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Why Harold Ramirez is truly happy to be back in Rays camp

Notes | After bouncing around the last six years, the outfielder/designated hitter enjoys the chance to stay put.
 
Rays designated hitter Harold Ramirez arrives at the stadium for the first day of spring workouts Wednesday at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Lake Buena Vista.
Rays designated hitter Harold Ramirez arrives at the stadium for the first day of spring workouts Wednesday at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Lake Buena Vista. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published Feb. 15, 2023

LAKE BUENA VISTA — Having been with six teams over the previous six years, Harold Ramirez was pleasantly surprised to get to stay with the Rays.

“I’m very happy to be here again,” he said Wednesday.

The righty-swinging outfielder/designated hitter earned that chance with a solid 2022 season after being acquired during spring training from the Cubs, who had gotten him in November from Cleveland, which claimed him off waivers in February 2021 from the Marlins. Previously, he was with the Blue Jays and Pirates.

Ramirez hit .300 with a career-high 121 hits, 24 doubles and 58 RBIs over 120 games.

“I really enjoyed it a lot,” he said. “I just wanted to take advantage of the opportunity the team gave me here. So I hope this year I have a better year.”

Ramirez will find out, likely as soon as Thursday, how he will be compensated this year, with a ruling expected in his arbitration hearing. Ramirez asked for $2.2 million, the Rays offered $1.9 million.

Sitting in on the arguments was “a lot weird,” Ramirez said, “but that’s part of the business.”

The Rays had three other hearings. They lost to reliever Jason Adam, who got $1.775 million rather than the offered $1.55 million. Rulings are expected Saturday for Colin Poche ($1.3 million, $1.175 million) and Ryan Thompson ($1.2 million, $1 million). The team is 7-7 in cases overall in 26 seasons.

Ramirez is among the early reporting position players, as he will leave camp in early March to play for his native Colombia in the World Baseball Classic.

“I feel very excited because it’s my first time,” he said. “The last time (in 2017) I couldn’t go, because I hurt my knee.”

A real kick

Rays reliever Pete Fairbanks is excited for the return of his favorite show, Ted Lasso.
Rays reliever Pete Fairbanks is excited for the return of his favorite show, Ted Lasso. [ MARC TOPKIN | Times ]

Reliever Pete Fairbanks has been on a pretty good run, coming off a dominant and healthy 2022 second half and signing a three-contract extension that guarantees him $12 million and could be worth up to $24.6 million. What he was most excited about Wednesday was news that one of his favorite shows, Ted Lasso, will start its third season on Apple TV+ on March 15. Fairbanks even wears a headband displaying one of the title character’s key phrases, “BELIEVE.” “It’s going to be good spring training-viewing material,” he said. But, Fairbanks added, Lasso isn’t his favorite character: “I’m more of a Roy Kent guy.”

Miscellany

Manager Kevin Cash said the initial look at the 44 pitchers in camp was good. “It should be a fun couple of days to see the work they’ve put in in the offseason,” he said. “We’ve had a couple conversations with some of the new guys, let’s temper, not the expectation, but the workload. We’re not looking for anybody to come out throwing 95 mph in the bullpen, so build up right. But these guys work really hard in the offseason and everybody looks good. Now it’s the process of meeting them all.” ... All eight catchers also were on hand for Wednesday’s first official workout. … Shane McClanahan and Jeffrey Springs were among the pitchers throwing bullpen sessions. … Principal owner Stuart Sternberg watched Wednesday’s workout.. ... Reliever Andrew Kittredge said rehab from June Tommy John surgery is going well and he is up throwing at 105 feet. Kittredge could be back by late July. … Relief prospect Colby White has progressed to throwing bullpens in his rehab from April Tommy John surgery and is roughly targeting a June return.

Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg talks on a phone during spring training Wednesday at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports complex.
Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg talks on a phone during spring training Wednesday at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports complex. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

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