Tag:Rocco Baldelli
Posted on: January 26, 2011 9:58 am
Edited on: January 26, 2011 10:02 am

Rocco Baldelli retiring

BaldelliAt just 29 years, Rocco Baldelli has opted to retire, reports the St. Petersburg Times.

"I don't anticipate ever playing baseball again. I'm retired. The paperwork will be filed," Baldelli said, bringing a close to a seven-year career that began with so much promise. "And you know what. The only time I feel like it's good to retire is when you're happy to retire. And I'm happy."

Baldelli burst on the scene in 2003 by finishing third in the Rookie of the Year voting as a 21-year-old. The Rhode Island native hit .289/.326/.416 in 684 plate appearances, cranking 11 home runs. While his first injury would limit him to 565 PA in 2004, he finished with a .280/.326/.436 line with 16 home runs. He was the apple of the then-Devil Rays' eye.

But those two years would be the last he would appear in 100 games. He missed 2005 with injuries that turned into the revelation he had channelopathy, causing fatigue -- not a good thing for an athlete to have.

"I don't regret anything," Baldelli said. "You know what's sad is that I love to play, and I really didn't get a chance to do it as much as I wanted to," Baldelli said.

"But I don't live angrily; I live kind of happy. Why would I look at the negative aspects of everything that I've been through and live the rest of my life talking about those things that aren't the important things to me? The important things to me were all the wonderful things I got to do."

Baldelli looked to be gaining the upper hand in his return to the game in 2006, posting a .302/.339/.533 line in 387 PA with 16 homers, but appeared in just 35 games in 2007 and 28 in 2008. However, he was able to be on the field during the 2008 postseason, hitting two big home runs and contributing a single in the fifth inning in Game 7 of the ALCS against the Red Sox to push the Rays to the World Series.

Baldelli went to the Red Sox for the 2009 season, making 164 plate appearances, but also struggling to stay on the field even as a backup outfielder. He rejoined the Rays and worked in their front office, making a late-season appearance and homering in his first at-bat. Despite just 25 plate appearances under his belt, Baldelli made the postseason roster but was forced to withdraw after the first game due to his body failing him again.

"It's tough, because you almost never put playing and being an athlete behind you," Baldelli said. "But in my mind, I already feel like it's a step behind me."

Baldelli will now join the Rays' front office as a special adviser, working in scouting and player development. He finishes his playing career with a .287/.333/.443 line in 2,065 plate appearances, bashing 60 home runs.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: October 7, 2010 12:28 pm

Rays lineup; Baldelli off roster

Many around baseball were smiling to see Rocco Baldelli in the Rays' lineup Wednesday -- the guy has been through a lot, and he's a great story and a good guy.

Well, Baldelli's postseason stint was short-lived, as the Rays took him off the roster for medical reasons. He's suffering "left leg fatigue" as a result of his mitochondrial disorder that causes muscle weakness. Willy Aybar, starting at DH today, replaces Baldelli on the roster. Baldelli must sit out the next series but would be eligible for the World Series.

Here's today's lineup. Check back for a complete matchup report on the game.

Jason Bartlett SS
B.J. Upton CF
Carl Crawford LF
Evan Longoria 3B
Ben Zobrist 1B
Willy Aybar DH
Kelly Shoppach C
Sean Rodriguez 2B
Desmond Jennings RF
James Shields RHP

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 7, 2010 1:17 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 12:05 pm

Rays test their bench

Joe Maddon How about this for a record you didn't know existed?

Monday night the Rays tied a major-league record by using six pinch hitters in one inning. It was the ninth time that's happened -- and the seventh in September, when rosters expand.

Joe Maddon did it in the seventh inning of Monday's game in Boston because his team was being blown out and wanted to give his regulars some rest and get his bench players some at-bats.

"They all looked good up there. We like our depth, we like our bench," Maddon told the St. Petersburg Times ' Marc Topkin . "I want to keep them sharp, I've got to get them out there. Hopefully as we proceed and hopefully make the playoffs we're going to have to make a lot of tough decisions regarding who those 25 people are going to be, so these guys have got to play. If they're going to contribute the rest of this month they just can't sit on the bench."

How'd it work? Well enough for six pinch hitters to get to bat -- as well as three starters -- who accounted for two of the three outs. None of the starters got a hit, with Carlos Pena walking. The pinch hitters went 3 for 4 with two walks, scoring all three runs in the inning.

Here's how it went down:

The Red Sox started the inning with Robert Coello replacing starter Jon Lester.

Dan Johnson, batting for Ben Zobrist, singled to center.

Kelly Shoppach flied out to center.

Matt Joyce, batting for B.J. Upton, singled to right.

Willy Aybar, batting for Jason Bartlett, singled to center, loading the bases.

Brad Hawpe, batting for Carl Crawford, walked, scoring a run.

Desmond Jennings, batting for Evan Longoria, walked, scoring a run.

The Red Sox pulled Coello and put in Dustin Richardson.

Carlos Pena walked, scoring a run.

Out goes Richardson, in comes Scott Atchison.

Reid Brignac, batting for Sean Rodrgiuez, pops out to first.

Rico Baldelli flied out to end the inning.

The last team to use six pinch hitters in an inning was the Mariners in 2007 and the last two do it in a non-September game was the Expos in May of 1970.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: September 7, 2010 11:09 am
Edited on: September 7, 2010 11:31 am

Baldelli hopes to continue

Rocco Baldelli Rocco Baldelli returned to the Rays this weekend with a homer and hopes to continue playing beyond this season.

"I like playing; I don't know what else I would do," Baldelli told the New York Times . "I have some ideas. What I did earlier this year was definitely pretty nice, but there's nothing better than playing. Coming out here every day, it's something that I've done the last 10 years of my life and it's not something i'm going to let go of easily."

Baldelli, 28, spent spring training as a coach for the Rays, but returned to playing in July.

After homering as a pinch-hitter in his first plate appearaence back on Sunday, Baldelli started at designated hitter Monday and was hitless in four at-bats.

Baldelli is a career .279/.323/.445 hitter, but has been plagued by injuries throughout his career. He played last season for the Red Sox, but hasn't had more than 200 plate appearances since 2006, just his third season in the big leagues.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 5, 2010 4:58 pm
Edited on: September 5, 2010 5:59 pm

Baldelli homers in return to Rays

Rocco Baldelli Welcome back Rocco.

Rocco Baldelli returned to the Rays on Sunday and hit a two-run homer in his first swing since being called up on Wednesday.

Baldelli pinch-hit for Matt Joyce in the seventh and blasted Michael Gonzalez's pitch into the seats in left field at Camden Yards, to pull the Rays to within a run, 8-7. He stayed in the game to play right field. He didn't get another at-bat in the loss.

Baldelli played for the Red Sox in 2009, but returned to the Rays as as minor league coach in 2010. In July, Baldelli, who has struggled throughout his career with multiple injuries and medical issues, returned to the playing field. At Class A Charlotte (Fla.) and Triple-A Durham, Baldelli hit .278/.295/.422 with two home runs and 14 RBI in 23 games. He was called up to Tampa when rosters expanded on Sept. 1.

Baldelli was the Rays' first-round pick in 2000 and made his debut in 2003. He was the team's first home-grown star, but injuries plagued his tenure in Tampa.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Category: MLB
Posted on: August 13, 2010 2:08 am
Edited on: August 13, 2010 2:18 am

Baldelli moving to Triple-A

Rocco Baldelli's transformation from minor-league coach to major-league comeback is taking another step, as the former Rays phenom is headed to Triple-A.

The St. Petersburg Times reports that Baldelli will go from Class A Charlotte to Triple-A Durham, with an eye on returning to the major-league club soon. He batted .283 for Charlotte in 12 games.

Baldelli, still just 28, was one of baseball's brightest prospects before his career was derailed by a mysterious ailment, eventually diagnosed as mitochondrial abnormalities, that left him fatigued. He started this season as a special assistant and coach before beginning his comeback. The Rays hope he can be a DH, pinch-hitter and reserve outfielder down the stretch.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: July 19, 2010 2:21 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2010 3:55 pm

Rays sign Baldelli

Rocco Baldelli The Rays have reached into their own front office to try to bolster their lineup, announcing the signing of Rocco Baldelli to a minor-league contract.

Baldelli, who had been serving as a special assistant, will DH for the Class A Charlotte Stone Crabs tonight, according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times .

Baldelli, 28, played for the Red Sox last season, hitting .253/.311/.433 in 62 games, but missed the postseason because of a shoulder injury.

This spring, Baldelli was a roving instructor for the Rays. The team will need to make a decision on his ability to help them by Aug. 31, when he'd have to be on the roster to be eligible for the postseason.

Baldelli's once-promising career was sidelined by a series of injuries and finally being diagnosed with mitochondrial abnormalities and then that diagnosis was changed before last season to a form of channelopathy, a more treatable disorder.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
Posted on: June 10, 2010 8:25 pm
Edited on: June 10, 2010 10:06 pm

He needs a T-O, Bay-bee! Vitale hit by line drive

ESPN yeller Dick Vitale was hit by a foul ball sitting in his normal front-row seat at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, the Associated Press reports .

Vitale, a season-ticket holder for the Rays, was hit in the stomach area by a foul off the bat of Blue Jays leadoff man Fred Lewis, but appeared to be fine after the incident, talking to fans seated around him.

UPDATE: Vitale told the St. Petersburg Times he was fine, "It was scary -- it was a bullet. I've been here for 11 years, never had a line drive come to me. Maybe a popup. I don’t know how that happened."

Vitale said he got a call from the ESPN Baseball Tonight set and also got singed balls by both teams' managers, Cito Gaston and Joe Maddon, as well as Rays special assistant Rocco Baldelli.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter. 

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