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Claims in burglary case of Tampa Bay Rays players draw interest from Major League Baseball

NEW YORK — Major League Baseball officials are looking into claims by the men charged with burglarizing the spring training rental home shared by Rays LHP David Price, 3B Evan Longoria and SS Reid Brignac that a container of marijuana was among the items they took.

The claims, based on statements, some secondhand, from the suspects and others questioned in the investigation of the March 26 break-in in Port Charlotte, were contained in the five-page probable cause affidavits released by the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office on Thursday. In an accompanying statement, the Sheriff's Office said "no evidence has ever been found and there is no indication the residents of the home were aware of it."

Longoria said the players were not going to address the issue publicly.

"We've decided, obviously the three of us as a group and the organization as a whole, to just let the police do their job and us to keep that to ourselves," he said. "We're just not going to make any comment. … What's been said is said and our only way to react to it is obviously not to go the wrong way and react negatively to it, just to not make a comment on it."

Rays vice president Rick Vaughn said: "We are pleased that the thieves have been apprehended, and we will have no further comment on the ongoing legal proceedings."

Deputies arrested and charged two men, Steven Charles Vaughn, 22, and David Kimo Rufino, 19, in the break-in, which netted about $60,000 of electronics, jewelry, cash and an AK-47 rifle legally registered to Longoria. They are looking for a third suspect, 15-year-old Tavarious Smith.

MLB will look into the latest developments. Under the MLB drug policy, players are only tested for drugs of abuse, such as marijuana, based on "reasonable cause," and a first offense can result in placement in a treatment program and additional testing rather than a suspension. Players are tested randomly for performance-enhancing drugs.

DRAFT BREEZE: Rays officials continue talks with their top four unsigned picks in advance of the midnight Monday signing deadline.

They appear to be in good position to sign LHP Grayson Garvin, the 59th pick who is weighing a return to Vanderbilt, and 3B Tyler Goeddel, who has an offer to attend UCLA. The toughest sign looks to be OF Mikie Mahtook, their second pick and 31st overall, as he considers going back to LSU.

And somewhere in the middle is top pick RHP Taylor Guer­rieri, the 24th overall selection who has an offer from South Carolina and is rumored to be considering junior college (allowing a return to the draft in one year rather than three), though his father, Chris, told the St. Petersburg Times this week that was not under consideration.

If the Rays don't sign any of the four, they get a compensation pick at the same spot next year. They have already signed eight of their unprecedented 12 picks among the first 89.

MEDICAL MATTERS: RHP Alex Cobb's surgery to remove a blockage in a vein near his top rib was delayed, at least for a few days, when he had a reaction to medication and became sick. Cobb will remain hospitalized in Dallas and be re-evaluated Monday. … C John Jaso (right oblique) is 4-for-11 in the first three games of a two-week rehab at Triple-A Durham.

MISCELLANY: The Rays hit five solo homers in a game for the fourth time, and it was all of their runs for the second time, also a 5-4 win at Texas on May 4, 2004. They last hit five homers of any kind on Sept. 7, 2010. … Top prospect LHP Matt Moore struck out 10 in six shutout innings for Durham in his fifth Triple-A start, allowing two hits.

Claims in burglary case of Tampa Bay Rays players draw interest from Major League Baseball 08/12/11 [Last modified: Saturday, August 13, 2011 12:17am]
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