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News » Tampa Bay Rays Notes, Quotes 2009-03-01

Tampa Bay Rays Notes, Quotes 2009-03-01

Tampa Bay Rays Notes, Quotes 2009-03-01
--Principal owner Stuart Sternberg confirmed that with their payroll creeping above $60 million, the Rays don't have the flexibility to make in-season acquisitions, though added he would never say never. "We don't have that flexibility now," Sternberg said. "At some point, you put your back to the wall, and I think that's where we are right now. We, quite frankly, can't really afford what we've got on the field this year. At least we were able to spend the money on a lot of value, we think, and pieces that will give us the opportunity to grow the franchise over the long haul that give us the best opportunity for success this year. This was one where somewhat of my competitiveness came out in this. I think we have a real opportunity to win."

--1B Carlos Pena said the bulk of his assets were frozen as a result of the government investigation of the Stanford Financial Group, but he had a separate account and was able to continue funding living expenses.

--CF B.J. Upton, one of the few key young players who don't have a long-term deal, had his contract renewed for the second consecutive season. Agent Larry Reynolds said it was "a matter of principle" because Upton is "an unusual player" who doesn't fit into the team's salary structure for pre-arbitration players. RHPs Matt Garza and Andy Sonnanstine were also renewed.

--INF Willy Aybar was a late and somewhat unexpected addition to the Dominican Republic team roster for the World Baseball Classic. With starting 2B Akinori Iwamura already playing for Japan, the Rays had planned to give Aybar some time at second during the spring. Now it will be split among Ben Zobrist, non-roster veteran Adam Kennedy, and Class AAA infielders Elliot Johnson and Reid Brignac.

--RHP Wade Davis, at 23, isn't considered to be in the mix yet for the open spot in the Rays rotation, but he made a dazzling spring debut against the Yankees on Feb. 26, striking out Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano during two hitless innings.

--OF Matt Joyce hopes to get on the field sometime the first week of March after being sidelined with a right calf strain.

BY THE NUMBERS: 5 -- Rays among Baseball America's top 100 prospects, including No. 2 David Price, No. 28 SS Tim Beckham, No. 32 RHP Wade Davis, No. 78 SS Reid Brignac and No. 80 OF Desmond Jennings.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I got more hugs today that I got in a long time. It was really nice." -- Ex-Ray and new Red Sox Rocco Baldelli, on his first appearance against his old team.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: March 1, 2009

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