Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)


Aybar hoping for clean slate with Rays

Willy Aybar takes the field for the first time as a Ray after being trapped, and briefly jailed, in the Dominican Republic.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times Willy Aybar takes the field for the first time as a Ray after being trapped, and briefly jailed, in the Dominican Republic.

ST. PETERSBURG — When INF Willy Aybar stepped into the batter's box Wednesday for the first time as a Ray, he was greeted with a fan yelling, "Here we go, Willy!"

Aybar, making his much-anticipated arrival after visa issues and legal troubles kept him in the Dominican Republic, said he's "ready to go" and hoping to put his problems behind him.

The 24-year-old, acquired from the Braves in mid January, was expected to be the club's main option at third base, along with INF Joel Guzman, if touted prospect Evan Longoria doesn't break camp. But Aybar was arrested and jailed this month in the Dominican Republic on domestic violence charges. The charges were dropped and Aybar said he and his wife, Yessenia, "are okay." He said he wanted to thank the Rays for their support and apologized for the "distraction."

Manager Joe Maddon said he'll eventually sit down with Aybar and "get everything out on the table." But he added the club did its due diligence before trading for Aybar, who missed all of last season due to an injured right wrist and a three-month stint in a rehab facility for substance abuse.

"I really believe it's gonna be just fine," Maddon said. "I've heard nothing but good things from people that really know him."

Aybar jumped into Wednesday's intrasquad game, going 1-for-2 with a single and making a nice play at third base on a sharp grounder by C Matt Spring.

BONDS MARKET: Jeff Borris, the agent for all-time home run king Barry Bonds, said he had "no further comments" — for now — on potential interest from the Rays. He told that Bonds had "one goal, and that is to put a ring on his finger,'' which seems to indicate they're hoping for a contending team to show interest.

ROCCO ON TRACK: Rocco Baldelli was a DH in the intrasquad game, which he said was planned all along. Baldelli, who missed most of last season with hamstring injuries, went 0-for-2 while taking it easy on the bases and said all was well. Maddon, who said "weather was a factor" in limiting Baldelli to DH duties, said he will play in the outfield "relatively soon."

INJURY UPDATE: Reid Brignac, the Rays' top shortstop prospect, is out four to seven days with a broken pinky toe in his right foot, sustained Tuesday when he was hit by a Chris Mason pitch. … Executive vice president Andrew Friedman said top draft pick LHP David Price, who was scratched from his intrasquad outing Tuesday due to shoulder stiffness, felt "much better" but didn't throw. Price was scheduled to be seen by Dr. Koco Eaton.

MISCELLANY: For the second straight day, RF Jonny Gomes made huge plays in an intrasquad game. On Wednesday, Gomes had a double, triple and two RBIs to lead Foley's Feinsteins to a 4-0 victory over Martinez's Mud Dogs, avenging the Mud Dogs' 2-1 win from Tuesday. … C Mike Difelice got hit with the ball twice in the same half-inning, once by a pitch, another on a soft liner by Jon Weber. "It's one of those days," he said. … RHP Jae Kuk Ryu has signed, leaving just CF B.J. Upton and RHP Scott Dohmann left unsigned before Friday's deadline.

Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected]

Aybar hoping for clean slate with Rays 02/27/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 27, 2008 11:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Video: Gordon Hayward's message to Celtics from hospital bed after gruesome injury


    BOSTON — Gordon Hayward's face was etched in pain and shock.

    Gordon Hayward of the Boston Celtics sits on the floor after being injured while playing the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on October 17, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. [Gregory Shamus | Getty Images]
  2. Rick and Tom podcast: Where does Winston rank among top QBs?


    Where does Bucs QB Jameis Winston rank among current NFL QBs this year? The result might shock you. Rick Stroud and Tom Jones break down a new poll by Sports Illustrated in their latest podcast.

    Where does Jameis Winston rank among the NFL's top quarterbacks?
  3. Epilogue: USF's Mike Radomski made thank-yous a way of life


    TAMPA — He was a sucker for baseball and benevolence. Mike Radomski tracked every gesture, regardless of how noble or benign, as meticulously as pitch counts in his volumes of scorebooks.

    Assistant director of communications Mike Radomski, who primarily served as the media liaison for men's basketball but also worked with several other Bulls sports, died shortly after 1 a.m. Oct. 12, 2017 in a car accident on Interstate 75 near his Wildwood home. He was 29. PHOTO PROVIDED.
  4. Cubs down Dodgers 3-2; force NLCS Game 5 Thursday


    CHICAGO — Javier Baez snapped an 0-for-20 skid with two home runs, former Ray Wade Davis hung on for a six-out save and the Cubs avoided a sweep, holding off the Dodgers 3-2 Wednesday night in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series.

  5. Bucs' Vernon Hargreaves: 'I'm not making any plays'


    TAMPA — Eli Manning gathered his receivers together on the sideline during the Giants' Week 4 game against the Bucs and told them he planned to target the weakest link of the secondary all afternoon.

    Patriots receiver Chris Hogan gets position in front of Bucs cornerback Vernon Hargreaves for a 5-yard touchdown pass in New England’s win on Oct. 5.