by Steve Carney
After an abbreviated workout by pitchers and catchers Saturday morning, the entire Rays roster was out on the practice fields to work out Sunday in Port Charlotte.
The day started with a meeting with manager Joe Maddon and the coaching staff, one that was to be held outside, but was moved into a conference room because of the cold temperatures.
"I've been outside with my first meetings forever," Maddon said after practice. "I had to make an exception today, and actually, I was able to concentrate better myself by not freezing."
The Rays skipper also said there isn't a definitive slogan again this year, but that his message to the players had a clear purpose.
"It's not about being perfect. It's about being present," Maddon said. "If they can understand it, it really matters, because you're going to make mistakes. If you're able to file that rather quickly, and move on to the next moment, we have a better chance of winning that night."
They're words Evan Longoria has been using as his mantra for a while.
"I've been trying to preach that to not only myself, but to everybody that I talk to," the Rays third baseman said. "That's kind of been my motto for the majority of my career, because you can't change the past anyway."
PERALTA OUT OF WBC: Reliever Joel Peralta announced Sunday that he will not pitch for the Dominican Republic in this year's World Baseball Classic.
"This is probably the only time I'll get to play in the WBC, and I'm not going to be able to," the reliever said. "I was hoping I could."
Peralta says the team had asked him not to pitch in the tournament, and that his current bout of neck stiffness made the decision easy.
"If I was practicing and pitching and being ready, I might change my mind and talk to Andrew [Friedman] and see if I could go. [The Rays] are really concerned about it. They really asked me not to go. They play a really big part in this too. I've got to listen to them a lot, because...I'm a Rays pitcher. I work for them."
That brings the number of Rays players participating in the World Baseball Classic down to three: Jose Molina (Puerto Rico), Fernando Rodney (Dominican Republic), and Ben Zobrist (USA).
CUST SIGNS MINOR-LEAGUE DEAL: The number of players in Rays camp swelled to 66 Sunday, as the team announced they had signed DH/OF Jack Cust to a minor-league deal.
"Obviously, what they've got going on here, I've admired it from the opposing dugout for years," Cust said. "What they do here is just amazing. You hear only great things about the organization. It's somewhere I always thought to myself, 'It'd be cool to play over there.'"
The 34-year-old spent all of 2012 in the minor leagues, first with the Yankees' top farm team in Scranton, then with Toronto's Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas. He hit .243 / .400 / .442 with 20 home runs, 72 runs batted in, and 148 strikeouts in 114 games.
Cust reported to Port Charlotte Sunday.
FOR MONDAY: The team will have an early workout, starting at 8:45 and ending around 10:30, before they head to the team's golf tournament, taking place just outside of Sarasota.