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Rocco Baldelli stops coaching to begin comeback at Single-A

Jul 19, 2010, 2:45 PM EDT

Rocco Baldelli played reasonably well as a backup outfielder for the Red Sox last season, but after struggling with a shoulder injury in the second half he decided to spend the first half of this season as a “special assistant” for the Rays. That role involved mostly coaching minor leaguers, but now Baldelli is ready to join them on the field.
Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times reports that he’s officially signed a minor-league contract with the Rays and will be in the lineup at high Single-A tonight as a designated hitter. In addition to Baldelli the Rays’ high Single-A team also includes former No. 1 overall picks Tim Beckham and Matt Bush.
Of course, assuming he looks to be in decent playing shape and avoids more health problems Baldelli may not stay at Single-A very long. Topkin speculates that he could be promoted to Double-A or Triple-A within 2-3 weeks as the Rays evaluate him as a possible part-time outfielder for the stretch run and playoffs. He’d need to be added to the roster by August 31 to be postseason eligible.
Despite seemingly being around forever and having his career stalled numerous times by health problems Baldelli is still just 28 years old and has hit .257/.323/.448 in 254 plate appearances over the past two years.

  1. scatterbrian - Jul 19, 2010 at 3:14 PM

    Awesome. Hard not to root for Baldelli.

  2. Jonny5 - Jul 19, 2010 at 3:19 PM

    Not only do I like this guy, but I so wish I had a name as cool as his is.

  3. .fanball58 - Jul 19, 2010 at 4:54 PM

    Great news about Rocco? I hope he can play first, I’d love to see him in the lineup instead of “Mr. way over paid to be batting .213” Carlos Pena.

  4. Ick McWang - Jul 20, 2010 at 12:48 AM

    baldelli doesn’t play first, he plays outfield if at all, and is pretty much a Dh or late inning defensive replacement.
    if he can give the Rays what he gave them in 08, or even what he gave the sox in limited playing time in 09, why not give him a whirl, its not like he has to clear waivers
    of any player in recent memory, i’d love to see him pull a Kirk Gibson.

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