Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Rays hire former Yanks pitching coach

Dave Eiland, after three years as the Yankees' pitching coach and five in the team's minor league system, will be a special assistant for Tampa Bay. He'll help the Rays in player development, pro scouting and amateur scouting.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Newly acquired by Rays, infielder should be Biscuit

The Rays and San Diego Padres finally announced the Jason Bartlett trade and expanded on it. One of the new pieces should be headed to the Biscuits.

Infielder Cole Figueroa hit .303 in 124 games last year at high-Class A Lake Elsinore, which means he's in line to be at Double-A in 2011. Figueroa has a .296 average since being taken in the sixth round of the 2008 draft.

Figueroa and pitcher Brandon Gomes were added to the trade, which was first reported during the winter meetings last week. The Padres will also now receive a player to be named. The original deal had Bartlett to the Padres for pitchers Cesar Ramos and Adam Russell.

Gomes was 7-2 with a 1.87 ERA at Double-A San Antonio this year.

The Rays also announced signing reliever Joel Peralta to a major-league, one-year contract. The 34-year-old right-hander made 39 appearances for the Nationals this year.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pensacola Pelicans coming to Southern League

The owner of the Pensacola Pelicans has sold his independent franchise in anticipation of buying a Southern League team, the Pensacola News-Journal reports. The paper says the Carolina Mudcats are the likely frachise headed to Florida.

The Mudcats were in Columbus, Ga., before moving to suburban Raleigh, N.C., before the 1991 season. This year, Carolina averaged 3,811 fans to rank fifth in the Southern League.

The Pelicans, former rivals of the bygone Montgomery Wings, averaged 1,150 fans per game this year, but owner Quint Studer has plans for a new stadium at the city's Community Maritime Park.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

And now the short-season coaching staffs

Freshly released by the Rays. And, again, no changes from 2010.

Jared Sandberg, manager
Jack Giese, pitching coach
Reinaldo Ruiz, hitting coach

Michael Johns, manager
Marty DeMerritt, pitching
Wuarnner Rincones, hitting

Joe Alvarez, manager
Darwin Peguero, pitching
Dan DeMent, hitting
Hector Torres, hitting

Trainer only change in Biscuits' dugout staff

Trainer Rodger Fleming (right) will join the Biscuits in 2011, marking the only change in the team’s dugout staff. Manager Billy Gardner will return for a fifth year, hitting coach Ozzie Timmons for a third season and pitching coach Bill Moloney for a second.

Fleming is expected to swap places with Lee Slagle, a Montgomery native who worked for the Biscuits for two seasons. Fleming, a Gordo native, was with Triple-A Durham the last two seasons.

Fleming, 38, was in the Southern League in 2005-06 as the trainer for the Tennessee Smokies.

"The Southern League, you can't ask for a better league," Fleming said. "When I was there, Montgomery was always a fun place with good crowds, and it's close to home for me."

The Fleming-for-Slagle swap will mean one significant change.

"He's an Auburn fan and I'm a Bama guy," Fleming said. "That's for sure."

Gardner, with 287 wins, will become Montgomery’s all-time winningest manager early in 2011. He’s currently 12 wins shy of Frank Carswell, who led the Montgomery Rebels in 1959 and from 1967-69.

The Biscuits announced their dugout staff today. Montgomery’s 2011 season opens April 7 against the Birmingham Barons.

"I don't think there's a better spot in minor league baseball," Gardner said. "Durham would be the only place that could be better because it would be a move up, but it's on the same level as Montgomery as far as being a premier spot. I'm really looking forward to going back.

"I've had four good years there and I'm looking forward to another good year."

Bulls, Crabs, Rods announce coaching staffs

Former Biscuits pitching coach Neil Allen, who spent this year at high-Class A Charlotte, is making the jump to Triple-A Durham. He'll replace Xavier Hernandez, now with the Houston Baptist Huskies. (The Biscuits are due to release theirs soon.)

Charlie Montoyo, manager
Neil Allen, pitching coach (Charlotte last year)
Dave Myers, hitting coach

Jim Morrison, manager
Steve Watson, pitching coach (high Class-A Jupiter, Marlins, last year)
Joe Szekely, hitting coach

Brady Williams, manager
R.C. Lichtenstein, pitching coach
Manny Castillo, hitting coach

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Astros snap up A-Rod in Rule 5; Rollins to Royals

Former Biscuits pitcher Aneury Rodriguez went to the Houston Astros in the Rule 5 draft today. He'll have to make Houston's major league roster coming out of spring training and remain in the majors all season or Tampa Bay can reclaim him.

In the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5, Heath Rollins went to the Kansas City Royals and Justin Dowdy to San Francisco.

Rollins, who made a surprisingly long stay in major league spring training, was demoted from Triple-A Durham to Montgomery in late May. He had a 5.22 ERA in his third year with the Biscuits.

Dowdy joined the Biscuits from an independent league this season and has had a dominating winter. He has an 0.73 ERA in 16 appearances with the Tomateros de Culiacan in the Mexican Pacific League.

The Rays also lost a player in the Double-A phase. Infielder Roan Salas, who played for the VSL Rays this year, went to Toronto. Salas hit .345 in 60 games.

Tampa Bay picked left-handed pitcher Cesar Cabral from Boston in the major league Rule 5. The 21-year-old had an 0.29 ERA in 17 games at low-Class A Greenville before a June promotion to high-A Salem where he had a 5.81 in 28 appearances.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Braves' Hudson coming to Montgomery

Come out Saturday to see (and get autographs) from Braves pitcher Tim Hudson and three other major leaguers.

St. Louis' Colby Rasmus, Florida's Wes Helms and Selma High grad Jai Miller, most recently with Kansas City, are scheduled to appear.

They're appearing from noon-2:30 p.m. at the new Capital City Sportsplex (map), which is operated by city native Rob Macrory, a teammate of Hudson's at Auburn. The Sportsplex will include a revamped Strike Zone, which Macrory opened two years ago.

There is an admission price -- $10 per family and all money goes to the Hudson Family Foundation.

Rays deal Bartlett, open door for Brignac

Former Biscuit Reid Brignac is the heir at shortstop for the Rays, who traded incumbent Jason Bartlett to the Padres today for two major league relievers.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

De Los Santos returns to Rays

Former Biscuits pitcher Richard De Los Santos is among five signings formally announced by the Rays today.

Also, former Biscuits trainer Mark Vinson is headed to he big leagues as Tampa Bay's assistant trainer.

The other signings include: infielders Russ Canzler and J.J. Furmaniak, right-handed pitcher Cory Wade and left-hander R.J. Swindle.

Furmaniak spent a little time in Montgomery last year. Canzler hit 21 homers for the Tennessee Smokies last year. Wade was part of the Dodgers' system.