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Rays sign three to Minor League contracts

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays announced Thursday that they have signed catcher Craig Albernaz, outfielder Jason Bourgeois and right-hander pitcher J.D. Martin to Minor League contracts, and each was invited to Major League Spring Training as well.

In addition, Tampa Bay invited to Major League Spring Training the following Minor League players from within their system: right-handers Marquis Fleming and Kirby Yates, left-hander Adam Liberatore and catcher Mark Thomas.

Albernaz, 30, returns for his fifth consecutive spring in Major League camp. He split the 2012 season between Triple-A Durham and Double-A Montgomery. The Eckerd College graduate originally signed with the Rays as a non-drafted free agent in 2006.

Bourgeois, 30, hit .258 with the Royals last season and .243 with their Triple-A affiliate in Omaha, Neb. He has spent parts of five seasons in the Major Leagues between the White Sox, Brewers and Astros. Bourgeois has 51 stolen bases in 222 Major League games. In 13 Minor League seasons with seven organizations, he has hit .282 with 263 stolen bases.

Martin, 30, went 6-9 with a 5.95 ERA for Triple-A New Orleans in the Marlins' farm system last season. He has had two stints in the Majors, combining to go 6-9 with a 4.32 ERA over 24 starts in 2009 and '10 with the Nationals. Martin has spent time with the Indians, Nats and Marlins organizations and has a career 72-49 record with a 3.78 ERA in his Minor League career.

Fleming, 26, combined to go 4-5 with a 4.48 ERA in 48 relief appearances with Montgomery and Durham last year. The right-hander will spend his second straight Spring Training in Major League camp. Over five Minor League seasons, Fleming has posted a 3.45 ERA with 385 strikeouts in 331 1/3 innings.

Yates, 25, went 4-2 with a 2.65 ERA and 16 saves in 50 relief appearances for Montgomery last season. This will be his first season in Major League camp. Yates has spent four years in the Rays' organization, compiling a 2.78 ERA with 291 strikeouts in 229 2/3 innings.

Liberatore, 25, split the 2012 season between Montgomery and Durham, and he combined to go 4-5 with a 2.47 ERA in 49 relief appearances. This will be his first time in Major League camp.

Thomas, 24, hit .254 with five home runs and 42 RBIs in 93 games for Montgomery last year. He will spend his second straight Spring Training in Major League camp. Known as one of the best defensive catchers in Tampa Bay's system, Thomas threw out 46 percent of attempted basestealers for Montgomery last year, and he has thrown out 41 percent for his career.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for
Read More: Tampa Bay Rays, Jason Bourgeois, Craig Albernaz, J.D. Martin