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Rays announce three invites to Spring Training

The Tampa Bay Rays have agreed to terms with the following players on Minor League contracts with an invitation to Major League Spring Training: catcher Anthony Bemboom, left-handed pitcher Ryan Merritt and outfielder Jake Smolinski. In addition, the Rays have agreed to terms with left-handed pitcher Ryan Sherriff on a Minor League contract.

Bemboom, 28, has spent parts of seven Minor League seasons in the Los Angeles Angels (2012-16) and Colorado Rockies (2017-18) organizations, batting .237/.312/.351 (363-for-1532) with 31 home runs and 197 RBI. He spent the 2018 season with Triple-A Albuquerque, his second full-season at the Triple-A level, batting .232/.339/.351 (49-for-211) with 5 home runs and 29 RBI in 70 games (62 starts). He also threw out 14 of 38 (36.8 percent) potential base stealers last season. He was selected by the Angels in the 22nd round of the 2012 June Draft out of Creighton University.

The Tampa Bay Rays have agreed to terms with the following players on Minor League contracts with an invitation to Major League Spring Training: catcher Anthony Bemboom, left-handed pitcher Ryan Merritt and outfielder Jake Smolinski. In addition, the Rays have agreed to terms with left-handed pitcher Ryan Sherriff on a Minor League contract.

Bemboom, 28, has spent parts of seven Minor League seasons in the Los Angeles Angels (2012-16) and Colorado Rockies (2017-18) organizations, batting .237/.312/.351 (363-for-1532) with 31 home runs and 197 RBI. He spent the 2018 season with Triple-A Albuquerque, his second full-season at the Triple-A level, batting .232/.339/.351 (49-for-211) with 5 home runs and 29 RBI in 70 games (62 starts). He also threw out 14 of 38 (36.8 percent) potential base stealers last season. He was selected by the Angels in the 22nd round of the 2012 June Draft out of Creighton University.

Merritt, 26, has spent his entire career in the Cleveland Indians organization, going 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA (31.2-IP, 6-ER) in 9 appearances (5 starts) in the Majors from 2016-17. He started Game 5 of the 2016 American League Championship Series against the Toronto Blue Jays, his second Major League start, throwing 4.1 scoreless innings in Cleveland's 3-0, pennant-clinching win. He spent the 2018 season with Triple-A Columbus, going 3-3 with a 3.79 ERA (71.1-IP, 30-ER), 52 SO and only 2 walks in 15 appearances (13 starts). He was selected by the Indians in the 16th round of the 2011 June Draft and has a 3.37 ERA (878.2-IP, 329-ER) across eight Minor League seasons.

Smolinski, 29, has appeared in the Majors in parts of five seasons with the Texas Rangers (2014-15) and the Oakland Athletics (2015-18). He is a career .235/.299/.363 (143-for-608) hitter with 16 home runs and 67 RBI in 234 games (165 starts; 66-CF, 61-LF, 38-RF). He has missed significant time the previous two seasons, appearing in only 16 games for Oakland in 2017 (right shoulder surgery) and 19 games in 2018 (blood clot in left calf). He was selected by the Washington Nationals in the second round of the 2007 June Draft and has hit .267/.355/.414 (803-for-3013) with 200 doubles, 73 home runs and 361 RBI across 12 Minor League seasons.

Sherriff, 28, has spent parts of two seasons in the Majors with the St. Louis Cardinals (2017-18), going 2-1 with a 4.05 ERA (20.0-IP, 9-ER) in 18 appearances. He appeared in a combined 10 games between St. Louis and Triple-A Memphis in 2018 before undergoing Tommy John surgery on June 5. He was selected by the Cardinals in the 28th round of the 2011 June Draft out of West Los Angeles College and has a 3.06 ERA (485.0-IP, 165-ER) across eight Minor League seasons.

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