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Tampa Bay Rays designate for assignment Leslie Anderson, Justin Ruggiano

ST. PETERSBURG — To make room for veterans Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez, the Rays were willing to risk losing some of the valued depth on their 40-man roster.

Outfielder Justin Ruggiano and outfielder/first baseman Leslie Anderson were designated for assignment, giving the Rays 10 days to resolve their situations. Most likely, that will mean taking the risk of losing them on waivers in hopes they pass through so they can be outrighted to the minors. The other options are to trade or release them.

Ruggiano, 28, figured to compete for a backup spot this season, his right-handed bat a potential benefit on what looks to be a left-handed heavy roster. But the Rays may have preferred the upside of newly acquired, though lefty hitting, Sam Fuld and the potential of prospect Desmond Jennings. Plus, Ruggiano is out of options, so he would have been in the same position at the end of the spring if he didn't make the team.

Ruggiano, who played for the Rays in 2007-08, said he was disappointed, though not necessarily surprised, by the move and eager to see what opportunity arises.

"They said they'll do what's best for me; there's nothing I can say on that. I'm not sure how it will all work out," he said. "I've been working real hard and I was excited about the season. Now I'm not really sure what the future is for me in Tampa."

Anderson, a 28-year-old Cuban, received a $500,000 bonus as part of a four-year, $1.75 million deal signed last spring. He showed some promise in 99 games across three minor-league levels, hitting .302 with 11 homers and 49 RBIs, but apparently not enough.

Agent Jaime Torres said he was surprised by the decision, given Anderson's play, and expected interest given the number of teams that they talked to before signing with the Rays.

"All he wants to do is play, and I want to see him play," Torres said. "So if not with Tampa hopefully somewhere else in the big leagues."

With the moves, the Rays have 59 players on their spring roster, with camp set to open next Wednesday.

Also, the Rays signed a 16-year-old left-handed pitcher, Luis Cepeda, for a $60,000 bonus, according to the Dominican Prospects League website.

Around the majors

INDIANS: Catcher Carlos Santana was cleared to resume all onfield activities following a six-month checkup after knee surgery. Santana injured his knee in a home-plate collision Aug. 2 in Boston and had surgery to repair a ligament four days later.

NATIONALS: Minor-league catcher Hector Taveras, 22, was suspended 25 games because he was found in possession of an unauthorized syringe.

PIRATES: Right-hander Ross Ohlendorf went to salary arbitration in the first hearing of the year. Ohlendorf, 28, asked for a raise from $439,000 to $2,025,000. The team countered with $1.4 million.

RED SOX: Left-handed reliever Dennys Reyes agreed to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training. Reyes, 33, had with a 3.55 ERA in 59 appearances last season with the Cardinals and has a 4.18 ERA in 669 career outings. Also, right-handed reliever Alfredo Aceves agreed to a one-year, $650,000 contract. Aceves, 28, pitched 12 innings last season because of a back injury.

WHITE SOX: Right-hander Jake Peavy said he hopes to be ready on opening day but isn't making any guarantees. The former NL Cy Young Award winner said he's at about 60 to 70 percent after season-ending surgery to repair a shoulder muscle in July.

YANKEES: Catcher Russell Martin is set to resume catching drills today for the first time since having knee surgery in December. Martin, 27, had a tear in his right knee repaired.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

Tampa Bay Rays designate for assignment Leslie Anderson, Justin Ruggiano 02/08/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 8, 2011 9:37pm]

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