PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Brad Miller has moved around a lot during his four Major League seasons.
Miller played shortstop for the Rays during the first half of the 2016 season. But when shortstop Matt Duffy came over in a trade with the Giants, Miller was relegated to first base. Prior to joining the Rays, he'd played shortstop, third base, center field, left field and second base for the Mariners.
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Souza: 'I'm my biggest critic'
Outfielder working to improve consistency at Spring Training
By Mike Nabors
Special to MLB.com |
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Maybe no player on the Rays is harder on himself than projected starting right fielder Steven Souza Jr., who enters his third season with the club knowing he has to dial it back.
"I'm my biggest critic," Souza admits. "I know what my flaws are, and I try to improve them every year. For me, it's just consistency, trying to find avenues to explore that and be consistent day in and day out."
Mike Nabors is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Ping-pong table sparks clubhouse camaraderie
By Mike Nabors
Special to MLB.com |
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Atlanta Falcons may have lost the Super Bowl, but they helped deliver the Rays a brand new addition to their clubhouse this spring: a ping-pong table.
"[The Falcons] brought in a ping-pong table, and then all of a sudden, they ended up ordering five because it became such a good [time]. The guys were having fun kidding around with each other, " manager Kevin Cash said.
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Rickie Weeks Jr. is old school. And that's not a bad ingredient to have inside the Rays' young clubhouse.
The Rays signed Weeks, 34, to a Minor League contract with an invite to Spring Training. Last season, he made the D-backs' Opening Day roster as a pinch-hitter and reserve outfielder. He hit .239 and drove in 27 runs while playing in 108 games.
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Brad Miller will get to show off his versatility by getting a lot of work at second base this spring, manager Kevin Cash told reporters Friday.
"It's as simple as that," Cash said. "He's up for the challenge. We had a conversation before he got here. We had a conversation yesterday. Brad Miller is bought in and is all about the team, he'll do whatever. But we think, for our team, this spring, we need to get him as acclimated as possible at second base."
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Tommy Hunter arrived at the Rays camp Friday after reaching a Minor League deal with a Spring Training invite.
"You know, it's an opportunity to play baseball," Hunter said. "And that's all you can ask for. As a baseball player, you're just looking forward to it and meeting some new faces, and playing with some new guys. Just seeing how it works out."
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Four Rays players, including starter Chris Archer and closer Alex Colome, will be headed to the World Baseball Classic, and the team doesn't believe being a part of the international event will impact their season.
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Right now, he's the guy they got for Logan Forsythe.
A lot of Rays fans were suprised, and disappointed, when the team traded Forsythe to the Dodgers for right-hander Jose De Leon. The move, like most moves the Rays make, was a proactive one as the club always keeps one eye on the present and another on the future.
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Wilson Ramos arrived to camp on Wednesday and the team's new catcher immediately went in for a workout before addressing reporters to offer a status report on his surgically repaired right knee.
Ramos signed a two-year, $12.5 million deal with the Rays in December, a deal the club was able to make in part because Ramos was coming off knee surgery after tearing his right ACL on Sept. 26.
Among those in camp ahead of time is shortstop Matt Duffy, who came to the Rays from the Giants in the Matt Moore trade. Duffy had season-ending surgery on his left heel on Sept. 9, and he reports that everything is fine.
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Jake Odorizzi won his arbitration case with the Rays, which means he'll make the $4.1 million salary for 2017 he felt like he was worth rather than the $3.825 million the Rays were offering.
"We just felt like what my value was didn't match what the figure was before the agreement, and that was the turning point about going to arbitration," Odorizzi said. "And it turns out we fought a good fight and won. It's just nice to have it all done and over with and in the past. Now it's officially baseball season and we can focus on things as a team."
"Most of them, we expect to be moving along at a controlled pace during Spring Training, expecting that they'll be ready by Opening Day," said Chaim Bloom, Rays senior vice president of baseball operations. "If not, then shortly thereafter."
ST. PETERSBURG -- In the shadow of Tropicana Field, the Campbell Park Field rededication took place Friday morning.
Rays infielder Tim Beckham, team president Brian Auld, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and over 20 students from Campbell Park Elementary School were on hand for the ceremony that took place at home plate. Rays pre- and postgame radio broadcaster Neil Solondz emceed the event.