Souza's run-scoring hit backs Odorizzi, 'pen over Twins

Souza's run-scoring hit backs Odorizzi, 'pen over Twins

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Jake Odorizzi made his first start of the spring for the Rays in their 2-1 win over the Twins on Friday at Charlotte Sports Park, and he allowed two walks and no runs in one inning.

"It was exciting," Odorizzi said. "It was good to be back out there again and face some hitters in game situations."

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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.

Jennings to play a lot of left field for Rays

With Kiermaier likely to play center, outfielder on board to contribute elsewhere

Jennings to play a lot of left field for Rays

PORT CHARLOTTE -- Desmond Jennings has spent the past two seasons playing center field.

Left field now appears to be in Jennings' future. When Kevin Cash was asked if he saw Jennings playing a lot of left field this year, the Rays manager answered: "Yes. I do."

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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.

Karns begins case for starter spot in Grapefruit opener

Righty tosses two scoreless; Butler homers, hits RBI double

Karns begins case for starter spot in Grapefruit opener

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Orioles topped the Rays, 3-2, on Thursday afternoon as Tampa Bay kicked off its Grapefruit League season at Charlotte Sports Park.

The game was scoreless until the bottom of the seventh, when the Rays' Corey Brown tripled and then scored on Joey Butler's double.

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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.

Miller 'just happy to be here'

Vetreran right-hander goes from couch to 64th Ray in camp

Miller 'just happy to be here'

PORT CHARLOTTE -- Jim Miller dropped an old favorite on reporters Friday morning, but the veteran right-hander could easily defend his position.

"I'm just happy to be here, man," Miller said. "I know that's an overworked cliche, but three days ago I was sitting on my couch with no job. So I'm happy for any opportunity. I'm happy to be in camp with anybody and just looking forward to going out there and competing."

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Hal Bodley

Cash's first walk to dugout a huge step forward

Rays skipper manages first game of career in Grapefruit opener vs. Orioles

Cash's first walk to dugout a huge step forward

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Kevin Cash had been thinking about the walk for some time. "What will it be like?" he kept asking himself. "That's when it will hit me."

A half-hour before the first pitch Thursday afternoon, Cash walked out of the Tampa Bay Rays' clubhouse in right field and started the 100-yard jaunt to the dugout. Charlotte Sports Park on the sunny day was beginning to fill, and for the young manager, this was more than a walk to his "office." He was walking to begin a new career.

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Hal Bodley is the senior correspondent for MLB.com. Follow him @halbodley on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Watch Parachute Team descend for Rays home opener

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Watch Parachute Team descend for Rays home opener

Have you ever worried about getting to the game -- spending time calculating the best route to incorporate traffic, parking and that weird intersection on Maple where people forget they have a stop sign? Well, if you were a paratrooper, you wouldn't have to worry -- you could just drop in from above. 

Of course, if you're terrified of heights. this may not be an option for you. 

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Cash sees benefits of Zobrist-type utility player

Manager says that having flexibility would be helpful, but not going to force it

Cash sees benefits of Zobrist-type utility player

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Ben Zobrist is gone, leaving a legacy as the Rays player that put "utility" on the map. The Rays this spring will explore the possibility of finding someone who can fill the void he left.

In nine seasons with the Rays, Zobrist played 1,064 games, making 547 appearances at second base, 331 in right field, 229 at shortstop, 66 in left field, 34 in center field, 20 at DH, 17 at first base and four at third base.

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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.

Rays sign righty Miller to Minors deal with camp invite

Veteran reliever will compete for spot in Tampa Bay's bullpen

PORT CHARLOTTE -- The Rays have signed veteran right-hander Jim Miller to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training.

Once the 32-year-old Miller passed his physical on Thursday, the deal became official. He will join the competition to earn a spot in the Rays' bullpen.

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Bernie Pleskoff

Pleskoff: Rays prospects on the cusp

New-look organization offers help from Minor Leagues

Pleskoff: Rays prospects on the cusp

In this series, Bernie Pleskoff takes a team-by-team look at which top prospects are poised to make a contribution at the big league level in 2015.

A change in the front office and field management have entirely changed the complexion of the Rays.

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Bernie Pleskoff has served as a professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. Follow @BerniePleskoff on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Casali shows off skills in Rays Charity Golf Tournament

Catcher's group wins scramble event; Cash, Odorizzi also participate

Casali shows off skills in Rays Charity Golf Tournament

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- In the days leading up to Wednesday's annual Rays Charity Golf Tournament, Curt Casali received a unanimous mention from teammates as the club's best golfer.

And, like a true favorite, the Rays catcher did not disappoint, as his team won the scramble event. Paired with a group from Advantica, Casali and company finished with a 20-under score of 52.

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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.

Rays tab Cobb to be Opening Day starter

Right-hander gets nod for April 6 tilt against O's at Tropicana Field

Rays tab Cobb to be Opening Day starter

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Rays are a month away from Opening Day, but they already know how they'll line up their pitching staff. Manager Kevin Cash announced Wednesday that Alex Cobb will get the ball first for Tampa Bay in recognition of his stellar work the past two seasons.

Cobb will start against the Orioles on April 6, and he'll be followed by Chris Archer and Drew Smyly. Cash said that Jake Odorizzi will start the Rays' first road game -- April 9 against the Marlins in Miami -- and then the team will decide whether to pitch its fifth starter or Cobb for the season's fifth game.

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

MLB Pipeline checks in from Rays camp

Lee hopes to bounce back from rocky season marred by injury

MLB Pipeline checks in from Rays camp

Every Spring Training, prospects get a chance to show what they can do as they prepare for the season ahead. Some are competing for jobs in big league camp, others are prepping for the season as they vie for spots at Minor League affiliates up and down a team's system. MLBPipeline.com will be visiting all 30 camps this spring. Today, we check in on the Tampa Bay Rays.

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- New Kids on the Block are going on tour in 2015. They should seriously consider including the Rays' farm system in the planning.

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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.

Archer glad rotation is set, will start second game

Rays righty not disappointed with Cobb getting Opening Day assignment

Archer glad rotation is set, will start second game

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Chris Archer saw this coming.

Archer learned Wednesday that teammate Alex Cobb will start on Opening Day for the Rays, and he also found out that he will be pitching the second game of the season. That wasn't really a surprise, said Archer, and he was pleased to know how his routine will shake out over the next few weeks.

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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.

Beckham to lead off in Rays' Grapefruit opener

Asdrubal to bat third, Longoria cleanup against Orioles on Thursday

Beckham to lead off in Rays' Grapefruit opener

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Rays will get their Grapefruit League schedule underway Thursday at 1:05 p.m. ET, and they posted their first lineup Wednesday. Tim Beckham will lead off and play second base, and he'll be followed in the order by John Jaso, Asdrubal Cabrera and cleanup hitter Evan Longoria.

James Loney will play first base and bat fifth against an Orioles split squad on Thursday, followed by outfielders David DeJesus, Brandon Guyer and Kevin Kiermaier. Curt Casali will catch and hit ninth for Tampa Bay, and Nathan Karns will be the first starting pitcher out of the gate in Spring Training.

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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.

Souza impressing Cash with disciplined approach

Outfielder has worked on hitting to all fields, using size productively

Souza impressing Cash with disciplined approach

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Kevin Cash didn't know much about Steven Souza Jr. when the Rays acquired him in the three-way trade with the Padres and Nationals in December.

"We watched some film on him," the Rays manager said. "Some of his at-bats. The big clips. You saw the one where he hit a bomb to center field somewhere and saved the no-hitter for [Jordan] Zimmermann [with a diving catch]."

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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.

Jaso steps out from behind the dish for Rays

Catcher-turned-DH getting fresh experience this spring, including outfield work

Jaso steps out from behind the dish for Rays

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Spring Training feels a little different for John Jaso this year.

He's back where he started from, joining the Rays in the trade that sent Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar to the Athletics, but it's more than that. Jaso, a catcher by trade, is not catching this spring.

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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.

St. Pete International Series to feature Rays prospects

Tampa Bay Minor Leaguers will play Canadian Junior National Team in one of 11 games

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- A team of Rays Minor League prospects will host the Canadian Junior National Team at Tropicana Field on Sunday, March 22, at 1:05 p.m. ET.

The game will be a part of the fifth annual St. Petersburg International Baseball Series.

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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.

'Nicest guy in baseball' took alternate route to The Show

Cursi reflects on memorable tenure with Rays, which began as bullpen coach in '99

'Nicest guy in baseball' took alternate route to The Show

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- By Scott Cursi's estimation, he wasn't a bad player when he caught for Pickerington High School in Pickerington, Ohio.

"I could hit a little bit," said Cursi, adding with a chuckle, "but I couldn't really throw or catch."

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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.

Rays pitcher wants to return stray to his owner

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Rays pitcher wants to return stray to his owner

People of Port Charlotte: Alex Cobb may have found your missing dog.

The Rays right-hander departed Charlotte Sports Park after Monday's spring workout like any other day, except this time he spotted a stray dog wandering dangerously close to a busy road.

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Archer plans to keep plenty in his tank for stretch run

In eighth Spring Training, Rays righty knows not to push himself early

Archer plans to keep plenty in his tank for stretch run

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Starting pitchers have a two-fold task during Spring Training: build up endurance while leaving some gas in the tank for the season.

Rays right-hander Chris Archer understands that to meet the ultimate goal of pitching through the season and finishing strong, he must temper what he does during the offseason and in Spring Training.

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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.

Rays weigh pros, cons of bunting

Players, manager agree its not an easy task

Rays weigh pros, cons of bunting

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Putting one down. Bunting. Not the easiest thing to do for a Major League hitter. Nevertheless, a player not being able to bunt remains one of the hot-button issues for fans of the game.

"Bunting is not as easy as you think it is," Rays infield hopeful Tim Beckham said. "If you lose focus, you can easily foul one off the face, not get the job done as far as sac bunting. Sac bunting is huge. You're sacrificing your at-bat for the team. Once they're calling for you to get the bunt down, that's your job to get the bunt down."

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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.

Rays hold domestic violence training/education seminar

All Major League teams to participate in program this spring

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Tuesday morning, the Rays shut down the clubhouse early to facilitate a comprehensive domestic violence training/education program for 40-man roster players, coordinated by Futures Without Violence.

All Major League teams will complete the program in the first two weeks of Spring Training.

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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.

Rays prospect homers through Smyly's windshield

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Rays prospect homers through Smyly's windshield

Rays starter Drew Smyly drives a BMW. BMW's are nice cars. So nice that one miiiight not want to park them right outside the left-field fence at Spring Training. Particularly when former No. 1 MLB Draft pick Tim Beckham is taking batting practice.

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Record-breaking season sets high bar for Boxberger

After striking out 104 in 2014, Rays reliever has opportunity to close

Record-breaking season sets high bar for Boxberger

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Rays manager Kevin Cash smiled when asked what he would like to see from Brad Boxberger this season.

"Just whatever he was doing last year," Cash said. "... He's going to fit [into the bullpen] quite nicely."

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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.

Rays expect Rivera to add pop behind plate

Catcher can be an effective weapon at position lacking in production last season

Rays expect Rivera to add pop behind plate

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Playing time is the goal for any Major Leaguer. Nobody reaches The Show without feeling like they belong. Getting in the lineup validates that feeling.

Rene Rivera understands. He's spent a professional career that began in 2001 working toward getting his chance. The veteran catcher's time finally came last 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.

Belisario discusses fractured left shoulder

Veteran reliever, non-roster invitee expects to return within three weeks

Belisario discusses fractured left shoulder

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Ronald Belisario addressed the media on Sunday, a day after the Rays announced that the veteran right-hander had sustained a fractured left shoulder, which was discovered when he took his physical.

According to Belisario, the injury occurred approximately a month ago, days after he finished pitching winter ball. It happened when he was swimming with his daughter in the pool at his house in Venezuela.

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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.

Cash addresses underdog role before first full workout

New manager's speech leaves strong impression on Longoria, Rays teammates

Cash addresses underdog role before first full workout

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The new-look Rays took the field for the first time as a full squad Saturday morning at Charlotte Sports Park.

Significant among the changes are new manager Kevin Cash and team president Matt Silverman assuming the role of president of baseball operations.

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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.

Rays dedicate 'Don Zimmer Way' path at spring complex

Rays dedicate 'Don Zimmer Way' path at spring complex

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Before the Rays took the field Saturday for their first full-squad workout at Charlotte Sports Park, the late Don Zimmer was honored in a brief ceremony.

A "Don Zimmer Way" sign will now designate a path within the complex.

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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.