Rays place Reid Brignac on bereavement, add Felipe Lopez

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Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times passes along word that the Rays have placed shortstop Reid Brignac on the bereavement list and selected the contract of Felipe Lopez from Triple-A Durham.

Brignac lost his grandfather Saturday and is expected to miss four games to attend the funeral.

Lopez was designated for assignment in early May then outrighted to Triple-A Durham after batting just .222/.263/.347 with only five extra-base hits in 76 plate appearances. He also drew the ire of Rays manager Joe Maddon at one point for not hustling.

Brignac was named the Rays’ starting shortstop after a strong defensive showing at spring training, but he has hit just .170 with a brutal .370 OPS in 35 games since the start of the regular season. Elliot Johnson has begun seeing much more playing time recently and will fill in at shortstop for however long Brignac needs.

There is, indeed, an MLB-to-Portland group

Associated Press
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On Monday, Baseball America reported that MLB is prepared to expand to Portland and Montreal. We talked about that at length yesterday. One of the most common responses to that piece has been “Portland? Really?”

There’s good reason for that response. Baseball-to-Portland has been talked about for years, but there has never been any real traction. Past initiatives have failed, significant public funding for a stadium seems to be a political impossibility and, heck, Portland wasn’t even interested in keeping its Triple-A team, turning its stadium into a much more successful soccer venue and not missing the Beavers all that much.

It would seem, however, that the reports are not mere speculation and there is a genuine baseball-to-Portland initiative afoot once again. From the Oregonian:

On Tuesday, former Trail Blazers broadcaster Mike Barrett confirmed to The Oregonian/OregonLive that he is part of the Portland group.

“I am officially involved with a campaign to bring Major League Baseball and a stadium development to Portland,” Barrett said. “There is also a formally organized, sophisticated and seasoned management group running this initiative. We will keep you fully apprised of any/all developments as this project progresses.”

One guy — a broadcaster no less — saying he’s part of a group is not exactly a major needle-mover, of course. But it does contrast with past Portland initiatives that have been well-publicized grassroots affairs. While those may have been more broad-based and while their public nature may have provided some refreshing transparency, the simple fact of professional sports ownership in the 21st century is that well-monied groups who play things close to the vest are more likely to make waves. We’re in an age when technocratic hedge fund-type guys make things happen in this arena, not in an age when flamboyant public personalities do.

None of which is to say that baseball in Portland is a lock or that expansion anywhere is a short term proposition. It’s just to note that, yeah, there is a bit more going on, it seems, than just pointing at a map and saying “yeah, a team would make sense here.”