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Sean Rodriguez looking forward to competition in Tampa Bay Rays camp

PORT CHARLOTTE — Though Wednesday's workout marked INF Sean Rodriguez's first day in Rays camp, there was a somewhat familiar feel.

Rodriguez, 24, acquired from the Angels in the August trade of LHP Scott Kazmir, knew manager Joe Maddon from his time in Anaheim.

And several of the Rays who played with him in Triple-A Durham last fall welcomed him in.

"It was just like I had been with them for two, three years," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez will be a focal point in the spring as he's in the mix at second base, with the Rays sorting out their second base/rightfield platoon. He said Maddon told him he'd be playing several positions in camp, from infield to outfield, and he's excited for the opportunity.

"I'm just looking forward to winning," he said. "… I was with the Angels and (manager Mike) Scioscia is a big winning guy, and Maddon comes from the Angels organization. So I'm just blessed, what can I say? I'm fortunate to go from one great organization to another."

AYBAR OUT: INF Willy Aybar was held out of the first full-squad workout and will miss at least another week due to soreness in his previously injured left wrist.

Aybar, who sprained his wrist making a check swing during a Jan. 10 game in the Dominican Republic, said he felt weak Tuesday when trying to hit, and the Rays have decided to be cautious with him.

Maddon said he's not concerned, and although they'll have to ease Aybar back into camp, he won't be falling behind schedule.

"Spring training is long enough that if we take this week and get this thing calmed down, I have no qualms that he's going to be fine," Maddon said.

MEETING TIME: With the full squad finally together, Maddon gave his annual spring address, with an emphasis on getting off to a better start, doing the little things better and finishing games.

Team president Matt Silverman also addressed the team, as did travel director Jeff Ziegler, among other team officials.

"It was very normal, very comfortable," Maddon said of the first meeting. "When you look out and see the same group of faces for several years in a row, that's kind of comforting. Not only that, they're really good.

"Now that they've added experience over the last couple years, and going through these drills, the communication is so wide open and everybody gets it."

IN AND OUT: While Ben Zobrist spent Wednesday's workout in the infield, and likely will stay there for a while during camp, Maddon reiterated that the All-Star will also get "stretched out" and get work in rightfield as the Rays try to figure out the best spot for him.

MISCELLANY: RHP Rafael Soriano, who was limited early in camp due to a cold, threw his first bullpen session of spring Wednesday, saying he's feeling good. Maddon said the reliever will make five to seven appearances in spring exhibitions.

Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@sptimes.com.

Sean Rodriguez looking forward to competition in Tampa Bay Rays camp 02/24/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 24, 2010 9:16pm]

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