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For openers: Rays vs. Orioles, at last

Preparations underway at Tropicana Field for today's opener

Marc Topkin

Preparations underway at Tropicana Field for today's opener



UPDATE, 3:05: Just about ready for action here at the Trop, between Rays and O's. A In addition to all the cool things about opening day - which manager Joe Maddon says should be a national holiday - there was an even cooler moment today.

As Don Zimmer and his family went to the mound for the first pitch, the entire Rays team came out of the dugout and circled behind home plate, with Evan Longoria catching the toss. Then the whole team walked onto the field to greet Zimmer and family.

DEVELOPING: After an extended spring training, the Rays and Orioles are finally set to open the season at 3:10 today with Cy Young Award winner David Price on the mound.

Among other pre-game highlights, the introductions on the foul lines, an anthem by saxophonist BK Jackson and a first-pitch by baseball icon/senior advisor Don Zimmer.

We have extensive coverage in today's Tampa Bay Times, with a 20-page special section, most of which is also available online.

The cover story provides a look into how the Rays keep winning despite losing so many players, and among other things you'll learn of some of their guiding philosophies, priorities and the name of their computer system.

There's also plenty of coverage in the main section, headline by Rays star Evan Longoria saying the team is different, and better mentally, since veterans James Shields and B.J. Upton are gone.

The game is sold-out, with coverage on Sun Sports and 620-AM, and of course

Here are the lineups:

Desmond Jennings cf
Sam Fuld rf
Ben Zobrist 2b
Evan Longoria 3b
Matt Joyce lf
Yunel Escobar ss
James Loney 1b
Jose Molina c
Kelly Johnson dh
David Price p

Nick Markakis rf
Manny Machado 3b
Adam Jones cf
Matt Wieters c
Chris Davis 1b
J.J. Hardy ss
Nolan Reimold lf
Steve Pearce dh
Brian Roberts 2b
Jason Hammel p





[Last modified: Tuesday, April 2, 2013 3:07pm]


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