Countdown to Spring Training: Day 42
The Tampa Bay Rays have invited two more players with Major League experience to Spring Training, agreeing to Minor League contracts with outfielder Justin Christian and catcher Eddy Rodriguez.
Christian has seen time in the Majors with the Yankees and Giants, while Rodriguez played two games for the Padres in 2012. Tampa Bay has not officially announced either deal.
Christian, 33, has played parts of three seasons in the Majors. He broke into The Show with the Yankees in 2008, hitting .250/.302/.325 in 24 games. He made it back to the Majors with the Giants in 2011 and '12, posting a combined .184/.236/.243 batting line in 52 games over two seasons.
A right-handed hitter who can play all three outfield positions, Christian spent last year with the Cardinals' Triple-A Memphis affiliate and hit .270/.332/.353 with three homers, 29 RBIs and 14 stolen bases in 107 games. He has put together strong career numbers at the Triple-A level, including a .301 average, .362 on-base percentage and a .431 slugging percentage with 129 steals.
Rodriguez, 28, had been with the Padres organization since 2011. The right-handed hitter, a University of Miami product, hit a home run in his first Major League at-bat during his brief big league stint in 2012. He split last year between Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A Tucson, batting a combined .231/.271/.374 with six homers and 36 RBIs in 83 games.
Last spring, Padres manager Bud Black described Rodriguez as "a good, fundamentally sound catcher" who "understands the pitcher-catcher relationship" and "still has a desire to be a Major League player."
The Rays previously announced nine non-roster invitees: catcher Roman Ali Solis, infieldersJayson NixandRay Olmedo, outfieldersJames Darnelland Jerry Sands and pitchers Santiago Garrido,Mark Lowe,Victor MateoandSam Runion.
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