More on Josh Sale, other Rays notes
The top news at the Rays winter development camp Wednesday were the first public comments from OF Josh Sale, who is on track to be reinstated from his indefinite suspension and resume his career this spring.
Sale, 22, spoke for nearly 10 minutes with reporters, answering all questions, saying all the right things, making eye contact, looking like someone who had learned from their mistakes.
Time will tell, as Sale, the team's top pick in the 2010 draft, has two suspensions and a .238 batting average over two seasons on his resume.
"We're just happy that he is where he's at, and he met all the criteria to get invited to our camp,'' farm director Mitch Lukevics said. "We look forward to him continuing to mature as a young man and move forward in his life and his baseball career.''
Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman said, "I think the past six months have been really eye-opening for him in a number of ways, and I think he is much better for the time he spent really focusing on himself and not just what he can do on the field. The hope is once he figures out that part and gets to a sustainable point with his life it transfers to on the field as well.''
Here are some other Rays notes from Wednesday:
* Three players just added to the 40-man roster - INF Vince Belnome, RHP Jesse Hahn, LHP C.J. Riefenhauser - were part of the camp, which ends Thursday. A fourth, RHP Kirby Yates, didn't make it due to travel issues from Hawaii. Neither did INF Kean Wong. INF Brandon Martin had to leave early.
* OF Matt Joyce was among the big-league players also working out at the Trop. He is one of seven players eligible for arbitration, and unsure how his situation will be resolved by Friday's 1 p.m. deadline to exchange figures. The others are David Price, Jeremy Hellickson, Sean Rodriguez, Jake McGee, Jose Lobaton, Cesar Ramos. If there are no deals by the Friday deadline, the team cuts off negotiations and heads to a hearing.
* The Rays announced their game times, with all but 10 Monday-Friday games at 7:10, and Sunday games remaining at 1:40. Saturday games will be split - in part because of national TV appearances and requirements - between 1:10, 4:10 and 7:10. The March 31 opener will start at 4:10.
* As of now, the Rays are not scheduled for any ESPN Sunday Night Baseball appearances, although the later part of the season is not scheduled. The Rays are set for three Fox national appearances: at Boston on May 31, vs. the Yankees Aug. 16 and vs. the Orioles Sept. 6.