Tampa Bay Rays

Stadium: Tropicana Field | Manager: Joe Maddon
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Healthy Tim Beckham to compete for middle-infield spot
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com

Rays infielder Tim Beckham is in the mix to claim a middle-infield spot this spring after missing most of the 2014 season while rehabbing from knee surgery, MLB.com reports.

Beckham, selected first overall in the 2008 draft, tore his right ACL and underwent sugery on Dec. 17, 2013. He was able to make it back late last season and contribute to a playoff push by Triple-A Durham, hitting .258/.281/.290 in 62 at-bats.

"Coming back and playing last year, playing that month and a half, producing and helping the team out a lot," Beckham said. "And we went pretty far in the playoffs. So that brought a lot of confidence back my way. Just sliding, jumping, those are big hurdles. Just doing stuff you don't do every day off the baseball field. I wouldn't be sliding if I wasn't in a game. So that month and a half was big for me."

Beckham also said the past "not anything I think about," adding, "That's not anything I want to think about right now. I'm here, I'm healthy, and I'll take it one day at a time. Just to be able to be out there with the guys, laughing and taking ground balls, swinging, that's what the game's about, having fun. That's what we started out doing as kids. This is the game we love."

Prior to his ACL injury, Beckham hit .276/.342/.387 with four home runs, 51 RBI and 17 stolen bases in 460 at-bats with Durham in 2013. If he makes the team this spring, the infielder could see time at second base and shortstop.

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Rays' Ronald Belisario able to report to camp
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com

Rays pitcher Ronald Belisario reported to camp on Wednesday, according to MLB.com.

Belisario was delayed by visa issues, and wound up missing five days of camp. He's expected to participate in workouts on Thursday. The 32-year-old signed a minor-league deal with the club in February. 

Belisario is expected to compete for a spot in the team's bullpen this spring. He posted a 5.56 ERA over 66 1/3 innings last year. 

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Juan Francisco took Rays offer because of chance to DH
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com

Juan Francisco chose to sign a minor-league deal with the Rays this offseason since he felt the team presented him with the best opportunity to make a major-league roster, according to MLB.com.

"I think here I have a better chance to play DH, a position," said Francisco, adding that he's comfortable at first or third base. "So I have better chances to play here, get some playing time with the Rays."

Francisco added his experience playing in the AL East last season with Toronto was also a factor in his decision to take the Rays offer over the other ones he had on the table.

"I feel more comfortable playing in the American League East. I know the league. I know the pitchers," Francisco said through an interpreter. "It's better for me to play in the American League because of the DH, so I have a better chance to play."

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Rays' Smyly on different throwing program than other pitchers
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com

Rays starting pitcher Drew Smyly is on a different throwing program than the rest of the Tampa Bay pitchers, which is why he won't appear in a spring game until mid-March, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Manager Kevin Cash said Wednesday that Smyly will throw bullpen sessions every third day, instead of every other as the other pitchers, and will throw more each time. He will also make one less exhibition appearance and is not expected to debut until March 10 or March 11.

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Rays' Cash: Desmond Jennings could be pushed down in the lineup
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com

Rays manager Kevin Cash hinted at the idea of moving outfielder Desmond Jennings away from the leadoff spot this season, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

When asked about Jennings, Cash noted that he'd like to remove him from "leadoff mentality," noting that he may hit him fifth or sixth in the order. This may not be the only change for Jenning this season. On Tuesday Jennings showed up to camp noticeably lighter, and told reporters he's fine with splitting time between center and left field this season, with Kevin Kiermaier slotted at center.

The 28-year-old Jennings hit .273/.385/.364 in just 14 plate appearances at the No. 5 spot, and .321/.377/.464 in 61 plate appearance at the No. 6 spot in the order last season.

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2014 Team Leaders
AVGJames Loney , 1B.290
HREvan Longoria , 3B22
RBIEvan Longoria , 3B91
OBPBen Zobrist , 2B.354
SLGEvan Longoria , 3B.404
REvan Longoria , 3B83
SBDesmond Jennings , CF15
WJake Odorizzi , SP11
ERAAlex Cobb , SP2.87
WHIPAlex Cobb , SP1.14
KJake Odorizzi , SP174
SVJake McGee , RP19
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