Dog owned by Rays catcher Ryan Hanigan stars at Westminster

Copperridge What's Your Dream, an Australian Shepherd owned by Rays catcher Ryan Hanigan, is named best of breed at the Westminster Dog Show.

Here’s an unlikely connection: The Tampa Bay Rays and the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

Thanks to the Rays’ new catcher, Ryan Hanigan, baseball and barks have something in common. On Monday, his Australian shepherd was a breed winner in the prestigious dog competition held in New York City, now in its 138th annual year. His Copperridge What’s Your Dream won out of the 44 entered in the category.

"It’s incredible that she went from my No. 1 bed buddy to best of breed at Westminster!!!" Hanigan wrote in a text message to the Associated Press.

The Rays gained Hanigan, 33, in a three-team December deal that also involved the Arizona Diamondbacks and Cincinnati Reds. His fondness for man’s best friend will mesh well with left-hander David Price, whose French bulldog, Astro, has become quite the star of his own.

Not a bad way to make a first impression. When Rays pitchers and catchers report to spring training Friday, Hanigan’s new teammates won’t need a conversation starter.

You can follow Andrew Astleford on Twitter @aastleford or email him at aastleford@gmail.com.