Opening day ...
Right handed pitcher Scott Dohmann, 27, hugs infielder Carlos Pena, right, during spring training at the Naimoli Complex in St. Petersburg Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2008. Photo by James Borchuck, Times
The Rays opened their first full-squad workout Wednesday with a practice-field meeting that lasted more than a half hour and ended with a roaring laugh - following the first of what is expected to be a regular "joke of the day.''
1B Carlos Pena and OF Jonny Gomes were in uniform and on the field, leaving missing just the three players delayed by visa problems in the Dominican Republic: INFs Willy Aybar and Joel Guzman and RHP Juan Salas.
The players went through a series of drills, with Akinori Iwamura looking rather comfortable, and at times sharp, in his first official workout at second base. No fear, he had his contingent of Japanese media back.
Manager Joe Maddon planned to stress accountability and trust in his opening address.
A number of team front office officials were on hand for the opening, including special advisor Fred McGriff, but not principal owner Stuart Sternberg.