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For openers, Rays vs. Orioles

Erasmo Ramirez will start for the Rays and work an inning or two.


Erasmo Ramirez will start for the Rays and work an inning or two.



3:30 p.m.: Corey Dickerson's first spring game with the Rays provided some major fireworks, as he crushed a two-run home run onto the roof of the Rays' facility in right field -- the team said it rolled to a stop 569 feet from home plate.

"I just tried to shorten up, two-strike approach," Dickerson said. "Luckily, I got a good pitch to hit ... and it worked out. (Teammates) were really pumped up. I think this team's really excited right now. We're really enjoying getting to know each other. We can't wait for the season to start and we've got a lot of excitement. ... It's always good to hit the baseball and see some hits fall in. That's what you look for in spring training, to feel good."

The Rays had nine hits and seven runs in the first two innings, including five doubles. Desmond Jennings had a pair of RBI doubles, Brandon Guyer had a pair of RBI singles and another newcomer, outfielder Jaff Decker, had two doubles.

3:15 p.m.: Rays starter Erasmo Ramirez was pleased with his spring debut -- two scoreless innings, one infield hit, three strikeouts -- and said he didn't hear Corey Dickerson's two-run home run to right field, but he sure heard it.

"I heard the noise," he said. "When you hear the noise and the little horn, that means something's going on. That ball, they said, was crushed. The best part of the game was that my teammates really were unbelievable. They were taking great at-bats, swinging the bat and that's something you're always going to love to see."

Ramirez came back out for the second inning and needed only six pitches for the frame, so he was pleased with his execution in his first outing of spring.

"Always, you want to execute and keep the ball down," he said. "You don't want to give up any base hits. Today, I was working down, working that location. I'll try to keep it like that from now until the end of the season, no matter who is hitting or what team it is."

11 a.m.: A few notes from Kevin Cash's time with reporters this morning -- the only Rays starters who played Wednesday are LF Desmond Jennings and RF Jaff Decker. Cash said Jennings will get two days off after going back-to-back in the first two games. He missed much of last season with knee issues. "He's ready to go. No limitations," said Cash, a day after Jennings had a single and two RBIs in the opener.

-- RHP Matt Andriese, who is expected to pitch today, will get stretched out as a starter, Cash said, but he's very much competing for a major-league role, so could also make the club in the front end of the bullpen. Andriese showed his versatility last season, getting spot work as a starter with eight starts but also working out of the bullpen another 17 times. "Huge," Cash said. "What he did last year, we  threw a lot at him."

-- OF Steven Souza is unchanged -- "did exact same thing he did yesterday," Cash said.

10 a.m.: Greetings from Port Charlotte, where I'm helping Marc Topkin out with Rays coverage today --  their second game of spring training comes at 1:05 against the Orioles here at Charlotte Sports Park.

RHP Erasmo Ramirez will start for the Rays and work an inning or two -- also expected to pitch are LHP Dana Eveland and RHPs Matt Andriese, Danny Farquhar, Steve Geltz and Jaime Schultz.

Today's starting lineup for the Rays:

Brad Miller, SS

Desmond Jennings, LF

Corey Dickerson, DH

Logan Forsythe, 2B

Steve Pearce, 1B

Brandon Guyer, CF

Taylor Motter, 3B

Rene Rivera, C

Jaff Decker, RF

[Last modified: Thursday, March 3, 2016 3:34pm]


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