Found February 13, 2013 on Fox Sports Florida:
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. This was his first day of school, the initial step on a long path, the opening line of a tale yet to be told. Right-hander Jake Odorizzi walked through the Tampa Bay Rays spring training clubhouse Wednesday morning straight to a corner stall feet from franchise face Evan Longoria and met his future. For the Kansas City Royal turned Ray, his wait, finally, was over. "It has been hectic, but it has been a good hectic," Odorizzi, 22, told about life since he was part of a six-player trade in December. "It's exciting. I'm just looking forward to getting underway. Once baseball activities start, it feels like you're more yourself. I'm just waiting to get things going and to feel at home again." He was under a new roof at Charlotte Sports Park for the first workout between pitchers and catchers in a week of renewal 67 days after Royals general manager Dayton Moore wrapped him and outfield prospect Wil Myers in a package shipped from the land of barbecue to the bay. He was part of a riverboat roll of the dice, one some in the Midwest bemoan as burning future riches for a chance to steal a winning Keno ticket now. Ask Odorizzi about such claims, though, and the soft-spoken Breese, Ill., native morphs into Opie Taylor. It's humbling to be here, he says; he has noticed that the Rays are hands-on, that they have a sound system responsible for three playoff berths since 2008 and stay true to what has made them a contender. But you wonder about what the Royals lost the consensus minor-league player of the year in Myers and a pitcher in Odorizzi who went 15-5 last season with a 3.03 ERA for Class AA Northwest Arkansas and Class AAA Omaha. You wonder about what the Rays gave up a workhorse in right-hander James Shields and a valuable reliever in right-hander Wade Davis. And the unsolved puzzle remains: Will it all be worth it? "It's kind of humbling, in a sense, because (Kansas City) needed help now in the rotation," said Odorizzi, who had a 4.91 ERA in 7.1 innings over two major-league starts last season. "To be wanted by Tampa Bay to be part of the deal everybody in that deal had to be a part of it to make it happen. So I think everybody in it should be very humbled, excited, appreciated." He's humbled, excited and appreciative to return to baseball. Odorizzi was traded before the Milwaukee Brewers sent him to Kansas City in December 2010 in a deal that brought Zack Greinke to Miller Park so he has scoped unfamiliar terrain earlier in his career. There's one lesson gained at his previous stop that he plans to unleash in the coming weeks: meet everybody fast. The approach was on display Wednesday morning, while he made intros and mined advice from veterans who had trickled into the clubhouse. Once names turn to faces, the learning curve becomes less steep. "This clubhouse is probably not like Kansas City's," left-hander Matt Moore said. "There's a lot of good energy. There's a lot of fun. I feel like there are very few guys over the age of 30 in here. He's going to fit in well with everybody." That's the goal. The baseball issues will be answered in time Will he begin in the major leagues or Class AAA? How will he work to make his game strong enough to be a consistent major-league starter? but he's trying to push through February's fog first. The process began well before Wednesday. He has worked out in the region since January, a stretch that allowed him to shake hands and chip away at his block of ice. He went on a boat with some pitchers, and he scored an invite to watch the Super Bowl with teammates at right-hander Alex Cobb's place in St. Petersburg, Fla. Small steps. Small gains. All part of a larger goal. "Just not knowing," Odorizzi said, when asked about the hardest part of his transition. "The unknown. I've always been traded in the offseason, so it hasn't been like I've had to pack my stuff up and say goodbye to my team. You start getting phone calls and you get here, and you start matching the names with the faces, and you're like, Oh yeah, I've talked to you.' Basically, you're re-drafted. You're starting over. When people talk with you, they help with the transition very easily." Transitions are flashing yellow arrows, of course, and detours can lead to a number of destinations. Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman hopes Odorizzi becomes another success story molded on the Trop's mound, someone like Moore or Cobb or left-hander David Price who can make a postseason run possible. Odorizzi will spend the spring working toward that end point in the simplest of ways pitch, pitch, pitch and pitch some more, with no thought given to what was lost to gain him. Those close by expect him to do it. "He's a smart kid," Cobb said. "I think he's got his head on right to where he knows he doesn't have to put the pressure on himself. As long as you take care of your own job, you'll be fine. He got traded for a reason. We wanted him. As long as he stays that guy, he'll be up here, and he'll be pitching well. I don't think he has to dwell too much into doing more than he has to." Good advice. Remember, each story worth retelling starts somewhere. Wednesday was Odorizzi's time to make the future now. You can follow Andrew Astleford on Twitter @aastleford or email him at

Joel Peralta suffers bizarre injury

The prize for most bizarre spring training injury is always hotly contested, but Joel Peralta's latest injury is going to be tough to top.  

Tampa Bay Rays Pitcher Joel Peralta Hurts His Neck Getting Sandwiches

  Feel free to not only add this to the list of bizarre baseball injuries over the years, but add it somewhere near the top. Yahoo Sports  is reporting that relief pitcher Joel Peralta has injured himself…getting sandwiches. Yes, you read that correctly. The story goes as so, Peralta injured his neck getting out of his Camaro while on his way to get a sandwich. Now, Peralta is...

Rays P Joel Peralta injured his neck while getting out of car on a sandwich stop

Another day, another MLB pitcher sidelined because of a bizarre injury. Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Joel Peralta is the latest victim of what is becoming a recurring theme with spring training now underway. Peralta is going to be sidelined for a short while with a neck injury, and you’ll never guess how he hurt it. Actually, you probably can guess with the way things have been going...

********** Camaro: Rays pitcher Joel Peralta injures himself getting out of his car

Baseball players, definitely more so than any other group of professional athletes, seem to injure themselves in the most bizarre ways imaginable. The list of incomprehensible injuries is literally almost too long to tackle here (although SI has compiled a fantastic rundown of some prime examples for those interested), but Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Joel Peralta, thanks to his peculiar...

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Joel Peralta injured his neck getting out his car to buy sandwiches

For some odd reason, Tampa Bay Rays pitchers seem to get hurt in the weirdest way possible during Spring Training. And these aren’t normal injuries to say an arm or leg. These injuries always happen to the player’s neck. Last year it was David Price having to leave a Spring Training start because he hurt his neck toweling off too hard. And now, Joel Peralta has injured his neck...

Rays Reliever Joel Peralta Hurts Neck While Getting Out of Car to Get Sandwiches

You’re off the hook, Francisco Liriano. Tampa Bay’s Joel Peralta has officially taken over the mantle of strangest preseason injury. The Rays reliever, who is currently in spring training with the team in St. Petersburg, Fla., apparently hurt his neck while getting out of his car to get sandwiches. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times chronicled the events, reporting that Peralta...

Rays pitcher Joel Peralta injures himself while stopping for sandwiches

Baseball players have a reputation of suffering some bizarre injuries. Unfortunate slips in the shower, harmful sneezes, and failed attempts at scaring one's own kids are just some of the more memorable ones. And now can add the weird circumstance involving Tampa Bay Rays reliever Joel Peralta to that list, too.The right-hander reportedly hurt his neck on Tuesday morning while...

Joe Maddon confident heading into spring

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. The Tampa Bay Rays brain trust sat side by side under a clear sky, a frenetic offseason behind them, this day of fresh starts a reminder of the expectations to come. The phrase is worn but appropriate for the men steering one of the American League Easts most efficient franchises: The more things change, the more they stay the same for manager Joe Maddon and...

Rays Pitcher Peralta Injures Neck Grabbing Sandwich

So...after seeing this, we just kind of felt obligated to pass it on, mostly because it's funny. Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Joel Peralta has now, in the 1st week of Spring Training, had the worst Spring Training of anybody. Why you ask? Because Peralta apparently hurt his neck Wednesday getting out of his Camaro to pick up a sandwich at the "Cuban Taste" restaurant...

Rays trade infielder Brignac to the Rockies

The Tampa Bay Rays today announced they have traded infielder Reid Brignac to the Colorado Rockies. In return Tampa Bay, will get a player to be named or cash considerations per the team’s release. Brignac, 27, was designated for assignment back on February 5th. He only appeared in 16 games last season with the Rays and hit .095. The post Rays trade infielder...

Rays need Cobb to evolve with Shields gone

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. Alex Cobb has heard the buzzwords. They fall from lips like snowflakes, the armchair analysis varying in appearance but each line offering the same cold message. Tampa Bay Rays pitchers must do more without right-hander James Shields. Each member of the rotation must pick up more innings. Each must become a larger clubhouse presence. Each must embrace a...

Fernando Rodney downplays contract talk

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. For now, it appears there have been no talks about an extension for Tampa Bay Rays closer Fernando Rodney. However, the right-hander would be open to such discussions at some point in the future. Rodney, 35, on Wednesday refuted a quote attributed to him late last month in El Dia, a Dominican Republic newspaper, that said he was close to signing a two-year...

Elliot Johnson Acquired By Royals

SURPRISE, AZ (February 12, 2013) – The Kansas City Royals today announced that infielder/outfielder Elliot Johnson was acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays as the player to be named in the December 9, 2012 trade that also sent right-handed pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis to the Royals. Johnson, who will turn 29 on March 9, was placed on the Royals 40-man roster while...
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