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Tank: BASEBALL IS BACK!

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Sort of...not really...but it's close!

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

This Date in Team History!

In 1999, the Rays signed 40 year old journeyman, Julio Franco. He would spend most of the season in the Rays Mexican league affiliate. He'd be promoted in September and he made one plate appearance, striking out. That concluded Franco's service with the team; however he would be in the majors on-and-off astonishingly until his age 49 season. He is still playing in an extremely part-time role at the age of 57, so that means his playing career has lasted from 1978 to 2015 (37 years).

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Trivia Time!

The answer to yesterday's question was James Shields, answered by AndrewTorrez

Onto today's.

He is a solid all-around player. In addition to his plus speed, he should develop consistent extra-base power once his body fills out more completely and adds some strength. Though he's not a big home run threat, he's one of just two players in professional baseball history to hit three homers in the first three innings of a game. He pulled off that feat on May 28,, joining Carl Reynolds of the 1930 White Sox. Defensively, he has plenty of range and arm strength at second base. A gritty, hard-nosed performer.

Hint: he was never a top ten prospect, however he was a four-time top 30 prospect.

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There are 44 days until Opening Day!

That's the same number of games in which Shawn RIggans appeared during the 2008 season.

One of those games, he drilled this two run homer.

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Links!

- In Topkin's post, Desmond Jennings is healthy, Justin O'Conner is not.

- With spring training's arrival, as has 'best shape of their life' stories, which is actually true in the case of Matt Duffy's cat, Skeeter.

The 41 greatest names in Durham Bulls history, featuring a couple of former Rays.

- The Yankees were a physical away from adding their first free agent of the season, but Tommy Hunter failed his. It would cost him $10 million as he would then sign a smaller deal with Cleveland.

- A couple of former Rays found homes on minor league deals as Burke Badenhop is joining the Nationals and former all-star, Matt Joyce is joining the Pirates

- Today is the official start of the Rays' spring training, however, most players have reported and already have begun working out. We've linked some footage above and below, courtesy of Steve Kinsella, and you can check out much more, here.