The news in Sunday's Times is that Rays have all but officially dropped plans to change the team name, uniform and colors for next season. Official word is expected this week, but it will be merely a formality. While some eager for change may consider that disappointing, it actually could be a good thing. By 2008, the Rays expect to be a better team, which means a team that draws more fans and attracts more attention, so the name change could have a much bigger impact then. (And they could sell much more merchandise with the new logo on it, more replicas of the new uniforms, etc.) Plus it means the Rays will have more to time to get it right. They are going to put a lot of hours, effort, research and money into the process. Principal owner Stuart Sternberg made it very clear, standing on the Fenway Park field before Saturday's game, that he realizes the significance of this type of action, and that it is a once-in-a-franchise opportunity. No one ever quite understood how Vince Naimoli and Co. came to settle on Devil Rays intially. Sternberg said they are talking about dramatic and ""wholesale'' change, and that being said, he and his stable of bright and creative executives obviously want to make sure they make the right choice. More importantly, they want to be sure their selection is more warmly received than Devil Rays was. Tarpons? Tropics? Sting Rays? Barracudas? Let the guessing continue for another year.
The other weekend news is that the Rays are once again taking a cautious approach with an injury, placing Casey Fossum on the disabled list rather than risk further injury due to the nagging soreness in his groin. To take his place, the Rays have summoned James Shields from Triple-A, and he will make his debut on Tuesday in Baltimore. Shields is the third of the Rays young Durham starts to be called up this season. Jason Hammel didn't do too well in his two starts, and Edwin Jackson recovered from a rough beginning to have a decent outing in his one start. They chose Shields this time for the simple reason that he was throwing the best.
Aubrey Huff looks very much in need of a day or two off after getting ejected from Saturday's game for comments he made after arguing a call, then punching the bat rack in the dugout.