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Tampa Bay Rays lose out on extra draft pick, bemoan game's economic structure

ST. PETERSBURG — After losing out on a "trifling" extra draft pick in Major League Baseball's new competitive balance lottery supposedly designed to help teams such as the Rays, team president Matt Silverman said significant change is needed to the game's overall economic structure.

"We've been involved in baseball for seven years, long enough to see two new basic agreements get ratified," Silverman said. "From Day 1, we have advocated for meaningful change, especially when it comes to addressing the dramatic imbalances in our game. Meaningful change has not occurred. It must go well beyond a trifling draft pick that a team in our position may or, as (Wednesday) showed, may not be fortunate enough to receive."

The "competitive balance" lottery was added as part of the new labor agreement to provide an additional pick in next year's draft to small-market and low-revenue teams. But the Rays, despite being both, missed out, while less needy teams, such as the Tigers (and their $132 million payroll), Marlins and Orioles got extra picks.

MLB identified its 10 smallest markets and lowest-revenue clubs and, with seven on both lists, set a 13-team field for the 12 additional picks, six after the first round and six after round two. MLB also added the Tigers — as a revenue sharing recipient not in the top 15 markets — to the field for the second-round picks.

A team's chances were weighted in proportion to its 2011 wins total, so the Rays, who had the fourth most wins of the 14 teams, were at somewhat of a disadvantage. (As an added benefit, the picks can be traded.)

Teams that won picks after round one were the Royals, Pirates, Diamondbacks, Orioles, Reds, and Marlins, and after round two the Padres, Indians, Rockies, A's, Brewers and Tigers. The Cardinals were also shut out.

LONGORIA IMPROVING: It's not a major update, but manager Joe Maddon said 3B Evan Longoria is "getting better" and will join the team on the upcoming road trip with a plan to step up his baseball activity.

"What we like is that it's getting better," Maddon said. "He's feeling less strain on different movements, which is a good thing. If you watch him hit, you would never know it. If you watch him just pick up a normal ground ball you would never know that he's bothered. But he still is."

Maddon said there is still no timetable for Longoria, out since April 30 with a partially torn left hamstring, to start on a minor-league rehab, nor for his return..

REHAB REPORT: OF Sam Fuld faced a key test in his rehab from right wrist surgery Wednesday, playing nine innings in rightfield for Triple-A Durham and going 2-for-5 with a double. He's 3-for-12 in three games with the Bulls, 5-for-25 in eight games overall.

Depending on how he feels today, Maddon said "it's possible" Fuld would rejoin the Rays before the homestand ends on Sunday. "He's doing good," Maddon said. "He's probably ahead of schedule. … So it may happen sooner rather than later."

EARLY RISER: LHP David Price planned to be in bed by 11 Wednesday night and at the Trop by 8:30 this morning to be ready for his 12:10 start. The biggest issue may be breakfast. "It's tough for me to eat at any time of the day whenever I first wake up," he said. "I might just eat a big dinner (Wednesday night)."

MISCELLANY: The Rays won the seven previous games in which they drew 10 walks and had 10 hits; no MLB lost when doing so since the White Sox in 2010. … DH Luke Scott matched his career high with his first four-hit game since 2006. … It was the third time, in 22 games, the Rays lost when scoring six or more. … 2B Ben Zobrist will meet after today's game with kids from the Sandlot Club, which teaches at-risk youth about baseball and character building.

Tampa Bay Rays lose out on extra draft pick, bemoan game's economic structure 07/18/12 [Last modified: Thursday, July 19, 2012 1:27am]

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