25,000 Rays fans (including the crack reporters from X-Rays Spex), 63 Rays players, nine coaches, Astro, 40 former major leaguers, and two MLB Network personalities attended the Rays annual Fan Fest at the Trop, Saturday, February 16th. We had a blast! One of us may have met the Rays VP Matt Silverman, while also sharing a little on camera time with Rays principal owner, Stu Sternberg.
We snapped a few photos which you can check out via the official X-Rays Spex Flickr account. We also filmed an interview with Rays starter Chris Archer and pitching coach Jim Hickey (see below). Want to share with the world a few of your photos or videos from Fan Fest? You can send them to: firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll do our darndest to put them on the site.
On to other news.
Is there a better way to usher in the first full day of workouts, than making one last Hot-Stove move? The Rays announced the signing 34 year-old LH/DH Jack Cust to a minor league contract. It’s assumed that Cust will play the back up DH role that Hideki Matsui excelled in (har har) last season.
Cust spent the majority of his career on the west coast playing for the Padres, Mariners, and Athletics. He also has experience in the AL East, playing in the Orioles, Yankees, and Blue Jays organizations. Cust owns a career .242 BA/.374 OBP/.439 SLG/.813 OPS slash line with a slight emphasis toward his natural split.
Cust was known for being a power hitter between 2007 and 2010 seasons, averaging 28 homers and 76 RBI with the Athletics. However that’s not to say he’s lost his stroke. Cust accumulated 20 homeruns for the Yankee’s AAA affiliate in 2012 before being released after 98 games.
We reported on the potential for Joel Peralta to not participate in the WBC on Friday. Rays beat writer Marc Topkin clarified things this morning, tweeting:
Rays Peralta says he’s definitely out of WBC. Concern over workload for full season, and feels behind due to neck issue
Topkin also tweeted:
We can only hope that Stu is a man of his word, and the Rays really do stay in the area (if not St. Pete). I’ll just say that sometimes the things left unsaid speak the loudest.