ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays added two infielders with limited big-league experience — Angel Chavez and J.J. Furmaniak — and four of their own minor-leaguers to expand their spring training roster to 56.
Chavez, who played 10 games with the Giants in 2005, and Furmaniak, 29 games with the Pirates and A's in 2005-07, signed minor-league deals and are likely headed to Triple-A Durham after camp. Also invited were shortstop Tim Beckham, pitcher Heath Rollins and catchers Craig Albernaz and Nevin Ashley. (See the roster at tampabay.com/blogs/rays.)
ARBitration HEARING: A ruling is expected today on centerfielder B.J. Upton's hearing, which ran in excess of 3½ hours Friday at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort in St. Petersburg.
The Rays, represented by general counsel/senior vice president John Higgins and the Proskauer Rose law firm, offered $3 million. Upton requested $3.3 million, with his case, presented by agent Larry Reynolds, based on statistical comparisons to Arizona shortstop Stephen Drew, who agreed to a $3.4 million deal after hitting .261 with 12 homers and 65 RBIs last year. Upton hit .241 with 11 homers and 55 RBIs. For their careers, Drew has hit .270 with 50 homers and 215 RBIs in 2,103 plate appearances; Upton has hit .266 with 49 and 226 in 2,180.
The panel of Elizabeth Neumeier, Elliott Shriftman and Gil Vernon will pick one of the numbers. The Rays are 4-0 in previous cases.
TICKET DEAL: A special eight-game ticket package that includes the April 6 opener will be offered starting Wednesday online and during the Feb. 20 FanFest at Tropicana Field. See raysbaseball.com for details.