Andrew Friedman announced this morning that Rocco Baldelli has been hired by the Rays to serve as a “special assistant” and will work primarily with minor leaguers.

Baldelii will be a special assistant, working with young players. Said he is “not ready to retire” and has a shoulder issue, but has no set plans to return to field as a player…Baldelli, 28, will be a roving instructor concentrating on outfield and baserunning…“Obviously we’re thrilled to add Rocco and his experience and what he can bring to our young players,” Friedman said. “We think he’ll be a tremendous asset for us. And he looks better in blue.”

Baldelli added about the Rays organization: “I feel like this is my home.” 

Baldelli has an undisclosed shoulder ailment that may require surgery. He could DH at some point this season and Friedman did not rule out the possibility of that happening with the Rays.

Friedman said the deal was not done with the idea of having Baldelli play for the Rays in 2010, but “anything’s possible.”

Rocco hit .253-7-23 in 62 games for the Red Sox this season. There was some speculation that the Yankees were interested in his services earlier this off-season.

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7 Comments

  1. Beth says:

    Great news! Although he's from New England, I never thought he looked at home in that red cap. Welcome back, Rocco!

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  2. Charles says:

    Maybe he buried a Carlos Pena jersey under home plate at Fenway before he left.

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  3. Don says:

    He's going to concentrate on "base running".....how many stolen bases does he have...I don't remember ...I didn't see him on base that much...
    Maybe he can help CC (60 SB) or Upton(40)...well...maybe Kaplar (same age)??

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  4. Gus says:

    A class move by the organization. Glad to have Rocco back. A genuinely nice person.

    Now if Burrell is smart enough to give the "new Dimaggio" his number back, maybe the sicilian curse (courtesy of Vince Naimoli) willl be lifted off of his bat and his sore neck.

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  5. Jessica says:

    You just made my day! I'm doing the super happy dance. You know, the one with the running man!

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  6. Jim says:

    Class move by the Rays. Rocco has a lot to teach the young kids in the organization. He might not be able to teach Upton to steal don, but maybe he can teach him to be a PROFESSIONAL.

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  7. Gus says:

    Carl Crawford -- still living under the contract that was indexed to Baldelli's when they both signed long term -- very much agrees with the Prodigal Son reference, Professor. And (like the faithful son) probably a little bitter about it also. (I suspect he'll get over it when he bathes in dollar bills in Manhattan next winter).

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