ST. PETERSBURG -- The Blue Jays claimed catcher Luke Maile, who was designated for assignment by the Rays on Sunday.The 26-year-old catcher will report to Triple-A Buffalo. Had the Blue Jays not claimed him, Maile likely would have returned to the Rays' farm system for 2017.During a telephone interview Thursday
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Blue Jays claimed catcher Luke Maile, who was designated for assignment by the Rays on Sunday.
The 26-year-old catcher will report to Triple-A Buffalo. Had the Blue Jays not claimed him, Maile likely would have returned to the Rays' farm system for 2017.
During a telephone interview Thursday afternoon, Maile sounded excited about his new opportunity.
"Anytime you get a chance to have a fresh start, you can use it to your benefit," Maile said. "It's like a clean slate. It feels like a new challenge. All those good things.
"Obviously, I really don't know exactly what's going on with the organization, since it's my first time being with them. But I'm excited about Toronto and I can't wait to check them out and see for myself. I'm ready to go."
Maile hit .371 with four RBIs this spring. Last season, the Rays recalled him from Triple-A Durham over the All-Star break, and he started 35 of the team's final 74 games. He threw out seven of 25 attempted basestealers (28 percent), the best rate ever by a Rays rookie backstop. He hit .227 with three home runs and 15 RBIs.
The Rays selected Maile in the the eighth round of the 2012 Draft. The catcher had nothing but good things to say about the organization.
"I had a great time with the Rays," Maile said. "I really did. There are so many great people that will have a special place in my heart for the rest of my life. It's unfortunate that it didn't quite work out the way I'd hoped. I've got a lot of good relationships with a lot of good people, and I won't forget it. And I wish them all the best."
Rays manager Kevin Cash said that he and the organization wished "the best of luck" to Maile.
"I think we all just have the utmost respect for him, the way he worked," Cash said. "The way he really, really took to the catching aspect and the pitcher relationship. I think the world of him and I hope the best for him and wish him the best."
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.