Trade talks for Rays' Lobaton heating up

ST. PETERSBURG — With spring training opening next week, trade interest in Rays catcher Jose Lobaton is picking up.

Among teams with interest and/or need are the Diamondbacks, Indians, Mets, Nationals, Rockies and White Sox.

With Ryan Hanigan added and Jose Molina back, Lobaton, who hit .249 with a .320 on-base percentage, is the odd man out, though the Rays could bring him to camp to see what develops.

CHECK IT OUT: Baseball is back on the radio tonight, as the first Rays Countdown to Opening Day show airs 7-8 on 620-AM/95.3-FM. Exec VP Andrew Friedman and right-hander Alex Cobb are guests as Andy Freed and Dave Wills host from St. Pete's Hotel Indigo (234 Third Ave. N).

Fernandez honored

TAMPA — Marlins right-hander Jose Fernandez's year has already been unforgettable, from winning National League rookie of the year to finishing third in the Cy Young Award race.

On Wednesday night, another honor hit close to home for Fernandez, who had his No. 16 jersey retired by Alonso High. Fernandez, 21, who defected from Cuba, led the Ravens to two state titles (2009, '11) in his three seasons before getting selected in the first round (14th overall) in 2011 by the Marlins.

"It's really special," Fernandez said. "I was just talking to some of the other guys I played with, the first year I came here I couldn't even speak English. It's pretty amazing, being around coaches and people that have been important in my life. It's something you've always got in your heart."

Fernandez wasn't expecting to be in the majors in 2013, but he made a splash, earning an All-Star selection and going 12-6 with a 2.19 ERA in 28 starts. Before Alonso's game Wednesday against East Lake, Fernandez received a hero's welcome, signing autographs and posing for photos before getting honored in a ceremony. "This is home," he said.

Around the majors

SCHILLING HAS CANCER: Former star pitcher turned ESPN analyst Curt Schilling announced that he is battling cancer. Schilling, 47, a 20-year big-leaguer who retired in 2009, divulged the news in a statement released through ESPN. He did not indicate what type of cancer he has.

RANGERS: The team reached a 10-year deal to immediately change the name of their 20-year-old stadium to Globe Life Park in Arlington.

Times staff writer Joe Smith and Times wires contributed to this report.

Trade talks for Rays' Lobaton heating up 02/05/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 5, 2014 11:42pm]

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