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Rocco Baldelli Starts Comeback Bid

Rocco Baldelli has started his comeback bid tonight, playing with the Charlotte Stone Crabs of the Florida State League.

From the St. Pete Times:

Baldelli, 28, has spent this season working as a special assistant coach, but is expected to sign a minor-league playing contract this afternoon and be the DH tonight for the Stone Crabs.

Given that he hasn't played in games since last season with Boston, Baldelli is going to need an extended period of time in the minors, perhaps two or three weeks with Charlotte before moving up to Double- or Triple-A.

How he does and how he feels along the way will determine when, or if, he rejoins the Rays. One key date to keep in mind is Aug. 31, because he'd have to be on the roster by then to be eligible for the post-season.

Baldelli's health issues have been numerous over the years, and it was easy to think that he was done after taking a liaison job with the Rays this winter. We'll keep an eye on things to see where they go for him -- if anywhere.

Photographs by cstreet.us, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.