The Tampa Bay Rays announced today that they will bring back two Durham Bulls players from last year, and they also confirmed their signing of C Hector Gimenez from last week.
In addition to Gimenez, the Rays will be bringing back OFs Chris Richard and Jon Weber. Both players were in the Rays' organization last year, though Weber didn't arrive until mid-July. Both are consummate minor league veteran-type players, with Weber having never reached the major leagues at the age of 29, while Richard hasn't sniffed the majors since 2003. Richard provided an offensive lift in the middle of the Bulls' prospect-packed lineup last year, hitting .284/.384/.488 in 342 at bats as Durham advanced to the championship series of the International League. It was Richard's first season in the Rays organization; he owns a .280/.367/.476 batting line in just over 900 games of minor league experience. He has 880 major league at bats to speak of, all but 43 of which have come with the Baltimore Orioles. He has also played major league games with the St. Louis Cardinals and Colorado Rockies. Altogether, the 19th round pick in the 1995 amateur draft has a .258/.324/.452 major league line.
On the other hand, Weber has no major league experience and a .285/.360/.451 career minor league line. An undrafted free agent signed by Cincinnati in 1999, Weber has since gone on to play for the Oakland, Los Angeles, Arizona, Texas, and Tampa Bay organizations, in addition to a three year period between 2001-03 in which he played independent league baseball. Weber hit .265/.360/.397 last season in 136 ABs for Durham.