Per Marc Topkin, Rocco Baldelli met with Andrew Friedman this morning and came to an agreement to return to the Rays organization as a special assistant. Rocco's assignment will be to work with some of the younger players in the system. Baldelli has issues with his throwing shoulder that will not allow him to play at the present time, though he made it clear he is not retiring and would be able to serve as a designated hitter. There are no plans in the works for him to serve in that capacity with the Rays.
Baldelli was originally the 6th pick of the Rays in the 2000 draft and seemed to be fast-tracked for great things before a series of injuries and ultimately a mitochondrial disorder put his career, and to some extent his life in jeopardy. He made a triumphant return to the Rays in the 2nd half of their 2008 World Series run culminating in a home run in his final at-bat with the team in game 5. In his five seasons with Tampa Bay, Baldelli put up a slash line of .281/.325/.445. He signed with Boston last season and performed in a limited role while continuing to be injury-plagued. While this may end up as the end of the road for Rocco the player, it's wonderful to have him back in the organization and in control of his condition.