SPRING TRAINING: Bourjos make good 1st impression with Rays; Preview of last game in Port Charlotte

By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports

Tampa Bay’s Peter Bourjos leaps up for the catch during Wednesday’s game against the Orioles (Sun Photo by Kat Godina).

PORT CHARLOTTE — One day after being acquired by the Tampa Bay Rays, Peter Bourjos was not only in the clubhouse but also in the lineup on Wednesday.

Bourjos was traded from the Chicago White Sox for cash considerations or a player to be named later.

“I’m excited about opportunity and whatever presents itself,” Bourjos said. “Hopefully, I can make the team and hopefully we can win some games.”

The outfielder, who turns 30 on Friday, nearly signed with the Rays in the offseason, but says after the team traded Drew Smyly to Seattle to get Mallex Smith, that put an end to talks.

“It was pretty close,” Bourjos said of signing with the Rays in the offseason. “This is where I thought I’d be reporting for spring training. I was able to sign with Chicago and have spring training at home, which wasn’t the worst thing. … I got to be with the kids and stay at my own house and then be down here anyway. It worked out.”

The Chicago native looked poised to be the starting centerfielder for the White Sox, but since he was due for a roster bonus yesterday, he eventually had a feeling it was coming.

“If you’d told me a week ago, I wouldn’t be there, I’d have said you were crazy because of the way things were going,” Bourjos said.

Bourjos is known for his defensive prowess. He had a great catch in centerfield yesterday, grabbing a deep fly ball as he crashed into the wall. He made a huge impact at the plate, going 3-for-5 with a home run and three RBI.

“It felt good to get out there and play,” Bourjos said after the game. “You always want to get out there and make a good impression with your new team.”

He has played parts of seven MLB seasons with the Los Angeles Angels, St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies.

He has a lifetime .243 batting average, with a .300 on-base percentage. His best season with in 2011 with the Angels where he batted .271 with 26 doubles, 11 triples and 12 homers.

FRANKLIN BACK
Nick Franklin was scratched from Tuesday’s game because of a sore throat.

He’s apparently feeling better because he was in the lineup on Wednesday, where he went 1-for-3 with a three-run home run.

BULLPEN DAY
The Rays threw only relievers in Wednesday’s game, with each of the main five arms going one inning.

They were all solid, throwing a scoreless frame, except for closer Alex Colome, who made two mistakes the Orioles took advantage of for a pair of solo homers.

RAYS 15, ORIOLES 6

HITTER OF THE GAME
Peter Bourjos, Rays:
In his first game with the Rays, Bourjos went 3-for-5 with a single and a two-run homer. In 48 at-bats with the White Sox, Bourjos didn’t hit any homers.

PITCHER OF THE GAME
Xavier Cedeno / Erasmo Ramirez, Rays:
The two relievers each threw perfect innings – the only ones to do so for the Rays – and both had one strikeout in their frames.

KEY INNING
Bottom 6th:
The Rays scored 12 runs in the inning to break the game wide open. Bourjos’ homer started the scoring. The biggest chunks came on three-run bombs by both Nick Franklin and Shane Peterson. Michael McKenry had two doubles in the inning.

PROSPECT WATCH
Justin Marks, Rays:
Marks was notified of his cut from camp prior to the game, but went out and pitched two strong innings. He allowed just one run on no hits and a walk.

THEY SAID IT
“It’s probably the best spring I’ve ever had. Honestly. It’s funny to say. I was hitting the ball hard. It’s kind of ironic it wasn’t enough to make the team over there. I’ve had a lot worse springs and made the team. The one time I sign a minor league deal and needed to have a good spring, I went out and did it, but it wasn’t good enough.”

Rays new outfielder Peter Bourjos on his spring with the Chicago White Sox

MINNESOTA (16-13-2) at TAMPA BAY (12-16-3)

WHEN: Today, 1:05 p.m.
WHERE: Charlotte Sports Park, Port Charlotte
SCHEDULED STARTERS: RH Jake Odorizzi vs. LH Hector Santiago
PITCHING PROBABLES
RAYS: RH Jake Odorizzi (start), LH Xavier Cedeno, RH Alex Colome, RH Jaime Schultz, RH Tommy Hunter, RH Jumbo Diaz.
TWINS: LH Hector Santiago (start), relievers TBA.

FRIDAY: at Philadelphia, 1:05 p.m. SATURDAY: Off. SUNDAY:  Opening Day vs. New York (AL), 1:10 p.m. MONDAY: Off. TUESDAY: vs. New York, 7:10 p.m.

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