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New Rays prospect Wil Myers excited to wear new uniform

Outfielder Wil Myers, far right, says he’ll understand if the Rays opt to start him in the minors.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times

Outfielder Wil Myers, far right, says he’ll understand if the Rays opt to start him in the minors.

ST. PETERSBURG — OF Wil Myers has had more than a month to reflect on being the prized centerpiece of the massive trade with Kansas City. But it wasn't until he got to the Trop for this week's winter development camp, pulled on a Rays T-shirt and shorts and worked out with his new teammates that it really hit him.

"When I was traded it didn't feel any different to me," he said Tuesday. "But now finally being here, obviously having new stuff on, it's really exciting to be part of this trade."

Myers, who joined 30 others for the four-day camp that includes workouts, sessions on media training and other topics and two public appearances, said he is looking forward to spring training — he will be invited to big-league camp — and focused simply on improving his game, with defense atop his to-do list.

And though he'd like to be in the majors as soon as possible, he seems accepting of the more likely, though not definite, possibility — for several reasons — that he will open the season at Triple-A Durham.

"I understand the business, I understand the whole aspect of that, and if I go to Durham it won't be a bad thing," said Myers, who grew up 45 minutes away in High Point, N.C. "I have a lot of friends and family there."

Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman said he liked what he saw in his limited first glimpse of Myers, acquired with RHP Jake Odorizzi, LHP Mike Montgomery and INF Patrick Leonard from the Royals for RHPs James Shields and Wade Davis.

"His body looks good," Friedman said. "He really swung the bat well in the cage … he got the bat through the zone well."

LOOKING FORWARD: OF Josh Sale, the 2010 top pick, said he still doesn't know how he ended up with a positive drug test, and resulting 50-game suspension, in August as he was taking only certified supplements and simple multivitamins.

"It's not known how I came (up) dirty to be honest," he said.

With about 40 games still to serve, he'll participate in spring training then stay in extended spring for the first six weeks of the minor-league season.

"The way I look at it now, it's in the past," Sale said. "Even though I do have to learn from it, I've already learned from it and I'll continue to learn from it. I'm really focused on 2013, staying positive, staying focused, not getting derailed."

Sale was one of seven Rays minor-leaguers suspended for drug-related reasons in the past year.

"Obviously we're disappointed in the number of suspensions," Friedman said. "We have to remember that these are young kids and as much as you try to educate them, mistakes will happen. The important part is that they learn from them."

MAJOR MATTERS: Friedman said they continue to seek another bat, either a primary DH or a player with positional flexibility, more likely through free agency than trade. … Settlements are possible in the four remaining arbitration cases (Sam Fuld, Matt Joyce, Jeff Niemann, Ryan Roberts) before Friday's exchange of figures. … Though not necessarily comfortable about having any pitcher participate, Friedman said they are "supportive of guys that want to play for their country" in the World Baseball Classic, as closer Fernando Rodney said he plans to.

New Rays prospect Wil Myers excited to wear new uniform 01/15/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 8:44pm]

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