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Shane Peterson Makes Strong Impression in Rays Debut

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Apr 14, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Shane Peterson (2) rounds the bases after hitting a two run home run during the second inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 14, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Shane Peterson (2) rounds the bases after hitting a two run home run during the second inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
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Shane Peterson may not have a long stay with the Tampa Bay Rays, but he made quite the impression yesterday.

In a number of ways, Shane Peterson is the perfect example of minor league depth. He has bee a solid minor league player, with a lifetime .287/.377/.433 batting line, hitting 69 homers and stealing 89 bases in his decade as a professional. Peterson has played all three outfield positions, as well as appearing at first, extensively during that time. He has been the type of player that every team likes at AAA, a veteran player who can do all the little things right and help mentor upcoming prospects.

And yet, minor league depth is really what Peterson has been. Despite that time in the minors, he had all of 95 career games in the Majors prior to last night. 93 of those games came with the Brewers back in 2015, when he posted a .259/.324/.353 batting line, hitting two home runs and seven doubles. At best, Peterson looked like a fourth or fifth outfielder, but not much else.

As he made his debut with the Rays yesterday, virtually nothing was expected from him. Instead, he made quite the impression, going 2-5 with a home run and three RBI. His home run, a two run shot, came in his first at bat with the Rays, providing the first runs of the game. He later added an RBI single in the seventh to extend the lead to 7-1.

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Despite how good of a debut Peterson had, his time with the Rays is still likely to be short, at least on the Major League level. Colby Rasmus will resume his rehab assignment shortly, and when he is eligible to return, Peterson is likely to head back to Durham, once again resuming his role as minor league depth.

However, if he continues to perform well in his brief stint in Tampa Bay, he may well return this season. His defensive versatility, where he can be an option anywhere in the outfield and at first, certainly adds to his value to the Rays organization. Should another injury occur, or Mallex Smith struggles at AAA, the Rays may have a new fourth outfielder, albeit one that nothing was expected from at the start of the season.

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Shane Peterson was not a player that garnered a lot of attention with the Tampa Bay Rays signed him to a minor league contract this offseason. Well, he certainly got our notice with his impressive debut.

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