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Rays invite Bonifacio, four other NRIs to camp

January 28, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays made it clear that adding depth to the organization was a priority this offseason. On Monday, the club announced it has invited five more players to big league camp.Of the five players added, Emilio Bonifacio is the only position player on the list. Bonifacio has

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays made it clear that adding depth to the organization was a priority this offseason. On Monday, the club announced it has invited five more players to big league camp.
Of the five players added, Emilio Bonifacio is the only position player on the list. Bonifacio has played in parts of 11 seasons in the big leagues and has shown the ability to play all three outfield spots, as well as second and third base. The 33-year-old spent the majority of the 2018 season with Long Island in the independent Atlantic League, but played five games for Triple-A Colorado Springs in the Brewers organization after signing a deal in August. He also spent the offseason playing in the Dominican Winter League for Tigres del Licey.
The Rays have a crowded infield, which makes Bonifacio a longshot to make the Opening Day roster, but he gives the organization a veteran presence and yet another versatile defender if needed.
Also receiving invitations to big league camp were right-handed pitchers Ricardo Pinto, Casey Sadler, Luis Santos and Cole Sulser.
Santos is familiar with the American League East, as the right-hander has spent parts of the last two seasons in the Majors with the Blue Jays, going 1-2 with a 5.15 ERA in 25 appearances. He served as Toronto's "opener" on July 23 against the Twins, striking out three while giving up one earned run over two innings of work.
Pinto made his Major League debut with the Phillies in 2017, going 1-2 with a 7.89 ERA in 25 appearances. He spent last season in the White Sox organization, where he finished the year with a 5.95 ERA between Class A Advanced Winston-Salem and Triple-A Charlotte. The 25-year old Venezuelan features a mid-90s four-seam fastball as well as a sinker, changeup and an occasional slider.
Sadler has spent his entire career in the Pirates organization, while Sulser was part of the deal that sent Yandy Diaz to Tampa Bay and Jake Bauers to Cleveland in December.
The five additions now give the Rays eight non-roster invitees, joining left-handed pitcher Ryan Merritt, catcher Anthony Bemboom and outfielder Jake Smolinski.
The Rays are expected to add more prospects to the non-roster-invitee list before pitchers and catchers report to Port Charlotte, Fla., on Feb. 13.

** Juan Toribio ** covers the Rays for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @juanctoribio.