Reid Brignac Prepared For Flexible Future

ST. PETERSBURG — Reid Brignac is pretty good at being a prospect.

Ranked fifth among the Rays Top 10 this year, and fourth the year before, he knows all about promise and potential.

But Brignac has bigger plans for 2010. He's ready to become a player.

"Legitimately, I've got an opportunity to make the team this year," Brignac said. "I knew in the past I was gaining experience and being around the guys. Now, hopefully, I'm going in competing for a job."

Brignac, a second-round pick in 2004 out of a Louisiana high school, is one of the game's more advanced shortstop prospects. But with Jason Bartlett entrenched as the starter and top prospect Tim Beckham on the way, Brignac's path to the big leagues may require a detour to second base.

The Rays may have an opening there this season, depending on what they do with Ben Zobrist. They could start him at second, platoon him at second with Sean Rodriguez and in right with Matt Joyce, or even start him in right field.

Brignac will get the chance to man the utility middle infield job, while doing what he can to position himself as next in line at shortstop.

His lefthanded bat makes him a good fit for the bench, and he was much more comfortable in his second big league callup, batting .278/.301/.444 (25-for-90) after going 0-for-10 in his 2008 callup. He also improved his Triple-A numbers in '09, batting .282/.327/.417 and significantly cutting his strikeout rate.

Brignac said he has played enough second base to be comfortable there—though his experience amounts to 15 career games.Triple-A manager Charlie Montoyo said Brignac has the ability and the desire to be able to handle whatever opportunity presents itself.

"He could play either one—he's a big-league shortstop and a big-league second baseman," Montoyo said.

Cool Rays

• Righthander Mitch Talbot, who was considered the prime prospect (ahead of Zobrist) in the July 2006 Aubrey Huff deal with Houston, was sent to Cleveland as the player to be named in the Kelly Shoppach trade.

Stan Boroski, a longtime coach and scout with the Astros, was hired as the assistant to pitching coach Jim Hickey. Boroski's versatility of working on the field (most recently at Double-A Corpus Christi) and from the stands was appealing, Hickey said.