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Tampa Bay Rays add former New York Yankees coach Dave Eiland as special assistant

ST. PETERSBURG — Dave Eiland will have several duties in his new role as a Rays special assistant, including scouting draft candidates, evaluating minor-league prospects and offering advice on potential acquisitions.

Also, sharing any secrets on how to beat his previous team, the Yankees.

"Absolutely, whatever I can give 'em to help, I can do that," Eiland said. "And I've got plenty of them. They're the enemy now."

Eiland spent the past three seasons as the Yankees pitching coach, and five before that in their minor-league system. Though he'd like to eventually get back on the field as a big-league coach, he said he welcomed this opportunity to be involved in different aspects of the game for a year, and to join the Rays, having admired what they've done and how they've done it, on the field and in the front office.

The hiring is something of a homecoming, as Eiland spent the 1998-2000 seasons pitching for the Rays, and is a Dade City native and Zephyr­hills High and USF product who lives in Wesley Chapel with his wife and two daughters.

Eiland, 44, said he already spoke with current Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey to make sure his intentions in taking the Rays job were clear, and that Hickey welcomed him.

The Yankees' decision not to rehire Eiland was a bit surprising, but he hasn't said much about it, and won't. "I have my opinion on the way it was handled, and there was never any real reason as to why, but there's no reason for me to get into that," he said.

DOTEL AN OPTION: The Rays are among the teams talking to reliever Octavio Dotel, 37, who had 22 saves and a 4.08 ERA this past season with the Pirates, Rockies and Dodgers. The Jays and Pirates are also reportedly interested.

Yankees: CC Sabathia wanted to pitch alongside friend Cliff Lee as Yankees, but the left-hander said he understands why Lee turned down an extra $30 million to return to the Phillies. "As part of the Yankee family and organization I'm disappointed. As a family friend, I'm happy he's in the place he wanted to be. You have to do what makes you happy and what's best for your family." … The team signed right-hander Leonel Vinas, 19, to a minor-league deal. Vinas, from Long Island, was the ace of Hank's Yanks, a team sponsored by Yankees co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner.

Jurisprudence: Andrew Gallo, 24, the construction worker whose drunken driving crash killed Angels rookie pitcher Nick Adenhart and two others, was sentenced by a California judge to 51 years to life in prison.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Tampa Bay Rays add former New York Yankees coach Dave Eiland as special assistant 12/22/10 [Last modified: Thursday, December 23, 2010 7:45am]
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