Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Rays set full Arizona Fall League party

Richie Shaffer, the Tampa Bay Rays' top draft pick this year, will be among eight players the team is sending to the Arizona Fall League.

Shaffer is currently with short-season Class A Hudson Valley. It's the second straight year the Rays have sent their top pick from that year to the AFL. Mikie Mahtook went last year.

The group includes current Biscuits pitchers Chris Rearick, C.J. Riefenhauser and Kirby Yates, plus injured Biscuits shortstop Hak-Ju Lee. (Lee, Riefehauser and Yates confirmed their invitations last weekend.) Durham shortstop Tim Beckham, who was with Montgomery last year, is also going. Beckham will likely work mostly at second base.

Outfielder Kevin Kiermaier and pitcher Lenny Linsky, currently with high-Class A Charlotte, round out the contingent.

Shaffer, a third baseman, was the 25th overall pick out of Clemson and debuted with Hudson Valley on July 23. He's hitting .300 with 20 RBIs and 15 runs scored in 25 games.

Linsky, a second-round pick last year, made his first appearance this year in mid-June with the GCL Rays before joining the Stone Crabs.

Kiermaier was on the disabled list for a month and has played in just 54 games with Charlotte. He's hitting .268 with 12 RBIs.

Beckham, after serving a 50-game drug suspension, returned in late June and soon made his professional debut at second base. He's played in 24 games at second and 43 at short this year. Beckham is hitting .259.

Minor league hitting coordinator Steve Livesey and trainer Chris Tomashoff will be on the staff.

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