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Anderson's bat catches fire early in camp


PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Leslie Anderson is on fire.

Anderson hit a two-run homer against the Red Sox in Fort Myers on Saturday, and he followed that performance with two hits in Sunday's 10-7 win over the Twins in Fort Myers. Entering Monday's action, Anderson led the Grapefruit League with five RBIs.

Anderson's play has not gone unnoticed by manager Joe Maddon.

"He's swinging the bat," Maddon said. "Good at-bats. He had a pretty good year last year, but beyond that, I like what he's doing on defense."

Tampa Bay signed Anderson in 2010 after he defected from Cuba. The first baseman/outfielder had a productive 2012 season while playing at Triple-A Durham, where he hit .309 with 14 home runs and 56 RBIs. Despite the well-documented struggles of first baseman Carlos Pena last season, Anderson did not earn a promotion to the Major Leagues.

"Watching him in pregame, it looks like he has a better feel for [first base]," Maddon said. "He looks really good. He's a different player than what I saw the last time I saw him."

Maddon noted that the potential the Rays saw in Anderson could finally be coming to fruition.

"I think it is [coming together] quite frankly," Maddon said. "Talking to him, he looks stronger to me. He's definitely more confident. He's more comfortable here. I think a lot of those things, when he showed up there was a lot of discomfort for him, culturally. Right now, he looks like he has a pretty good handle on things. Unequivocally, he looks good."

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