Rocco Baldelli to announce his retirement today

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From Marc Topkin at the St. Pete Times:

Rocco Baldelli would have reason to spend hours, if not days, lamenting how his once promising baseball career was cut short by injury and a mysterious illness.

He won’t do that, because that’s not his nature. Plus, he’s too busy embracing the next phase of his life.

Baldelli, 29, is expected to officially announce his retirement as a player today, as well as his new assignment as a special adviser in the Rays’ front office, working in scouting and player development.

Baldelli’s career was once quite promising. He came up as a 21-year-old in 2003 and showed himself to be a pretty well-rounded player. A little pop, a little speed and a glove that looked like it could stick in center field. But then he faltered and later he was diagnosed with a mitochondrial disorder that never allowed him to get right.  After a trip to Boston in 2009 and then a return to the Rays last year, he spent most of last season in a front office job before playing ten games at the end of the season.  His last action came when he was inexplicably given the start against Cliff Lee in Game 1 of the ALDS back in October. He went 0 for 3 and was deactivated after the game.

It’s sad to see his playing days end, but it sounds as if he’s prepared for that and is ready to move on with his life in baseball, working in the Rays player development department.

Good luck, Rocco.

Rays moving spring camp due to damage caused by hurricane

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Tampa Bay Rays are relocating their spring base for 2023 due to extensive damage to team training facilities caused by Hurricane Ian.

The Rays have trained since 2009 in Port Charlotte, Florida, about 90 minutes south of St. Petersburg, and intend to explore several options before making a decision on where to hold spring training and play Grapefruit League games when camp opens.

The team and Charlotte County released a joint statement Thursday, saying damage to Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte can’t be repaired in time to host games this winter.

“Charlotte County supports the Rays efforts to secure alternative accommodations for 2023 spring training,” the statement said.

“We are all disappointed for the residents of Charlotte County and the fans there. The community is in the thoughts and hearts of the Rays, and the team will continue to support recovery efforts,” the statement added. “The Rays and Charlotte County intend to develop a restoration plan for Charlotte Sports Park in the coming weeks.”