Rays ink minor league deals with Shelley Duncan, Jamey Wright and Juan Carlos Oviedo

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays have agreed to minor league contracts with outfielder Shelley Duncan and right-handed pitchers Jamey Wright and Juan Carlos Oviedo.

Duncan batted just .203/.288/.388 in 264 plate appearances last season with the Indians. The 33-year-old does have some power but seems highly doubtful to crack the Rays’ Opening Day roster.

Wright, on the other hand, could find a spot in middle relief. He posted a 3.72 ERA (aided by an impressive 67.3% groundball rate) in 67 2/3 innings last summer with the Dodgers. The 38-year-old faced a total of 306 batters in 2012 and allowed only two home runs.

Oviedo — formerly known as Leo Nunez — underwent Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery last September and is not expected to be fully recovered from that procedure until the very end of the 2013 campaign. His particular minor league deal includes a club option for the 2014 season.

Marlins home run sculpture is going, going, gone!

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Not long after the new ownership group bought the Miami Marlins, face of the franchise Derek Jeter made it clear that he wanted the home runs sculpture beyond the outfield fence gone. He simply doesn’t like it aesthetically and many think that, among Jeter’s goals, he’d like to erase any trace of Jeff Loria’s legacy, which includes the sculpture.

The problem: the sculpture is not Jeter’s to remove. The sculpture is public property, purchased as part of the Art in Public Places program, which requires art to be installed for the public in county-owned buildings, which includes Marlins Park. Miami-Dade officials have said that moving it was not possible as the sculpture was “not moveable” and was “permanently installed: as it was designed specifically for Marlins Park. And that’s before you get into how logistically complicated it would be to move it. It’s seven stories tall and is connected to a hydraulic system, plumbing and there’s electricity.

What Jeter wants, however, Jeter eventually gets. From the Miami Herald:

The Miami Marlins won county permission on Tuesday to move its home-run sculpture out of Marlins Park to the plaza outside . . . In its new location outside, “Homer” will still turn on for home runs, as well as at the end of every home win and every day at 3:05 p.m., an homage to Miami’s original area code.

It may or may not be moved before Opening Day, but once it is moved there will be a new seating and standing room only area for spectators where the sculpture currently sits.