Archer to bring his giving spirit to South Africa

Rays right-hander will travel as an MLB ambassador in December

Archer to bring his giving spirit to South Africa

ST. PETERSBURG -- Chris Archer is all about giving back. Shortly after Thanksgiving, the Rays right-hander will be taking his penchant for making a difference to South Africa.

Archer's good work has been on display since he joined the Rays in a trade prior to the 2011 season. Included have been regular visits to the Juvenile Detention Center and to All Children's Hospital.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Rays sign reliever Frieri to one-year deal

Tampa Bay also designates infielder Rodriguez for assignment

Rays sign reliever Frieri to one-year deal

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays signed right-hander Ernesto Frieri to a one-year Major League contract on Wednesday and designated infielder Sean Rodriguez for assignment.

In addition, catcher Jose Molina and infielder Cole Figueroa cleared waivers and were released.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Martinez steps down as Rays bench coach

Martinez steps down as Rays bench coach

ST. PETERSBURG -- Davey Martinez did not make the final cut for the Rays' vacated manager's post. Now, he has decided not to return in his role as the team's bench coach.

Martinez released the following statement through team spokesman Rick Vaughn:

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Sizing up the powerful AL East after Red Sox's moves

Sizing up the powerful AL East after Red Sox's moves

There's a lot of talk about the National League Central as baseball's new power division, with the Cubs hiring Joe Maddon and standing poised to join the Pirates, Reds and Brewers in giving the Cardinals a fight. That's a good point, but don't get too carried away.

Even if the Cubs do sign Jon Lester and another strong starter to put themselves into the equation on an immediate basis, not just in the future, all you can say about the NL Central is that it has become like the American League East. That's still baseball's strongest division, top to bottom, and the Red Sox's signing of Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez only underscores its competitiveness.

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Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Guyer enjoys healthy dose of success in '14

Rays outfielder makes an impact by avoiding major injuries

Guyer enjoys healthy dose of success in '14

ST. PETERSBURG -- Tampa Bay's 2014 campaign brought a lot of disappointment, yet a silver lining for the season could be found in the performances of some. Brandon Guyer's is one of those.

Guyer, 28, made his first Opening Day roster and spent his first full season in the Major Leagues, finishing with a respectable .266 batting average, three home runs and 26 RBIs in 97 games, including 60 starts. And though he did miss 22 games due to a left thumb fracture, Guyer dodged the major injuries that have nagged him in the past. Like the 2012 season, when he missed the final four months after undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Rays place Molina, Figueroa on release waivers

Rays place Molina, Figueroa on release waivers

ST. PETERSBURG -- In a procedural move on Monday, the Rays placed catcher Jose Molina and infielder Cole Figueroa on release waivers.

Technically, both players must clear those waivers on Wednesday in order for their releases to become official. They were designated for assignment on Thursday when the Rays set their 40-man roster.

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Fuld's Wiffle Ball tourney to feature host of big leaguers

Event at South Florida will raise money to help fight diabetes

Fuld's Wiffle Ball tourney to feature host of big leaguers

ST. PETERSBURG -- Sam Fuld's Wiffle Ball tournament is coming together.

Fuld, who has conducted Sam Fuld's USF Diabetes Sports Camps for several years, has added a new wrinkle this year by hosting a Wiffle Ball tournament on Dec. 13.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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McGriff hopes to gain traction with Hall voters

Consistent first baseman on ballot for sixth year

McGriff hopes to gain traction with Hall voters

Fred McGriff is a candidate on the National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot for the sixth year. The results will be announced exclusively on MLB Network and simulcast on MLB.com live on Jan. 6 at 2 p.m. ET.

For nearly two decades and across two leagues, there was a first baseman who quietly delivered consistent power year after year, and his name was Fred McGriff. With a smooth but potent stroke that delivered power at a steady rate, McGriff was 30-35 homers waiting to happen for more than a decade and deep into his career, and not many players can say that, now or then.

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John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. You can follow him on Twitter @JohnSchlegelMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Auld goes from fourth-grade classroom to big leagues

Rays president spent four years as a teacher before earning a job in baseball

Auld goes from fourth-grade classroom to big leagues

ST. PETERSBURG -- Enthusiastic and fueled by the vigor of youth, Brian Auld embarked on his new career, imagining himself the hip, cutting edge fourth-grade teacher.

"I had the great idea of having all the kids high-five me on the way into the class," Auld said. "And then they could sit wherever they wanted to."

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Rays narrow managerial search to three

Cash, Ibanez, Wakamatsu are finalists to replace Maddon

Rays narrow managerial search to three

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays went from 10 managerial candidates to three on Friday. Kevin Cash, Raul Ibanez and Don Wakamatsu compose the final group from which the organization plans to make its choice for Joe Maddon's successor.

Interviews with the trio are scheduled to take place in person the week of Dec. 1.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Rays shake up 40-man with trade, roster moves

Two arms acquired in deal sending Peralta to Dodgers; Molina among DFA'd

Rays shake up 40-man with trade, roster moves

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays conducted a lot of late-night business Thursday, making a four-player trade in addition to designating three players for assignment.

Once the smoke cleared, the Rays had set their 40-man roster in advance of the Rule 5 Draft, which will take place at the end of the upcoming Winter Meetings.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

O'Conner ranks among top prospects from AFL

O'Conner ranks among top prospects from AFL

The 23rd edition of the Arizona Fall League wrapped up with Salt River's win in the championship game over Peoria on Saturday. Once again, the AFL was jam packed with elite-level prospects.

That made putting together a top prospects list fairly easy. There were so many good players, it was decided to expand the list to a top 25, up from the typical 20. The list was compiled by Jim Callis, Jonathan Mayo and Teddy Cahill, along with feedback from a number of scouts who covered the league this fall. This list is more about long-term potential, but AFL performances were certainly taken into account.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, Callis' Corner. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayoB3 on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Japan trip extra special for Beliveau and his dad

Japan trip extra special for Beliveau and his dad

NAHA, Japan -- David Duda leaned forward in his seat and went quiet, filming one of his son's at-bats. He had missed a video opportunity earlier in the game, when Lucas Duda hit an opposite-field double off Japanese pitching sensation Shohei Ohtani, and he wanted to make sure he caught the encore.

To David Duda's left, Jeff Beliveau was discussing the moments he will remember from Major League Baseball's Japan All-Star Series. The quiet ones, for example, like rehashing a game with his son, Rays reliever Jeff Beliveau, or sharing breakfast with Hall of Famer Dave Winfield.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Beliveau visits children's hospital in Japan

Dodgers catcher, Rays reliever use off-day to spread some cheer in Okinawa

Beliveau visits children's hospital in Japan

OKINAWA, Japan -- On their last off-day of the Japan All-Star Series, Dodgers catcher Drew Butera and Rays reliever Jeff Beliveau visited the Okinawan Prefectural Nanbu Children's Medical Center on Wednesday.

A few short hours after arriving from Sapporo, site of Tuesday's game, Butera and Beliveau held a Q&A session, posed for pictures and signed autographs for patients on two floors of the hospital. They were joined by Astros mascot Orbit, who is accompanying the MLB squad taking part in the barnstorming showcase against the Japanese national team.

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David Venn is executive editor of LasMayores.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Inbox: Would the Rays consider trading Zobrist?

Beat reporter Bill Chastain answers fans' questions

Inbox: Would the Rays consider trading Zobrist?

With the Rays picking up Ben Zobrist's option, do you see him as a trade candidate knowing there are others, such as Hak-Ju Lee, Tim Beckham and Cole Figueroa, so close to being Major League-ready?
-- Jason R., Parrish, Fla.

The Rays rarely consider any players untouchable, so don't think they wouldn't move Zobrist if the right deal came along -- one they think would help them with the future, present or both. A lot of teams would like to have Zobrist given his versatility. Essentially, he is an everyday player at many positions. Having said that, I don't believe Tampa Bay would trade Zobrist to make room for any of the three players mentioned, although I would expect to see all of them at the Major League level at some point next season.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Rays' active offseason likely to continue this week

To protect prospects on 40-man roster, club likely to make moves by Thursday

Rays' active offseason likely to continue this week

ST. PETERSBURG -- Jeremy Hellickson's trade to the D-backs on Friday night became the latest move of a busy offseason for the Rays. More action could come this week in anticipation of setting the team's 40-man roster by Thursday.

The Hellickson trade showed the fingerprints of the Rays' mantra, which is to keep one eye on the present and one eye on the future.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Longoria sits with bruise after hit by pitch in Japan

Longoria sits with bruise after hit by pitch in Japan

SAPPORO, Japan -- Rays third baseman Evan Longoria left Tuesday's Japan Series game as a precaution after being hit by a pitch in Game 5. Doctors diagnosed Longoria with a bruise, and he did not undergo any further testing at the Sapporo Dome.

In his second plate appearance, Longoria took a Shohei Ohtani pitch off his left forearm. He played one more half-inning at third base, giving way to Eduardo Nunez in the bottom of the fourth.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Phone allows Longo to meet newborn son from Japan

Phone allows Longo to meet newborn son from Japan

TOKYO -- Evan Longoria tucked himself away in a back room at the Tokyo Dome, phone clutched in front of him, meeting his baby boy for the first time. Throughout the initial week of Major League Baseball's Japan All-Star Series, the Rays third baseman had been obsessively checking his phone, worried that his second child would arrive before he returned stateside.

In the middle innings of Saturday's game, the news flashed across his cell phone screen. "I got to see it all on FaceTime," Longoria said. "It was a pretty cool moment."

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Rays trade Hellickson to D-backs for two prospects

Tampa Bay acquires infielder Velazquez, outfielder Williams in exchange for right-hander

Rays trade Hellickson to D-backs for two prospects

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays pulled the trigger on their second trade of the young offseason Friday night when they sent right-hander Jeremy Hellickson to the D-backs for a pair of young prospects.

Tampa Bay acquired infielder Andrew Velazquez and outfielder Justin Williams.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

O'Conner smashes two homers in AFL championship

O'Conner smashes two homers in AFL championship

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Justin O'Conner concluded his time in the Arizona Fall League with a performance that showcased his all-around skills. But even two home runs and sterling defensive play from the Rays catcher weren't enough to prevent the Peoria Javelinas from losing the championship game, 14-7, to the Salt River Rafters.

O'Conner hit the second of three Javelinas solo homers in the fourth inning, blasting an Anthony DeSclafani (Marlins) fastball over the left-field wall at Scottsdale Stadium. Fellow Rays farmhand Kes Carter homered in the fourth inning as well. O'Conner went deep again in the fifth, tagging a Kenny Roberts (Rockies) heater for a three-run homer to left-center that gave Peoria a short-lived lead.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, Callis' Corner. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Larkin the final candidate interviewed by Rays

Tampa Bay will likely cull list of managerial hopefuls in the coming week

Larkin the final candidate interviewed by Rays

ST. PETERSBURG -- On Saturday, the Rays interviewed the final of 10 announced managerial candidates when they talked to Barry Larkin.

Larkin, 50, played shortstop for the Reds from 1986-2004, helping lead the team to a World Series win over the Athletics in 1990. He won the National League Most Valuable Player Award in 1995 and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Top performances, prospects from 2014 Fall League

A team-by-team breakdown of who impressed and how each club's top player fared

Top performances, prospects from 2014 Fall League

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Fall League is known as baseball's finishing school because it has graduated a ton of talent to the Major Leagues since it began play in 1992. The AFL has produced 212 All-Stars, including 35 in this year's Midsummer Classic, 25 Rookies of the Year, 13 MVPs and five Cy Young Award winners.

Based on the quality of the talent in the AFL this year, more big leaguers and stars are on the way. The league wrapped up its 23rd season on Saturday, with the Salt River Rafters outlasting the Peoria Javelinas, 14-7, for their fourth title and first since 2011.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, Callis' Corner. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Beliveau out for Japan Series with mild left lat strain

Beliveau out for Japan Series with mild left lat strain

TOKYO -- Rays reliever Jeff Beliveau is likely out for the remainder of the Japan All-Star Series after leaving Saturday's game early due to left lat soreness. Beliveau does not consider his condition anything out of the ordinary, but he said the Rays and Major League Baseball wanted to be extra cautious, given the nature of these exhibition games.

"It's nothing to be worried about," Beliveau said. "It's a lat. It's a big muscle group. It's a common thing. It's not a shoulder or an elbow. But I'm just here hanging out, I guess, the rest of the games."

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Rays ready to show they're still strong

Solid ownership, front office will keep club in right direction after departures of GM, skipper

Rays ready to show they're still strong

With all the comings and goings, you might have wondered how things were going with the Tampa Bay Rays. Are the lights still on? Turns out, the Rays are glad you asked.

"New challenges are invigorating, and I feel invigorated," new team president of baseball operations Matt Silverman said. "I think our entire department feels invigorated by this opportunity."

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Rays announce Spring Training schedule

Rays announce Spring Training schedule

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays announced their 2015 Spring Training schedule on Friday, including ticket prices for games at Charlotte Sports Park.

The Rays will play 14 home games at Charlotte Sports Park next spring, all of which will begin at 1:05 p.m. ET. This will be the first time in franchise history that all games for Spring Training, both home and away, will be during the day.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Rays interview Glanville for manager job

Rays interview Glanville for manager job

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays went to one of their "outside the box" candidates on Friday when they interviewed Doug Glanville for their managerial vacancy.

Glanville, 44, played in the Major Leagues for nine seasons for the Phillies, Cubs and Rangers. He has been involved in many activities since retiring, including work for ESPN. He has written a book ("The Game from Where I Stand") and also does speaking engagements and sports commentary.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Longo, Zobrist each collect two hits in All-Stars' loss in Japan

Iwakuma, Wada give up seven runs as Team Samurai takes 2-0 series lead

Longo, Zobrist each collect two hits in All-Stars' loss in Japan

The MLB squad surrendered six runs with two outs and mustered just six hits while dropping Game 2 of the Japan All-Star Series to Samurai Japan, 8-4, on Friday at the Tokyo Dome.

Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma, who got the start for the MLB club in his hometown, allowed five runs on 10 hits in four innings and took the loss. He struck out four.

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Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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O'Conner's homer seals AFL West division for Peoria

Rays prospect hits two-run shot in ninth; Javelinas will play in championship game

O'Conner's homer seals AFL West division for Peoria

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Peoria Javelinas have climbed back from the brink. Peoria, which fell as far as seven games under .500 at one point in the Arizona Fall League season, stormed back to take a 5-2 victory over Surprise on Thursday that clinched the West division and a berth in Saturday's championship game.

Peoria finished the AFL campaign with a 15-14 record to edge Surprise by one percentage point, and the Javelinas will play against East division champion Salt River on Saturday. Fans can watch the championship game on MLB.com and MLB Network at 3:08 p.m. ET.

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Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Tampa native Cash latest to interview for Rays' manager

Tampa native Cash latest to interview for Rays' manager

ST. PETERSBURG -- The local boy interviewed for the Rays manager's job on Wednesday.

Kevin Cash, 36, who attended Tampa's Gaither High School and Florida State University, talked to Rays executives about his qualifications to become the successor to Joe Maddon.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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