Make us your home page
Instagram

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Notebook

Aybar hoping for clean slate with Rays

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.

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 SI.com 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 joesmith@sptimes.com.

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

Loading...
  1. Rays have their chances, but end up with another loss (w/video)

    The Heater

    TORONTO — The litany of games the Rays have given away this season is long enough, arguably too lengthy. So the only way to get to the postseason is make up for some of those losses by grabbing some wins when the opportunity is presented, especially at this time of year when the margin is diminished and the stakes …

    Associated Press
  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Blue Jays game

    The Heater

    You wonder if the scouting reports and/or workload are catching up to rookie RHP Jake Faria. The bottom line wasn't bad again, three runs in 51/3 innings, but he's having to work harder to get there.

  3. Rays journal: Chris Archer eager for eventful final stretch

    The Heater

    TORONTO — RHP Chris Archer takes the mound today for the Rays as they head into the final 40 games of the season with little margin for error as they battle for an American League playoff spot.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) takes a moment on the mound in the second inning of the game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, August 6, 2017.
  4. Tim Tebow's slump continues, as does fan support

    Sports

    CLEARWATER — On July 29, playing against the Charlotte Stone Crabs, Tim Tebow smacked a mammoth three-run homer, helping the St. Lucie Mets cruise to a 10-3 victory at Charlotte Sports Park.

    St. Lucie’s Tim Tebow, shown Monday at Spectrum Field, struggled at the plate Wednesday against the Threshers.
  5. Rays at Blue Jays, 4:07 p.m. Thursday

    The Heater

    Today: at Blue Jays

    4:07, Rogers Centre, Toronto

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Rays info: Toll-free 1-888-326-7297

    Probable pitchers

    Rays: RH Chris Archer (8-7, 3.84)

    JAYS: RH Chris Rowley (1-0, 1.69)