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  1. Rays

Former Ray Brignac finds room in Colorado

Published May 4, 2013

DENVER — Reid Brignac is enjoying the scenery in Colorado.

Sure, the mountains are nice. But for Brignac it's more a matter of being somewhere else in the majors besides Tampa Bay, given that the Rays clearly no longer had him in their plans by trading for shortstop Yunel Escobar, keeping infielder Ryan Roberts and signing infielder/outfielder Kelly Johnson.

"It's been a great change of scenery," Brignac said in the Rockies clubhouse before Friday's game against his former teammates.

"I feel like everything happens for a reason, and for me it definitely was a positive thing. Definitely. Yeah, it was tough to leave. That was home. That was comfort. And now to go somewhere uncomfortable at first, but to get adjusted so quickly, I almost feel like I didn't skip a beat with these guys. We started to play games and instantly start to build team chemistry, it's been great. It's been a great chance for me."

Brignac hasn't gotten a lot of opportunity, starting seven games (and only one at shortstop, even though starter Troy Tulowitzki has missed some games), with the Rockies, but Brignac said he has enjoyed being part of what he called "a great organization." In 20 games overall, he was hitting .250 (9-for-36) with no homers and three RBIs. He pinch-hit Friday with two outs in the 10th and singled to right.

Having been in the Rays organization since being a second-round pick in 2004 and having spent parts of five seasons in the majors, he knew his time there was coming to an end. He thanked executive vice president Andrew Friedman for trading him, for an undisclosed amount of cash, to the Rockies.

"No doubt, I could see the signs right in front of me," he said. "I'm not an idiot. I've been in this game long enough, I understand the business side of the game that goes along with just playing the game.

"I knew if I was going to be in Rays camp it was going to be very difficult for me to make that team, so I was really hoping Andrew gave me a chance to get with another team before spring training, to get with my new team and play for my new manager."

Having seen James Shields and Elliot Johnson do well against the Rays in Kansas City, Brignac, 27, said he was hoping to get his chance to beat his former teammates.

"I'm next in line," he said, "so, yeah, I have to do something."

Marc Topkin can be reached at topkin@tampabay.com.

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