The Tampa Bay Rays have signed four players to minor league contracts, each with an invitation to major league spring training: infielder/outfielder James Darnell, right-handed pitcher Santiago Garrido, shortstop Ray Olmedo and catcher Ali Solis.
Darnell, who turns 27 this month, hit .246 (15-for-61) in 15 games with Triple-A Tucson (San Diego Padres) last season before he was designated for assignment and released in June. Darnell played primarily in the outfield in 2013 (seven games in left field, three in right field) but also appeared at first and third base. At the time of his release, the right-handed hitter was sidelined for the remainder of the season with a left shoulder injury. Darnell played in 25 games in the majors for the Padres over two seasons (2011-12). Over six minor league seasons, he owns a career .297 average, .394 on-base percentage and .502 slugging percentage.
Garrido, 24, went 0-5 with 2 saves and a 3.03 ERA (59.1-IP, 20-ER) in 39 games out of the bullpen for Double-A Northwest Arkansas (Kansas City Royals) last season. Garrido also made one appearance with Triple-A Omaha in 2013. Over seven seasons in the Royals farm system, the right-hander has compiled a career 14-25 record with a 4.37 ERA. He made the switch to full-time reliever last season.
Olmedo, 32, has spent parts of six seasons in the major leagues and has played 15 seasons professionally. The switch-hitting shortstop spent all of last season with Triple-A Rochester (Minnesota Twins). Olmedo hit .234 (73-for-312) in 105 games with Rochester, appearing at second base (31 games), shortstop (31 games) and third base (46 games) in addition to one relief appearance on the mound. In his major league career, Olmedo has compiled a .230 batting average while spending time with the Cincinnati Reds (2003-06), Toronto Blue Jays (2007) and Chicago White Sox (2012). In his minor league career, Olmedo has a .262 average over 1,423 games. This marks Olmedo's third stint in the Rays organization as he spent the 2009 and 2011 seasons with Triple-A Durham.
Solis, 26, hit .179 (15-for-84) between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis last season in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. Prior to 2013, the right-handed hitter had spent the previous seven seasons of his career in the San Diego Padres organization, earning a five-game stint in the majors in 2012. In his minor league career, he has thrown out 34 percent of attempted base stealers (167-of-493).
39 Days Until Pitchers & Catchers Report to Spring Training