ST. PETERSBURG — With a number of decisions pending heading into next week's winter meetings, the Rays gave themselves room to operate Thursday, releasing reliever Ramon Ramirez to open a spot on the 40-man roster.
Ramirez's stay was brief. He was claimed on waivers from the Reds on Nov. 9.
The Rays want a spot open to have the chance to make a selection in the Rule 5 draft of unprotected minor-leaguers.
They also would need a spot if either catcher Gregg Zaun — being pursued by several teams, reportedly including the Brewers, Rockies and Mariners — or reliever Brian Shouse accepts arbitration by the Monday midnight deadline or agrees to terms.
Ramirez, 27, spent most of last season with the Reds' Triple-A affiliate. It's possible he could be re-signed to a minor-league deal.
• Triple-A Durham's Charlie Montoyo was named minor-league manager of the year by Baseball America.
• Principal owner Stuart Sternberg, outfielder B.J. Upton, pitchers Grant Balfour and Dan Wheeler and several coaches will represent the Rays as 200 volunteers team up to build a playground in one day at the YMCA Camp Cristina in Riverview (9840 Balm Riverview Road).
• Former managing general partner Vince Naimoli will sign his book, Business, Baseball & Beyond, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Dec. 16 at the University of Tampa book store.
Polanco rejoins Phils
Placido Polanco, 34, agreed to an $18 million, three-year deal to rejoin the Phillies. The free agent won Gold Gloves at second for the Tigers in 2007 and last season but will shift to third, which hasn't been his primary position since 2002. He replaces Pedro Feliz, who became a free agent. Polanco played for the Phillies from July 2002 through 2005.
Yankees meet with Boss: George Steinbrenner is taking an active part in the Yankees' organizational meetings. Team officials met for around two hours with Steinbrenner at the Tampa home of the 79-year-old principal owner during the second day of meetings.
BRAVES: Right-handed reliever Takashi Saito agreed to a one-year, $3.2 million deal. Saito, who turns 40 in February, has 83 saves in four major-league seasons after a long career in Japan. He went 3-3 last season with two saves and a 2.43 ERA in a setup role for the Red Sox.
Information from Times wires was used in this report.