LHP Jonny Venters among Rays’ 13 non-roster spring training invitees

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rays have agreed to terms with the following players on minor league contracts with an invitation to major league spring training: right-handed pitcher R.J. Alaniz, right-handed pitcher Cody Hall, lefthanded pitcher Adam Kolarek, right-handed pitcher Colton Murray, left-handed pitcher Vidal Nuño, infielder/outfielder Brandon Snyder and left-handed pitcher Jonny Venters.

In addition, the following minor league players have received invites to major league spring training: outfielder Jason Coats, catcher Nick Ciuffo, outfielder Johnny Field, right-handed pitcher Ian Gibaut, first baseman/outfielder Joe McCarthy and infielder Kean Wong.

Alaniz (AH-lah-NIECE), 26, has spent parts of eight minor league seasons in the Houston Astros (2010-15) and Detroit Tigers (2016-17) organizations, combining to go 42-37 with a 4.34 ERA (629-IP, 303-ER) in 209 appearances (83 starts). Over the past two seasons, he has split time between Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo in the Detroit system, pitching to a 2.94 ERA (144-IP, 47-ER) in 95 appearances (10 starts) over that span. Following the season, he pitched for the Leones del Caracas of the Venezuelan Winter League for a second consecutive year.

Coats, 27, made his major league debut with the Chicago White Sox in 2016, appearing in 28 games (14 starts). He was claimed off waivers by the Rays in January but subsequently released and re-signed to a minor league contract. He missed the entire 2017 season following Tommy John surgery. He was selected by the White Sox in the 29th round of the 2012 June Draft out of Texas Christian University. In four seasons in the White Sox organization, he hit .287/.337/.458 (529-for-1,846) with 54 home runs and 286 RBI.

Ciuffo (SHOO-foe), 22, was named the organization’s Best Defensive Catcher by Baseball America and Defensive Player of the Year by the Rays baseball operations department in 2017, his second straight season receiving each honor. He spent the entire 2017 season with Double-A Montgomery, batting .245/.319/.385 (91-for-371) and establishing career highs in doubles (29), home runs (seven) and RBI (42). He also threw out 23 of 60 (38.3 percent) potential base stealers and was named to the Southern League postseason All-Star Team. He was selected by the Rays in the first round (21st overall) of the 2013 June Draft and has hit .248/.292/.334 (328-for-1,322) across five minor league seasons.

Field, 25, spent last season with Triple-A Durham, batting .261/.303/.425 (116-for-445) with 12 home runs and 57 RBI. In addition, his 35 doubles ranked second in the International League and were one shy of the league leader. He was selected by the Rays in the fifth round of the 2013 June Draft and has hit .270/.330/.444 (549-for-2,032) across five minor league seasons. He will be in Rays major league spring training for the third consecutive season.

Gibaut (gih-BOH), 24, split last season between Class-A Charlotte and Montgomery, going 7-1 with a 2.21 ERA (61-IP, 15ER) and 11.4 SO/9 IP ratio in 48 relief appearances. In addition, his 12 saves ranked fourth among Rays minor leaguers. He was selected by the Rays in the 11th round of the 2015 June Draft out of Tulane University. In three minor league seasons, exclusively as a reliever, he is 12-4 with a 2.32 ERA (147.2-IP, 38-ER) and 178 strikeouts in 94 appearances.

Hall, 29, has made a combined nine appearances in the majors with the San Francisco Giants (2015) and Miami Marlins (2016). He started last season pitching for Lancaster in the independent Atlantic League, and finished the season with Double-A Richmond in the Giants organization. He was selected by the Giants in the 19th round of the 2011 June Draft and is 17-13 with a 2.87 ERA (301.1-IP, 96-ER) in 245 appearances, all in relief, over seven minor league seasons.

Kolarek (koh-LAIR-ick), 28, made his major league debut with the Rays last season, and pitched to a 6.48 ERA (8.1-IP, 6-ER) in 12 appearances across two stints in the majors. He has spent eight minor league seasons in the New York Mets (2010-15) and Rays (2016-17) organizations, going 24-22 with a 3.32 ERA (455-IP, 168-ER) in 331 appearances (two starts). He was selected by the Mets in the 11th round of the 2010 June Draft and originally joined the Rays organization when he was selected from the Baltimore Orioles in the minor league phase of the 2015 Rule 5 Draft.

McCarthy, 23, hit .284/.409/.434 (129-for-454) with 31 doubles, eight triples, seven home runs, 56 RBI and 20 stolen bases in 127 games with Montgomery last season. Following the season, he was named to the Southern League postseason AllStar Team and was ranked by Baseball America as the league’s Best Defensive First Baseman and Best Strike-Zone Discipline in the Rays organization. He ranked among league leaders in batting average (10th), on-base percentage (second), doubles (tied for third), triples (tied for first), runs scored (tied for fourth) and walks (first). He was selected by the Rays in the fifth round of the 2015 June Draft out of the University of Virginia and has hit .283/.396/.415 (280-for-989) with 15 home runs and 137 RBI across three minor league seasons. Murray, 27, has spent his entire career in the Philadelphia Phillies organization, combining to make 32 appearances in the majors from 2015-16. He split last season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley and Double-A Reading, combining to go 2-2 with a 4.58 ERA (53-IP, 27-ER) and 63 strikeouts in 41 appearances. He was selected by the Phillies in the 13th round of the 2011 June Draft out of the University of Kansas and has a 3.44 ERA (400.2-IP, 153-ER) across seven minor league seasons.

Nuño, 30, has spent parts of five seasons in the majors, going 5-21 with a 4.29 ERA (344-IP, 164-ER) in 138 appearances (42 starts) with the New York Yankees (2013-14), Arizona Diamondbacks (2014-15), Seattle Mariners (2015-16) and Orioles (2017). He spent last season in the Orioles organization and spent three stints in the majors—including the Opening Day roster out of spring training. In 2016, he made a career-high 55 appearances with the Mariners, posting a 3.53 ERA (58.2-IP, 23-ER) and 4.64 SO/BB ratio. He was originally selected by the Cleveland Indians in the 48th round of the 2009 June Draft and has a 3.01 ERA (470-IP, 157-ER) over seven minor league seasons.

Snyder, 31, has appeared in the majors in parts of five seasons with the Orioles (2010-11), Texas Rangers (2012), Boston Red Sox (2013) and Atlanta Braves (2016). He is a career .242/.279/.459 (47-for-194) hitter with nine home runs and 29 RBI in 120 games (38 starts; 18-1B, 13-3B, 3-RF, 2-LF, 2-DH). He spent all of last season with Triple-A Syracuse in the Washington Nationals organization, batting .263/.356/.490 (110-for-418) with a career-high 23 home runs. He was selected by the Orioles in the first round (13th overall) of the 2005 June Draft and has hit .273/.338/.443 (1,076-for-3,947) with 254 doubles, 129 home runs and 636 RBI across 13 minor league seasons.

Venters, 32, has spent parts of three seasons with the Braves, going 15-10 with a 2.23 ERA (229.2-IP, 57-ER) and a 10.1 SO/9 IP ratio. He has not pitched in a major league game since the 2012 National League Wild Card Game due to Tommy John surgeries in 2013 and 2014. Last season, he had a 2.28 ERA (23.2-IP, 6-ER) in 24 games in the Rays organization, appearing with the GCL Rays, Charlotte, Montgomery and Durham. He made at least 65 appearances in the majors in three straight seasons from 2010-12, and was named to the NL All-Star Team in 2011. He was selected by the Braves in the 30th round of the 2003 June Draft and originally signed with the Rays as a minor league free agent in March 2015.

Wong, 22, split last season with Montgomery and Durham, batting .261/.322/.348 (110-for-422) with 22 doubles, five home runs and 48 RBI in 117 games. He was selected by the Rays in the fourth round of the 2013 June Draft out of Waiakea High School in Hawaii. Over parts of five minor league seasons, he has hit .284/.333/.358 (528-for-1,861) with 13 home runs and 186 RBI. He is the younger brother of Kolten Wong, who has spent parts of the last five seasons in the majors with the St. Louis Cardinals.

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