AL Notes: Rays, Cano, Johnson

Tonight, the Rays play their 1,000th game since changing their name from the Devil Rays, MLB.com’s Bill Chastain notes. Their name change was not, obviously, the cause of their change in fortunes, but the name switch came just as they emerged as an AL East powerhouse. They played ten seasons as the Devil Rays, never winning more than 70 games in a season. Their first season as the Rays was 2008, which was also their first winning season, playoff appearance and World Series appearance. Since then, they’ve had five more winning seasons in a row, also going to the playoffs in 2010, 2011 and 2013. Here are more notes from the American League.

  • Upon his return to New York, Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano expressed contentment about his choice to leave the Yankees for Seattle, Tyler Kepner of the New York Times writes. “Being in Seattle, I can’t tell you that much about Seattle. We’ve had two homestands there,” Cano says. “I could tell you, through the year, what’s different, but right now, I can tell you one thing: I’m happy there, the way they’ve embraced me — the fans, the organization and my teammates.” Cano is off to a .301/.353/.387 start in the first year of a ten-year deal with his new team.
  • Kris Johnson will be the 26th man and start the second game of the Twins‘ Thursday doubleheader against the Dodgers, the Twins have announced. The start will mark Johnson’s regular-season debut with the Twins. Johnson was a first-round pick of the Red Sox in 2006, but they released him 2011 after he struggled in Triple-A. The Pirates signed him for the 2012 season, and he emerged as a very good minor-league starter who’s reasonably well suited to spot-starting in the big leagues. The Twins, after struggling through 2013 with a very weak rotation, acquired Johnson in a minor deal for reliever Duke Welker, and now Johnson is in position to help out, if only for a day.

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