Rays Notes: Longoria, Keppinger, Scott, Riefenhauser, Draft Signings, NDFA

By Robbie Knopf

They’re finally getting ready to come back. The more time passes, the more we realize how much the Rays need Evan Longoria. Jeff Keppinger, a little less so, but he’s still a nice complementary piece. Both are about to start rehab assignments. As 620WDAE reported, Kepp will DH while Longoria works out on Friday, and then on Saturday, Kepp will play the field and Longo will DH. No word on exactly how long the rehab assignments will be, but they’ll actually be playing games for the first time in way too long, and before we know it, they’ll be back. Can’t wait for that!

Unfortunately, the Rays will see another key hitter go on the DL- but it’s a lot better than it could have been. Luke Scott has been placed on the DL with a stiff back but retroactive to Saturday so he’ll be able to come back in a little over a week on June 24th, and that appears to be the case. The Rays will have an extra roster spot to play with until then, although they have not made a move yet. Whoever it is will hopefully be up for the just a few days before Keppinger or Longo heads to the big league roster.

Big news in the Rays’ organization is that lefty C.J. Riefenhauser at High-A Charlotte will get the start for the Southern Division in this year’s Florida State League All-Star Game. Riefenhauser, a 20th round draft pick by the Rays in 2010, is 6-2 on the season with a 2.98 ERA, an 11.5 K/9, a 2.7 BB/9, and a 0.8 HR/9 in 6 starts, 9 relief appearances, and 57.1 IP. He has turned in an impressive season and it’s nice to see him be recognized.

On the draft signings front, you can add two to the list in infielders Ryan Dunn, a shortstop, and Daniel Duran, a third baseman. Dunn is an interesting middle infield prospect in that he lacks elite speed but possessing some solid power. Duran, meanwhile, had a ridiculous season in Division II in 2012 and the Rays are going to have to see just how good he really is. Duran is an international student from Ecuador, so his signing isn’t official just yet pending a transfer from a student visa to a work visa. Counting Duran, the Rays have now signed 27 of their 40 picks and for scouting reports and more on every Rays draft pick in this year’s draft, please check out our RCG Rays 2012 Draft Profiles page.

And we close with another non-drafted free agent, catcher Patrick Reardon. Reardon, who will report to Short Season-A Hudson Valley, is a very interesting story. Reardon, 24, graduated from the Division III Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2010 and finished his career was a bang, posting a .385/.517/.659 line with 14 doubles, 7 homers, and 32 RBI in 40 games. He threw out 26% of attempted basestealers as well. Reardon went undrafted in the 2010 MLB Draft and failed a tryout with the Atlanta Braves. He tried to catch on the an independent team in 2011 but was cut by the Newark Bears and others. But after working out for the Rays, they decided to give him a shot. Reardon has the size, being 6’3″, 225, and the Rays have to love his character considering that he’s refused to give up despite all the rejection he has faced trying to get his baseball career going. The odds will be long for Reardon, but after everything he has gone through, we can’t completely discount him just yet.