From the Rays Communications Dept.
The Tampa Bay Rays will begin their 20th spring training and ninth in Charlotte County on Tuesday, February 14 when Manager Kevin Cash and his staff welcome 32 pitchers and catchers to Charlotte Sports Park. The players will take the field at 10:30 a.m. The first full-squad workout is scheduled for Sunday, February 19 when camp expands to 59 players, including 19 non-roster invites. For all spring training workouts, admission and parking are free.
Last spring, the Rays led the Grapefruit League with 68 doubles while the pitching staff ranked fourth in the majors with a 3.78 ERA (238-IP, 100-ER). Over the last three springs the Rays pitching staff leads the majors with a 3.33 ERA, followed by the New York Yankees (3.61). Since becoming the “Rays” in 2008, the club has captured three Grapefruit League titles (2008, 2010, 2014) and has collected at least 15 wins in seven of nine years—something they were unable to do in all 10 springs as the Devil Rays. During this span, they hold the majors’ fifth-best spring record (see chart) and third best in the Grapefruit League behind the Detroit Tigers and Toronto Blue Jays.
Only three players on the current 40-man roster made their Rays debut prior to 2013: Evan Longoria (2008), Alex Cobb (2011) and Chris Archer (2012). Entering camp, only four players on the Rays 40-man roster are age 30 or older: Eddie Gamboa (32), Longoria (31), Colby Rasmus (30) and Xavier Cedeño (30). The Rays have started a pitcher under the age of 30 in 398 consecutive games, the longest streak in the majors, and have started an under-30 pitcher for 96 pct. (1,633 of 1,707) of their games since June 26, 2006.
Since the end of the 2016 season, the Rays have added 14 players to the 40-man roster including six from outside the organization. Among them are free agent signings Wilson Ramos, a 2016 National League All-Star who ranked second among NL catchers with 22 home runs; Colby Rasmus, whose accomplishments include four 20-homer seasons; and Shawn Tolleson, who converted 35 of 37 save opportunities for the Texas Rangers in 2015.
NEW FACES ON THE 40-MAN ROSTER (14)
Signed as Free Agents (3): C Wilson Ramos, OF Colby Rasmus, RHP Shawn Tolleson
Acquired in Trades (2): RHP Jose De León, OF Mallex Smith
Rule 5 Draft (1): RHP Kevin Gadea
Selected from Minor League System (8): INF Willy Adames, LHP Jose Alvarado, RHP Chih-Wei Hu, RHP Austin Pruitt, INF Daniel Robertson, RHP Jaime Schultz, RHP Ryne Stanek, RHP Hunter Wood
GONE FROM THE 40-MAN ROSTER (17)
Free Agent (4): 1B Logan Morrison, RHP Kevin Jepsen, INF Alexei Ramirez, C Bobby Wilson
Traded (5): 2B Logan Forsythe, OF Mikie Mahtook, UTL Taylor Motter, INF/OF Richie Shaffer, LHP Drew Smyly
Waived (4): OF Jaff Decker, RHP Dylan Floro, RHP Steve Geltz, INF Juniel Querecuto
Re-signed to Minor League Contracts (4): INF Ryan Brett, LHP Dana Eveland, LHP Justin Marks, C Justin O’Conner
· Saturday, February 4, 11 a.m.—2017 Rays Fan Fest at Tropicana Field. Many Rays players and coaches are expected to attend.
· Monday, February 6, 9:30 a.m.—At Tropicana Field, the Rays moving trucks will be loaded up for spring training and head to Port Charlotte. Media are welcome.
· Monday, February 13, 12:30 p.m.—Pre-spring training press conference at Charlotte Sports Park with Rays Manager Kevin Cash, Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations/General Manager Erik Neander and Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations Chaim Bloom. Lunch will be provided by the Charlotte Harbor Visitor and Convention Bureau following the press conference.
· Tuesday, February 14, 10:30 a.m.—First workout, pitchers and catchers.
· Saturday, February 18, 8:30 a.m.—Photo Day for media only. All players and coaches will be available for head-and-shoulders photos. Media wishing to attend must notify the Rays Communications dept. at firstname.lastname@example.org.
· Sunday, February 19, 10:30 a.m.—First full-squad workout.
· Friday, February 24, 7:05 p.m.—Rays Grapefruit League opener at Minnesota Twins, Hammond Stadium in Lee County.
· Saturday, February 25, 1:05 p.m.—Rays Grapefruit League home opener vs. Pittsburgh Pirates at Charlotte Sports Park.
· Wednesday, March 8, 6:35 p.m.—The Rays will host the Colombia World Baseball Classic team at Charlotte Sports Park.
· Sunday, March 19 (pregame)—For the sixth consecutive year, the Rays will shave their heads in support of the Pediatric Cancer Foundation’s “Cut for a Cure” program to pay tribute to children fighting cancer. Details will be announced at a later date.