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Tampa Bay Rays

Stadium: Tropicana Field | Manager: Joe Maddon
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Rays' Franklin confident he'll win competition to be starting shortstop
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com

Rays infielder Nick Franklin will be battling for the starting job at shortstop this spring, and he has no doubts he can play the position at the major-league level.

"Absolutely," Franklin said, per the Tampa Bay Times. "Absolutely. 100 percent. I've grown up playing shortstop. Even at the big-league level, playing short just seems natural to me. I enjoy it. I'm really comfortable there. … It's been in my blood for a long time.

"I wouldn't say I need any work. Honestly, I think over these past years I've improved a significant amount at shortstop. … I've been practicing all offseason at short. And there's really no weakness."

The Rays plan to take most of the spring to decide who will be the team's starting shortstop, but Franklin seems pretty confident he will emerge as the victor in the competition.

"I'm going to be out there at short," he said. "There's not a doubt in my mind that I'm not."

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Rays manager believes Grant Balfour will be ready for opening day
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com

Rays manager Kevin Cash believes pitcher Grant Balfour will be good to go by opening day, according to the Tampa Tribune.

Balfour is currently in Australia, tending to his sick father. Cash said Balfour was still working out, and expects the pitcher to be ready for the start of the regular season. The 37-year-old posted a 3.46 ERA over 62 1/3 innings last season. 

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Rays' Alex Colome may miss the start of the season
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com

Rays pitcher Alex Colome may not be ready for the start of the regular season, according to the Tampa Tribune

Colome has been delayed by visa issues thus far, though he's been able to throw at the Rays facility in the Dominican Republic. Colome is facing hitters, but manager Kevin Cash still expressed some doubt about his availability once the regular season begins. 

Colome, 26, posted a 2.66 ERA over 23 2/3 innings last year. 

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Rays' Archer aims to refine changeup during spring training
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com

Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer is working this spring to refine his changeup and improve against the running game, per MLB.com.

"Last year at the end of spring training, I felt completely comfortable throwing my changeup," Archer said. "But when there are runners on base and it was a changeup situation, I didn't feel comfortable going to that because my other two pitches are my bread and butter.

"Hopefully I can get to the point where I can have my three pitches. Throw my slider less and my changeup more. That makes my slider better because they see it less frequently."

Rays manager Kevin Cash is all for Archer working on his changeup.

"It can be another weapon," Cash said. "He's got such a great feel with the other two, I don't think him working on a changeup or focusing on it a little bit more during spring training is going to hurt anything."

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Rays move pitcher Mike Montgomery to bullpen
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com

The Rays moved pitcher Mike Montgomery to the bullpen, reports The Tampa Tribune.

Rays manager Kevin Cash said the move will allow Montgomery to have a bigger impact on the team and Montgomery did not object to the move.

"As a player, I want to make myself as valuable as I can," he said.

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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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