Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
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Jack Cust signs minor league deal with Rays
Posted Feb 17, 2013 by Roger Mooney
Updated Feb 17, 2013 at 12:18 PM
PORT CHARLOTTE Jack Cust said there were other teams interested in him but the chance to play for Joe Maddon and the Rays was the reason he agreed to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training.
“They have a lot going on here. I’ve admired it from the opposing dugout for years,” said Cust, who reported to the Rays complex this morning. “They play the game the right way. I just always admired what they had going on over here ever since Joe came in. The way he runs the ball club is just something I thought at this stage of my career would be refreshing.”
Cust, 34, has played the outfield and DH for six teams over 10 years. The left-handed power-hitter hit 26, 33 and 25 homers for Oakland during a three-year stretch between 2007 and 2009.
He last played in the big leagues in 2011 with Seattle, hitting three home runs with 13 RBI.
“They said come in and see what you look like. See if it’s you from three years ago, or you from the last couple of years,” he said. “It’s just something where I know what I can do. I know I still got it. I feel young.”
Cust split the 2012 season between the Triple A teams of the Yankees and Blue Jays. He hit a combined .243 with 20 home runs and 72 RBI while compiling a .400 on-base percentage and .442 slugging percentage. He did most of that work at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he hit 20 home runs, drove in 66 runs and drew 81 walks in 425 plate appearances with the Yankees Triple A squad.
“I feel great,” he said. “Everyone feels good going into spring training, and everybody feels like this is the year. For me this is just something where I really feel like I’m in a good spot, situation. Physically, mentally I feel good. I got nothing to lose. I’ve played the game a long time, and this is a place that I’ve always admired from afar. The opportunity came. I was really excited for it. There’s no pressure from me. Just go out there and do the best that I can and I’ll be happy with the results.”