Baldelli making case to join Rays as DH

Baldelli making case to join Rays as DH

ANAHEIM -- Rocco Baldelli is looking like a real option at designated hitter for the Rays.

Baldelli added his third consecutive two-hit, two-RBI night Monday for Triple-A Durham, making him 9-for-27 (.333) with two home runs and seven RBIs with the Bulls.

Rays manager Joe Maddon answered "of course he can" when the possibility of Baldelli joining the team was mentioned.

"That was the plan from the beginning," Maddon said. "We'll see how this all shakes out."

He noted that there are other players at Durham "who have done some good work, too."

"We haven't finalized anything yet, but Rocco is definitely strong," Maddon said. "He's done it before. Believe me, I've watched him take BP with us the last couple of months and there's nothing wrong with his strength level. If he's getting his timing back and he's seeing the ball good, he could be very valuable, particularly against left-handed pitching."

When seen around Tropicana Field for much of the season, Baldelli appeared to be carrying more weight, which could actually augment his power as a DH.

"I'm not concerned about foot speed, so I would imagine strength-wise, it would help him a little bit," Maddon said. "His issues with his [channelopathy] disorder would still be there. We'd have to monitor them. We just couldn't throw him out there and play him. We'll just see how he feels after all this happens and how he gets through it.

"Listen, he's still one of the better baseball athletes I've been on a baseball field with. When you watch him take BP and throw, it's still there."