Jamey from his time with us in 2012 and he's capable of pitching in a variety of different roles," said Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti "He brings versatility, a veteran presence and added leadership to the staff. We look forward to having him back in 2014."

Wright went 2-2 with a 3.09 ERA in 66 games for the Rays last season, pitching his best towards the end of the season and providing a veteran presence in the clubhouse. Few will forget how Wright dressed up like KISS' Gene Simmons in the waning moments of an 18-inning win over the Orioles in September. …

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Rays sign LHP Norberto to minor league deal

The Rays have signed LHP reliever Jordan Norberto to a minor league deal.

Norberto, 27, has made 78 big-league appearances over three seasons, with his last in 2012. He underwent Tommy John surgery in June, and still must serve a 50-game suspension stemming from the Biogenesis scandal, so he'll likely not be ready until at least midseason. 

Norberto had a 2.77 ERA in 39 games for the A's in 2012. But he didn't pitch in the majors in 2013 and was sent to Triple A at the end of spring training then released, leading to a still unresolved grievance claiming he was hurt at the time and should have been on the disabled list.

Norberto is 4-3 with a 4.00 ERA with 65 strikeouts in in 78 2/3 innings in the majors.

Norberto first announced the deal on Twitter, telling the San Francisco Chronicle that he won't be in camp due to Tommy John rehab, but will report to the minors when ready.

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Rays claim OF/1B Jerry Sands off waivers from Pirates

The Rays made a move Monday that'll likely improve their depth, claiming OF/1B Jerry Sands off waivers from the Pirates.

Sands, a 26-year-old right-handed hitter, played in 70 big-league games for the Dodgers in 2011-2012, hitting .244 with four homers and 27 RBIs. He was part of the blockbuster Dodgers-Red Sox deal in 2012 involving Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, heading to Boston before getting dealt to Pittsburgh later in that season.

Sands spent all of 2013 with the Pirates Triple-A affiliate in Indianapolis and batted .207 with 7 home runs and 34 RBI in 106 games.  The 6-foot-4, 255-pounder showed some pop in the minor leagues, racking up 35 homers (Single-A-Double-A) in 2010, 29 in 2011 and 26 in 2012 (Triple-A).

Sands will be added to the 40-man roster (Rays are at 39), and is a candidate to provide depth for the Rays at Triple-A Durham. He's played all three outfield spots in his brief-big league career, as well as first base. …

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Gimenez lost on waivers to A's

UPDATE, 2:40: Gimenez said he figured the Rays would try to move him at some point, appreciated that it was sooner than later, and much more so when he found out he was headed to his hometown A's.

"I'm pretty frickin' excited to wear white cleats,'' he said. "This is a childhood dream. And an awesome early Christmas present.''

Gimenez said the Rays told him they hoped to sneak him through waivers with the potential of signing him back to a minor-league deal, but he was claimed. "It kind of caught me off-guard,'' he said. "Not that I got moved, but to Oakland of all teams. .. It's a pretty ideal situation.''

Vogt grew up in Gilroy, Calif., which is about 45 minutes from Oakland, and lives now in Reno, which is about a three-hour drive.

He also said how much he appreciated the opportunity with the Rays, and that the best moments of his big-league career to this point came in a Rays uniform.

"I have no ill will at all, it was a great experience,'' he said. "I'm going to miss it, don't get me wrong.''

DEVELOPING: C Chris Gimenez was claimed off waivers by the A's today. …

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Longoria on Anchorman 2 video: "A blast"

Longoria with actors Will Ferrell (left), David Koechner.

Photo courtesy MLB

Longoria with actors Will Ferrell (left), David Koechner.

Rays 3B Evan Longoria indeed was thrilled with the opportunity to throw some baseball questions at the cast of Anchorman 2 for an MLB Fan Cave video that was released this week.

Longoria said he had crossed paths a few times previously with star Will Ferrell, but it "was really cool" to meet the other members of the cast, which includes Christina Applegate, Steve Carell, David Koechner and Paul Rudd.

"They were really easy to interview,'' Longoria said. "I was so impressed to see their comedic talents in person and how they were able to just make up definitions of baseball terms even if they didn't know the answer. I was most impressed with Will, Paul, and David's knowledge of the terms. They were all really knowledgeable. I had a blast and it was an honor.''

 

 

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Rays offer a second "Players and Pooches" calendar

Wil Myers is on the calendar.

Photo courtesy Tampa Bay Rays

Wil Myers is on the calendar.

A second Rays "Players and Pooches" calendar, featuring Evan Longoria, David Price, Wil Myers and manager Joe Maddon, is now on sale at team stores and the Pet Pal shelter and clinic.

The calendar costs $15, with proceed to the shelter.

Here is the release from Pet Pal with details on where it is available: …

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Luke Scott headed to Korea

Luke Scott didn't produce much during his two seasons with the Rays, limited to 187 games by an assortment of injuries, and left off the 2013 postseason roster.

AUSTIN ANTHONY | Times

Luke Scott didn't produce much during his two seasons with the Rays, limited to 187 games by an assortment of injuries, and left off the 2013 postseason roster.

UPDATE, 12:20: Just exchanged a series of texts with Scott.

On heading to play in Korea?

"I believe it will be an adventure. This is where The Lord is sending me.''

On having opporttunities to stay in MLB?

"Not the opportunities I wanted.''

On his two seasons with the Rays?

"For the time I was on the field I was productive even though I never really got in a groove. 540 at bats total with 23 HR and 95 RBI is good production although my average was .230

"I had a good experience with the atmosphere but the inconsistency of playing even when healthy was a challenge.

"I loved the city and the fans.  They were awesome. I just wished I could have gotten in a groove and put up the numbers I know I am capable of."

DEVELOPING: Former Rays DH Luke Scott has found an interesting new home - signing to play for the SK Wyverns in Korea.

Scott, 35, didn't produce much during his two seasons with the Rays, limited to 187 games by an assortment of injuries, and left off the 2013 postseason roster. He hit .235 with 23 homers and a .733 OPS. …

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Beckham out 6-8 months after knee surgery

Tim Beckham is projected to miss 6-8 months after undergoing surgery Tuesday to repair the ACL he tore in his right knee, the team announced.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Tim Beckham is projected to miss 6-8 months after undergoing surgery Tuesday to repair the ACL he tore in his right knee, the team announced.

Rays INF Tim Beckham is projected to miss 6-8 months after undergoing surgery Tuesday to repair the ACL he tore in his right knee, the team announced.

Beckham was injured during a recent workout. Though a longshot to make the opening day roster, he was certainly in the plans if the Rays sustained an injury or needed depth during the season, even more so with Hak-Ju Lee, the team's top middle infield prospect, also recovering from knee surgery.

Beckham, who finally reached the majors in September after being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 draft, had the surgery done by Dr. James Andrews in his Pensacola area facility.

Also, the team announced that RHP Ryne Stanek - a first-round draft pick who received a $1.76-million signing bonus, underwent surgery to repair his right hip labrum and will be out until mid-summer.

Stanek had some issues with the hip and didn't pitch in any regular-season games after signing, though did make a few instructional league appearances. The surgery was essentially to clean up the area.

 

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Video: Longoria quizzes cast of 'Anchorman 2'

Evan Longoria fields a ground ball while warming up before a playoff game against the Red Sox in October.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Evan Longoria fields a ground ball while warming up before a playoff game against the Red Sox in October.

Rays 3B Evan Longoria enjoyed watching the first Anchorman movie, and this past weekend, through MLB officials, he got the opportunity to sit down and interview cast members of the new film, Anchorman 2.

"We are in ongoing conversation with our star players about major promotional appearances,'' said Jeff Heckelman, MLB's director of business PR. "When we uncovered the opportunity with Anchorman 2, Evan was our first choice. We have worked with him in the past and know that he has a great personality, is a fan of the movie and that he would be a great fit in this setting.''

The video was taped in New York - by the MLB Fan Cave crew - as part of the cast's press tour.

Longoria obviously got a kick out of the experience, and his fiancee, Jaime Edmondson, was also impressed, tweeting: "You are now the coolest person I know"

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Rays Longoria, Edmondson engaged

The Twitter photo with the news.

Photo courtesy @jaimeedmondson on Twitter

The Twitter photo with the news.

Rays 3B Evan Longoria and longtime girlfriend Jaime Edmondson shared the news today that they are engaged to be married.

Edmondson was seen - by eagle-eyed observers - sporting an engagment ring at Friday's VIP opening of the Ducky's sports lounge that Longoria co-owns.

Then she made it official on Twitter Tuesday, posted a photo greeting card of their soon to be 1-year-old daughter, Elle, holding a sign that says "My Mom & Dad Are Getting Married."

Edmondson confirmed the news to the Times and said they are planning a January 2016 wedding, and are talking about first expanding their family.

"I'm excited,'' she texted.

Longoria, the Rays franchise player, and Edmondson, a model, sports blogger and former NFL cheerleader, have been dating since Feb. 2011. He proposed about a week before Thanksgiving.

 

 

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Rays Maddon cooking up a feast

Joe Maddon was busy cooking Sunday.

Courtesy @RaysJoeMaddon on Twitter

Joe Maddon was busy cooking Sunday.

Rays manager Joe Maddon and friends were busy Sunday cooking the Thanksmas meals he will serve this week to the needy at three Salvation Army shelters and two other facilities around the Tampa Bay area.

This is the eighth year Maddon has prepared and served the Italian/Polish feast and he said on Twitter today, "I think we set our record for most meatballs made in one day. Had to be close to 2000.''

For more information, or to donate, see joesthanksmas.com

 

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Gooden, Biggio, Shields, Damon among Ted Williams museum inductees

The dinner will be held on the field at the Trop.

The dinner will be held on the field at the Trop.

Tampa native Dwight Gooden and longtime Astros star Craig Biggio head the field of 2014 inductees for the Ted Williams Hitters Museum & Hitters Hall of Fame.

Biggio, who racked up 3,060 career hits as a seven-time All-Star, is one of three hitters to be inducted Feb. 1, along with Johnny Damon and Frank Howard. Damon finished his career with 2,769 hits, Howard was a two-time AL home run champion and hit 382 total.

The Museum will also three pitchers - Gooden, who was the '85 NL Cy Young Award winner; former Rays ace James Shields, and Jim "Mudcat" Grant.

Tickets go on sale Monday to the Feb. 1 induction dinner at the Trop, which will benefit several charitable foundations

The 2014 event will be known as Dinner with Ben Zobrist & Friends, featuring David Price, Alex Cobb and Chris Archer, a nod to Price's uncertain future with the Rays. Tickets for the dinner, ceremony and autographs are $125, available at raysbaseball.com or by calling 727-534-5343. …

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INF Beckham sidelined after tearing ACL

Rays infielder Tim Beckham will miss a significant portion of the 2014 season after tearing the ACL in his right knee.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times

Rays infielder Tim Beckham will miss a significant portion of the 2014 season after tearing the ACL in his right knee.

Rays infielder Tim Beckham will miss a significant portion of the 2014 season after tearing the ACL in his right knee, the Times has learned.

Beckham, the top pick in the 2008 draft, made his major-league debut in September, and has earned praise from manager Joe Maddon.

Though Beckham, 23, would have been a longshot to make the opening day roster, he was likely to see action during the season if the Rays needed depth or had an injury to a middle infielder.

Beckham was promoted after a solid season at Triple-A Durham, hitting .276 with four homers. 51 RBIs and a .342 on-base percentage. He was chosen by the Rays ahead of Pedro Alvarez, Eric Hosmer and Buster Posey, among other present-day major-league stars.

The knee injury is the latest setback in Beckham's career, as he has progress has been slowed by inconsistent play and a drug-related suspension. Beckham was believed to have been hurt working out, but no details were available.

Hak-Ju Lee, the Rays other top middle infield prospect, is recovering well from knee surgery after being injured last season, but his status for the start of the 2014 season is uncertain.

 

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Loney coming back for 3 years, $21-million

James Loney, 29, had a strong 2013 season for the Rays, hitting .299 with 13 homers and 75 RBIs and playing Gold Glove-caliber defense.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times

James Loney, 29, had a strong 2013 season for the Rays, hitting .299 with 13 homers and 75 RBIs and playing Gold Glove-caliber defense.

The Rays got their first choice at first base, reaching agreement Friday to bring back James Loney on a three-year, $21-million deal, the Times has confirmed.

Loney, 29, had a strong 2013 season for the Rays, hitting .299 with 13 homers and 75 RBIs and playing Gold Glove-caliber defense. 

He was sought after by several teams, including the Pirates and the Brewers, but the Rays made it clear they wanted him back.

Loney played for a $2-million salary last season.

ESPN's Buster Olney and Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal first had news of the deal.

The agreement is pending a physical, and likely won't be announced for several days.

 

 

 

 

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