Sale Looks To Rebound In 2012 For Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — From the outside, it would appear the best thing about Josh Sale's first pro season was that it was over.

After signing too late to play in his 2010 draft year, Sale finally got on the field last summer at Rookie-level Princeton and hardly impressed, hitting .210/.289/.346.
Those certainly weren't the numbers the Rays' top 2010 pick (17th overall) expected. But they may end up not looking so bad if he channels the motivation from that performance the right way.

"There's frustration,'' Sale said. "But I think that gives me more incentive to come back even stronger and be like, 'Look, the first year I hit .210, and I'm tired of it already.' So I'm going to do all I can to not hit .210 again.''

Sale, a slugging outfielder at Bishop Blanchet High in Seattle, said he got a sense during spring training that things were going to be different for him. He just didn't know how difficult.

"I came down to spring training and I stepped on the field and I was like, there's a lot of good players here,'' Sale said. "I'm not just the top dog from the Northwest now."

Farm director Mitch Lukevics said he has seen that reaction before, smiling slightly as he says, "They learn how difficult the game is. I think that happens to most young kids when they come in as highly touted as they are."

By the time Sale and more than two dozen other young prospects reported to St. Petersburg in January for the team's winter development program, he had a better perspective on the journey ahead.

"When the Rays first told me they were an organization that takes things slow and is going to develop, I was like, 'I want to get there now,' " Sale said. "But that's just something you can't do—the best of the best don't usually do that. . . It's a process."


• Infielder Will Rhymes, Detroit's 2011 Opening Day second baseman, signed a minor league contract with an invite to spring training. Rhymes spent most of last season at Triple-A Toledo and then was non-tendered. Also signed and invited to big league camp were outfielder Jesus Feliciano and righthanders Romulo Sanchez and Matt Torra.

• The Rays sold third baseman Russ Canzler to the Indians. Canzler, 25, was the International League MVP at Triple-A Durham last year after hitting .313/.401/.530. For his career, he's a .280/.351/.469 hitter.