Advertisement
  1. Rays

Rays give Erik Bedard chance to revive career

Published Feb. 15, 2014

PORT CHARLOTTE — Veteran LHP Erik Bedard hasn't done much well the past two seasons, going a combined 11-26, 4.78 for the Pirates and Astros.

But the Rays took the low-risk gamble of signing the 34-year-old to a minor-league deal Friday to see what he has left as they seek a fifth starter in Jeremy Hellickson's absence and potential bullpen help.

"He's a guy that we've liked in the past, and we're anxious to get him in here and be around him more," executive VP Andrew Friedman said. "He'll come in to compete for the fifth starter's job. I don't know how that will transpire. And he's also a candidate to pitch out of the pen."

Bedard was an effective starter for the Orioles, winning 15 games in 2006 and 13 in 2007. But shoulder issues after a trade to Seattle derailed his career, and he has not been the same.

RHP Jake Odorizzi had been considered the favorite to replace Hellickson, who is projected to be out until at least mid May after right elbow surgery. The other primary candidate is RHP Alex Colome, who said the right elbow issue that sidelined him from late June on is healed.

"I'm ready to go," Colome said.

PRICE CHECK: Having expected to be traded, LHP David Price was eager to report to camp, joking he was the happiest man in Port Charlotte and celebrated driving into town on Toledo Blade Road when he crossed Price Boulevard.

"That's my street," he said.

Price said he knows there is no finality to the potential of a trade but being back at the complex and being around his teammates has made being back feel more real and it will continue to get that way, especially when he goes through his physical this morning.

"If I give blood, I'm not getting traded to somebody that doesn't have my blood yet because I'm not doing it twice," he said. "That is not happening."

Despite the daily uncertainty, Price, otherwise, had a "very good" and much more normal winter than after the 2012 season, when he won the AL Cy Young Award and traveling to a series of appearances disrupted his workout routine.

"After last season and all the stuff that had been going on, I think he's more settled in this year, and I really anticipate one of his better years coming up," manager Joe Maddon said.

BELL TOLLS: RHP Heath Bell said he welcomed the trade to the Rays and the opportunity for a fresh start after rough 2012-13 seasons in Miami and Arizona, having gotten a scouting report from re-signed 1B James Loney and former Ray James Shields.

"It just brings a big smile to my face," Bell said. "It seems like a really happy organization, a happy team. What's not to like?"

And Bell figures he should fit right into the Rays' free-spirited, no-rules clubhouse.

"That sounds perfect to me because my wife says I break all the rules," he said.

Overall, Bell said he put past, undisclosed personal problems behind him, has surrounded himself with a support group of faith-based friends and is excited for the season.

MISCELLANY: Many of the 40 pitchers and catchers were already in camp by Friday with the rest expected for today's first workout. Veteran relievers RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo and RHP Juan Sandoval might be delayed by visa issues. … Besides Hellickson, no other pitchers are expected to be restricted with the first bullpen sessions scheduled for this morning.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. He is a Yankee icon. One of baseball's greatest ambassadors. And soon, he will be a Hall of Famer. But did Jeter's reputation exceed his actual value on the field? [GENE J. PUSKAR  |  Associated Press]
    John Romano | The Yankees shortstop might join former teammate Mariano Rivera as the only unanimous Hall of Fame selections, but his defensive abilities left a lot to be desired.
  2. Former White Sox manager Tony La Russa stands with his Baseball Hall of Fame plaque while being honored before a game in Chicago on Aug.  30, 2014. [MATT MARTON  |  AP]
    "There was a toggle switch in the manager’s office and a camera zoomed in on the catcher,” Jack McDowell says of the setup he claims was installed by the Hall of Fame manager.
  3. In this 2007 file photo, Alyssa Nakken making the all-metro softball team at Woodland High School in Sacramento, Calif. [RENEE T. BONNAFON  |  ZUMAPRESS.com]
    Alyssa Nakken, 29, a former standout softball player at Sacramento State, will be in uniform for the big-league team, though not in the dugout during games.
  4. After five winning seasons, and four playoff appearances, in Chicago, Joe Maddon will return to the Angels where he spent 12 seasons as a big league coach before coming to Tampa Bay. [JEFF GRITCHEN  |  ZUMAPRESS.com]
    As he gets nearer to Hall of Fame standards, the former Rays manager is contemplating a return to some old-style baseball ideas in his new gig as the Angels manager.
  5. New York Mets manager Carlos Beltran listens to a question during the Major League Baseball winter meetings on Dec. 10, 2019. [GREGORY BULL  |  AP]
    The move comes after the Astros and Red Sox also lose their managers.
  6. In this Oct. 31, 2018, file photo, Red Sox manager Alex Cora rides with the trophy during a parade in Boston to celebrate the team's World Series championship over the Dodgers. Cora was fired by the Red Sox on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, a day after baseball commissioner Rob Manfred implicated him in the sport's sign-stealing scandal. [CHARLES KRUPA  |  AP]
    All Major League Baseball might have to do to solve its sign-stealing problem is look no further than what’s going on in the college game.
  7. Alex Cora was an Astros assistant coach before the Red Sox hired him as manager in 2018, when he led Boston to a World Series title. [DAVID J. PHILLIP  |  AP]
    Major League Baseball continues to investigate a scandal that could include Boston.
  8. The Rays have no worries about Yoshitomo Tsutsugo's bat, but they're going to watch him closely in the spring to figure out whether he fits better at third base or a corner outfield position. [SHIZUO KAMBAYASHI  |  AP]
    Defense remains strong up the middle, but could get a little wobbly elsewhere as the Rays try to figure out the best place to slot everyone in.
  9. Only 29 days until Rays pitchers and catchers report to spring training in Port Charlotte. Single-game tickets for games at Charlotte Sports Park go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. on RaysBaseball.com.
    Tampa Bay plays a 16-game home schedule at Charlotte Sports Park, then comes home for a one-game exhibition against prospects at Tropicana Field on March 24.
  10. At 6-foot-10, Aaron Slegers became the tallest pitcher in Rays history when he made his first and only appearance for Tampa Bay on Aug. 23, 2019 at Baltimore. Slegers threw three innings of one-run ball to get his first big league save. [JULIO CORTEZ  |  AP]
    Tampa Bay boosts its depth at Triple-A Durham by signing a handful of players with big-league experience who could come in handy in case of injuries.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement