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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Price, Ruggiano among Rays’ cuts
Posted Mar 25, 2009 by Marc Lancaster
Updated Mar 25, 2009 at 06:53 PM
PORT CHARLOTTE—The Rays today optioned top prospect David Price and four other players to Triple-A Durham. Justin Ruggiano, Reid Brignac, John Jaso and Elliot Johnson also were sent down.
Price said he “absolutely” believes Rays intended to send him down no matter how he pitched this spring and he wasn’t surprised to be cut.
“Not a bit,” he said. “I knew it was coming. It’s part of it.”
Nonetheless, Price was relatively curt in his remarks and didn’t say much about the team’s directives to him. He said he plans to stay away from the park tomorrow perhaps playing some golf, before reporting to minor-league camp.
While Price being sent out was expected, the fact that Ruggiano got cut was unexpected. With B.J. Upton expected to open the year on the disabled list and Fernando Perez sidelined four to five months with a dislocated wrist, Ruggiano was believed to have a good chance at making the Opening Day roster as a backup outfielder.
His absence could open up a spot for veteran infielder Adam Kennedy, a non-roster invitee, if the Rays feel comfortable with Ben Zobrist and Pat Burrell backing up in the outfield for the week or so Upton is expected to miss. Executive vice president Andrew Friedman, however, said this move will have no bearing on Ruggiano’s chances of making the Opening Day roster and that the team just wants him to be able to play nine innings for the rest of spring training.
“If B.J. starts the year on the DL, we still could recall him,” Friedman said of Ruggiano. “He was very impressive this spring and did everything that we asked of him. We didn’t send him out today for any other reason than to go down and play every day.”