ST. PETERSBURG -- Taylor Guerrieri, Tampa Bay's first-round pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, will make his professional debut this year with Class-A Hudson Valley.
The Rays released the roster for the Hudson Valley Renegades on Thursday, and Guerrieri headlines the group of recent Draft picks. Catcher Justin O'Conner, a first-round pick in the 2010 Draft, will join Guerrieri after spending 2010 in the Gulf Coast League and 2011 with the rookie-level Princeton Rays. Right-hander Jeff Ames, one of the Rays' seven compensation-round picks in 2011, is also slated to start the season with Hudson Valley on June 18.
The following signees from this year's Draft class will also be on manager Jared Sandberg's club: outfielder Marty Gantt, catcher Luke Maile, left-hander and Tampa native Sean Bierman, right-hander Dylan Floro, infielder Thomas Coyle, infielder Ryan Dunn, catcher Michael Williams (now listed as an infielder), right-hander Ryan Garton and right-hander Rob Finneran.
Ames and Shay Crawford, a 24-year-old left-hander taken in the 24th round, will represent the 2011 Draft class in Hudson Valley. Joining O'Conner from the 2010 Draft class will be right-handers Ian Kendall and Jesse Hahn, lefties Brandon Henderson and Matthew Spann, catcher Jake DePew and outfielder Deshun Dixon.
Longo, Keppinger set for rehab assignments
ST. PETERSBURG -- While the Rays stay at Tropicana Field for a three-game series against the Marlins beginning Friday night, third baseman Evan Longoria and infielder Jeff Keppinger will join Triple-A Durham to begin rehab assignments.
Longoria (partially torn left hamstring) will use Friday as a workout day while Keppinger (broken big right toe) serves as the Bulls' designated hitter. On Saturday, Keppinger will play the field and Longoria will be Durham's DH.
Both players ran the bases before Thursday's 9-6 loss to the Mets. Manager Joe Maddon said he was pleased with the progress they're making but has no timetable for their return.
"Just conversationally, I was encouraged, too. They're not far off," Maddon said. "Just to maintain our position within the standings, and we have been able to, when all these guys start to get well and people start getting back to where they're supposed to play and playing as often as they should, I think we'll get nice and toasty at that point."
Longoria has been out since May 1, and the Rays have managed to go 20-20 without their All-Star third baseman. Maddon said Longoria will get the extra workout day Friday simply because he ran Thursday, and if both he and Keppinger were on the field Friday, one would have to play defense right away.
"With his injury, it's a little bit more difficult than Keppinger's," Maddon said. "Having them both in the same spot, we thought it'd be OK to start it that way."
Rays put Scott on DL, but DH feels on track
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays placed designated hitter Luke Scott on the 15-day disabled list Thursday, retroactive to Saturday, with mid-back spasms.
The Rays will announce a corresponding roster move Friday before starting a three-game series with the Marlins at Tropicana Field, but Scott expects he'll come off the disabled list as soon as he's eligible.
"I'm on the right track. I'm getting better. It's just something that takes time," he said. "You've got to let it kind of play through. If I was to go ahead and try to swing with a spazzed muscle, you could get set back even more."
The story behind Scott's injury, which has kept him off the field since a pinch-hitting appearance against the Marlins on Friday night, is not exactly a common one. The DH said the Rays' beds in Miami were a bit too soft, causing a run of stiff necks and sore backs throughout the team.
So, as Scott was preparing to pinch-hit, he strapped a heating pack around his sore lower back and headed to the batting cage to take some swings. The pack restricted his usual movement, shifting his rotation up from his lower back and causing him to turn in an unusual way. He felt fine during his at-bat, but not so much the next morning.
"It locked up," Scott said Thursday. "I couldn't bend over to tie my shoes the next two days. ... I didn't think anything negative was going to happen. But I learned that lesson."
Scott said he has been feeling better each day since then, and a doctor told him he could be game-ready Sunday if everything goes well when he hits off a tee Saturday. He should be ready to come back at full-strength Tuesday, leaving five extra days between that and the day he's eligible to come off the disabled list.
Scott didn't know if that plan involves a Minor League rehab assignment, saying that decision will be made by the Rays training staff, manager Joe Maddon and executive vice president Andrew Friedman.
"It's been a tough situation. It's gotten much better," Scott said. "Today has been the best day so far, and I've seen gradual improvement every day. We still have a timetable. We have a rehab plan and everything all set up."
Rays third-base coach Tom Foley missed Thursday's game due to a personal matter and will return Friday against the Marlins. With Foley out, first-base coach George Hendrick moved to third and Minor League catching coordinator Jamie Nelson filled in at first.
Entering Thursday's game, the Rays had given up 117 of their 253 runs allowed this season with two outs, the highest percentage in the Majors.
Wednesday night's Rays Broadcast Auction plus ticket sales for manager Joe Maddon's Summer Social raised approximately $80,000 for the Rays Baseball Foundation, with some funds going to the Tampa General Hospital's Children's Medical Center.
Sean Rodriguez, Alex Cobb and Sam Fuld will attend the Third Annual Lunch with the Rays Fundraiser at the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Suncoast in Pinellas Park, Fla., on Friday.