New Rays outfielder/first baseman Jerry Sands, claimed off waivers Monday from the Pirates, will have a familiar face greeting him in the team's spring training clubhouse.
Sands, 26, is good friends with right-hander Chris Archer, who said the two were high school rivals and co-conference players of the year in 2005 in the small town of Clayton, N.C. (population: 17,031 in 2012).
"We also duked it out on the gridiron," Archer said.
Sands will likely provide depth at Triple-A Durham. The right-handed hitter played in 70 games for the Dodgers in 2011-12, hitting .244 with four homers and 27 RBIs; he played all three outfield positions as well as first base.
He was part of the blockbuster Dodgers-Red Sox deal in 2012 involving Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, heading to Boston before getting traded to the Pirates later in the season.
Sands spent all of 2013 at Triple-A Indianapolis and batted .207 with seven homers and 34 RBIs in 106 games. The 6-foot-4, 255-pounder had previously shown some pop in the minors, hitting 35 homers (between Class A and Double A) in 2010, 29 in 2011 and 26 in 2012 (Triple A). He will be added to the 40-man roster.
Tweeted Archer: "Who would have ever thought that 2 players from the small town of Clayton, NC would be on the same major league roster?"
Joe Smith can be reached at email@example.com.