ST. PETERSBURG -- Rocco Baldelli filed for free agency on Friday, the second day that eligible players could officially declare their intentions to test the market.
Baldelli missed the first 116 games of the 2008 season due to a mitochondrial disorder, a condition that slows muscle recovery and causes fatigue. Upon his return, he played in 28 of the Rays' final 46 games, making 16 starts -- 13 at designated hitter and three in right field. The outfielder also contributed to the Rays' 2008 playoff run, going 8-for-20 with two homers and six RBIs.
When Baldelli returned on Aug. 10 in Seattle, he had a single in four trips to the plate while batting cleanup and playing right. The game was his first Major League appearance since May 15, 2007, when the Rays played the Rangers at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex.
Baldelli also missed all of the 2005 season due to two major injuries. He tore the ACL in his left knee in October 2004, and he tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow while rehabbing from a knee injury in June 2005.
The Rays selected Baldelli with the sixth overall pick in the 2000 First-Year Player Draft out of Bishop Hendrickson High School in Rhode Island. He has a .281 career average in 447 big league games, with 52 home runs and 234 RBIs.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.