Sunday, January 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Peralta leaning toward no WBC

PORT CHARLOTTE — RHP Joel Peralta is expected to make his withdrawal from the World Baseball Classic official soon.

Peralta, named to the Dominican Republic's provisional roster, was already reconsidering given concerns from the Rays about his offseason workload because he also pitched winter ball.

And now that he has been sidelined the first week of camp due to a stiff neck and might not throw his first bullpen session until the middle or end of next week, the 36-year-old said he was even less likely to participate, though he wanted to talk first to Dominican team officials.

"I don't think I'm going to," he said, "but you never know."

Rays manager Joe Maddon said there would be an announcement "forthcoming very soon."

Three other Rays are scheduled to participate in the March event: RHP Fernando Rodney (D.R.), C Jose Molina (Puerto Rico) and INF/OF Ben Zobrist (United States).

IN THE FULD: OF Sam Fuld was among another wave of early reporters Friday, noting the big difference from a year ago in not having to worry about his injured right wrist, which required April surgery and caused him to miss 96 games.

"My mentality is a lot, I guess, better, for a lack of a better word," Fuld said. "It's nice knowing I feel great and healthy, and I don't have this sort of lingering injury in the back of my mind. That makes a world of difference. Spending the whole offseason and knowing I don't have to worry about my wrist. It's a nice feeling. It's awesome to get going here with the same mentality."

Fuld returned in late July concerned about his recovery but said he felt healthy and confident by the end of the season, though a bit frustrated at the lost playing time.

"Last year was the first time I really missed any significant time," he said. "It's an experience I don't want to repeat. It was frustrating last year with all the injuries we had. I would have had an opportunity to play quite a bit. But, yeah, I'm optimistic that I'll be healthy this year and hopefully get a good opportunity to play."

Also reporting Friday were INF Leslie Anderson, INF Mike Fontenet and OF Rich Thompson.

MISCELLANY: Maddon said both top candidates for the fifth spot in the rotation — RHPs Jeff Niemann and Roberto Carmona Hernandez, as the manager called him in deference to his previous name — looked good again in their bullpen sessions. … The schedule of promotional giveaways will be released today. … SS Yunel Escobar and INF Hak-Ju Lee won't attend today's FanFest; all other players are expected to be there.

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