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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Salazar last outfielder candidate standing ... for now
Posted Mar 31, 2012 by Roger Mooney
Updated Mar 31, 2012 at 05:48 PM
PORT CHARLOTTE The Rays reassigned outfielder Jesus Feliciano and utility fielder Will Rhymes to minor league camp after today’s game, leaving Jeff Salazar as the lone candidate to fill one of the outfield spots left open by the injuries to B.J. Upton and Sam Fuld.
This means the career minor leaguer will make the team unless the Rays go outside the organization during this last week of camp or recall Brandon Guyer from minor league camp.
“Right now Sally is still here, but that doesn’t mean he’s on the team, yet,” manager Joe Maddon said.
Salazar, who has 168 career major league at-bats but none since the 2009 season, has played parts four seasons in the big leagues.
Maddon said recalling Guyer is still in play but that the organization feels Salazar is the better choice of the two at this point.
“It’s still in play, yes,” Maddon said. “Right now we kind of like Sally a little bit, so we’re just going to be there, but I can’t tell you the other thing is not in play. There’s still other things in play that’s why I could not tell him he’s on the team.”
Maddon said Salazar separated himself from Feliciano and Rhymes with his play this month. He worked better at-bats, drew 10 walks and struck out just six times. Plus, Maddon said, the potential for power is more with Salazar than the other two.
“We thought he really showed a little bit better even though the other guys did a great job, too,” Maddon said.