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11/27/2007 1:21 PM ET
Rays sign Gimenez, Richard, Weber to Minor League deals
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ST. PETERSBURG -- The Tampa Bay Rays have agreed to terms with catcher Hector Gimenez, infielder/outfielder Chris Richard and outfielder Jon Weber on minor league contracts with invitations to major league spring training.

Gimenez, 25, joins the Rays organization from the Houston Astros. He underwent surgery to repair a partially torn labrum in his right shoulder in March 2007 and spent the entire year on the Astros disabled list. Prior to that, the switch-hitter batted .263 with 50 home runs and 284 RBI over seven minor league seasons in the Astros system. He was added to Houston's 40-man roster before the 2004 season and earned a two-game stint in the Majors in 2006, going 0-for-2 in two pinch-hit appearances. Gimenez signed with the Astros in 1999 out of Venezuela and is currently playing for Aragua in the Venezuelan Winter League.

Richard, 33, and Weber, 29, return to the Rays after playing for the Durham Bulls (AAA) in 2007. Richard spent the entire year with Durham and hit .284 (97-for-342) with 14 home runs, 57 RBI and 24 doubles in 102 games. He split time between the outfield (59 games) and first base (33). His .384 on-base percentage and .488 slugging percentage both ranked second among Bulls hitters. Richard has compiled a .258 average with 34 home runs and 122 RBI in parts of four major league seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals (2000), Baltimore Orioles (2000-'02) and Colorado Rockies (2003). He was drafted by the Cardinals in 1995 and homered in his first major league at-bat on July 17, 2000.

Weber hit .265 (36-for-136) with three home runs and 21 RBI over 39 games for the Bulls after being acquired from the Texas Rangers on July 17, 2007 for cash considerations. He spent the first half of the season with the Bakersfield Blaze (A) of the California League, where he hit .356 (53-for-139) with five home runs, 25 RBI, 14 doubles, 34 runs scored and nine stolen bases. The Texas Tech product owns a career .285 average with 61 homers and 341 RBI in seven minor league seasons and is currently playing for the Caneros de los Mochis in the Mexican League.
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