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Rays invite seven Minor Leaguers to big league camp

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ST. PETERSBURG –- Outfielder Wil Myers, recently acquired from the Royals, is one of seven Minor League players the Rays invited to Major League Spring Training. The others include first baseman/outfielder Leslie Anderson, infielder Cole Figueroa, right-handers Matt Nevarez and Jim Paduch, and left-handers Jim Patterson and Neil Schenk.

The Rays have now invited 64 players to Major League Spring Training, their highest total since 2005, when it was also 64.

Myers, 22, began the 2012 season in the Royals organization with Double-A Northwest Arkansas and earned a May 16 promotion to Triple-A Omaha. He hit a combined .314 with 37 home runs and 109 RBIs in 134 games. After the season, he became the third player to win the Baseball America, USA Today and Topps Minor League Baseball Player of the Year Awards, joining Andruw Jones (1996) and Josh Beckett (2001) as the only players to take home all three honors. He enters 2013 rated the No. 4 prospect overall in the Minor Leagues by MLB.com and joined the Rays in the deal that sent James Shields and Wade Davis to the Royals.

Anderson, 30, spent 2012 with Triple-A Durham and hit .309 with 14 home runs and 56 RBIs. The Cuba native has played three Minor League seasons, totaling 38 home runs and 170 RBIs with a .295 career average.

Figueroa, 25, split 2012 between Double-A Montgomery and Durham, combining to hit .292 with 54 RBIs. He was named the Rays Minor League Hitter of the Month for April and earned a promotion to Durham on May 2. The infielder was acquired from the Padres in December 2010 in a trade that sent Jason Bartlett to San Diego. Born in Tallahassee, Fla., he attended the University of Florida and has a .292 career average and .384 on-base percentage over five Minor League seasons.

Nevarez, 25, started the 2012 season in the independent leagues but signed with the Rays on July 22 and went 1-1 with a 0.98 ERA, allowing only five hits in 12 relief outings split between Class A Charlotte and Montgomery. He has a career 3.47 ERA over seven Minor League seasons in the Texas, Houston and Tampa Bay organizations.

Paduch, 30, combined to go 6-12 with a 5.48 ERA in 29 appearances (22 starts) with Montgomery and Durham in 2012. The right-hander signed with the Rays on June 3, 2011, and has spent five seasons in the Minor Leagues and five in independent leagues.

Patterson, 24, spent the majority of his 2012 season with Charlotte but also made one appearance at both Montgomery and Durham. In 37 appearances (one start) with Charlotte, he went 8-4 with a 2.82 ERA and 76 strikeouts. The Rays selected him in the 18th round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft and he went 18-11 with a 2.78 ERA in three Minor League seasons since.

Schenk, 26, was 3-1 with a 2.97 ERA in 42 relief outings for Montgomery last season. In five Minor League seasons with the Rays, he has posted a 3.45 ERA and 302 strikeouts in 308 innings pitched. He was originally selected by the Rays in the 23rd round of the 2008 Draft.

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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