Denard Span hired to Rays baseball operations department

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Former major leaguer Denard Span was hired by the Tampa Bay Rays as a special assistant in baseball operations.

Span, 36, batted .281 with 71 homers and 490 RBIs over 11 seasons with the Rays, Minnesota Twins, Washington Nationals, San Francisco Giants and Seattle Mariners.

The Tampa native appeared in 43 games with the Rays in 2018, hitting .238 with four homers and 28 RBIs before finishing his final season with the Mariners.

The AL champions also hired Allison DeKuiper as assistant in performance science, Rigo De Los Santos as Dominican Republic regional crosschecker and area scout, Carlos Herazo as pro scout, Jonah McElwee as major league food services assistant and Isha Rahman as assistant in minor league operations.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.