Guerrieri Worth The Wait For Rays





ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. Righthander Taylor Guerrieri had to wait to make his pro debut. That's because he held off on signing until the mid-August deadline last year after being the Rays' first-round pick (24th overall) and then got held back in extended spring training this year.

But judging by his work at short-season Hudson Valley, it looks like he may be able to make up for lost time.

Guerrieri, 19, went 1-2, 1.04 in 12 starts,  then threw four shutout innings in the decisive Game Three of the New York-Penn League opening round playoffs. Guerrieri allowed just five walks compared to 45 strikeouts.

"Taylor made great strides this year as you can see by his statistics," farm director Mitch Lukevics said. "But is not by statistics alone do you determine a player's progress."

When Guerrieri dropped to the Rays in the draft, there were questions about his character and maturity stemming from an incident that preceded his change of high schools. But the Rays were comfortable with their decision.

"There was great maturation as a player and as a person that is important to Taylor's development as well," Lukevics said.

Guerrieri will join the Rays in instructional league and then appears destined for a full-season assignment in 2013.

"Like all young pitchers, Taylor will work on consistency on his delivery and consistency of his curveball," Lukevics said, "and continue to learn what it is to be a professional."

COOL RAYS

• Triple-A Durham manager Charlie Montoyo, Rookie-level Princeton manager Michael Johns and Double-A hitting coach Ozzie Timmons were all called up to join the big league staff for short September stints.

• The Rays' Arizona Fall League contingent includes their top middle-infield prospects—Tim Beckham and Hak-Ju Lee—along with outfielder Kevin Kiermaier, righthanders Lenny Linsky and Kirby Yates, lefthanders Chris Rearick and C.J. Riefenhauser, and third baseman Richie Shaffer (their top 2012 pick, who will be on the taxi squad).