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For starters, Rays vs. Orioles on Opening Day



Update 5:03 p.m. DH Manny Ramirez is back in the house, saying his "personal reasons" for being gone Wednesday was to go to Fort Lauderdale to take care of something with his kids.


But Ramirez said everything is okay now - his oldest son is actually here - and he's excited for his Rays debut.

"I'm kind of nervous, I'm excited," Ramirez said. "I want to move the clock forward."

Manager Joe Maddon said he expects both Ramirez and Johnny Damon to play all three games in this weekend's series, and then they'll evaluate next week if one or both needs a day off during a long-stretch of consecutive games.

Maddon said OF Sam Fuld will often come in late in games - if the Rays are leading - to fill in for Damon, though it has more to do with saving the legs of the 37-year-old veteran than replacing him defensively. Of course, if the Rays are behind, Damon will stay in.

*Maddon said he spent a lot of time today thinking about the bullpen, how it will play out during games, who will be used when/matchups. It's something Maddon said he'll likely go through a lot in the first few weeks, a feeling-out process as they break in several new relievers to a revamped bullpen.

Developing: The Rays will open their defense of their 2010 American League East title tonight in their season opener against the Orioles at Tropicana Field.

LHP David Price, coming off a stellar year in which he finished second in the AL Cy Young vote, will start for Tampa Bay, with RHP Jeremy Guthrie for the Orioles.

This will be the much-anticipated debut for new Rays DH Manny Ramirez and LF Johnny Damon, as well as the first Opening Day game for the likes of LHP Jake McGee, RHP Adam Russell and OF Sam Fuld.

Gov. Rick Scott will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Principal owner Stuart Sternberg is already on the field, checking out the new turf, and addressing some of the Trop employees in the stands.

Here's the lineup for the 7:10 p.m. first pitch.

Zobrist 2b
Damon lf
Longoria 3b
Ramirez dh
D. Johnson 1b
Upton cf
Joyce rf
Brignac ss
Jaso c
Price p

Roberts 2b
Markakis rf
Lee 1b
Guerrero dh
Jones cf
Scott lf
Reynolds 3b
Wieters c
Hardy ss
Guthrie rhp

[Last modified: Sunday, May 1, 2011 12:15am]


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