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For openers, Rays lose 4-2 to Orioles

The Rays lost their spring opener to the Orioles 4-2 on Friday.

Manager Joe Maddon called it a "non-descript" loss, noting he was generally pleased with the Rays pitching and that they didn't do much offensively.

Veteran LHP Erik Bedard, competing for the No. 5 spot, wasn't sharp, allowing 3 first-innings runs on three hits and two walks, throwing 25 pitches. "Well,'' he said, "I got my pitch count up.'' Bedard said he had some success with his changeup so that was a positive.

Veteran RHP Heath Bell also was not sharp, needing 24 pitches to get through his inning, allowing a run on a walk, stolen base, single and wild pitch. He did say it was a good day overall, pleased  with the movement on his pitches.

On the positive side, RHP Nathan Karns, acquired from Washington in a 3-for-1 deal, made an impressive debut with a 1-2-3 inning, and SS Hak-Ju Lee got back on the field for his first game action since injuring his left knee in April.

SS Yunel Escobar was the only Rays regular with a hit, and had two.

 

 

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Follow today's Rays-Orioles game on Twitter

Marc Topkin's Twitter profile

Twitter

Marc Topkin's Twitter profile

Follow Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) on Twitter for all of the news from today's exhibition opener between the Rays and Orioles in Port Charlotte. He'll have game updates, reports on Rays regulars and any injury news that develops.

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Reminder: Send us your spring training photos

Evan Longoria signs autographs for fans during spring training camp in Port Charlotte.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Evan Longoria signs autographs for fans during spring training camp in Port Charlotte.

Going to today's Rays-Orioles exhibition opener in Port Charlotte or any other spring training game in Florida? We want to see your photos!

Send them to us, and we'll add them to our Facebook gallery.

You can send photos one of two ways:

1. Post them on our Facebook wall at facebook.com/TampaBayTimesSports

or

2. Use the hashtag #springtrainingFL on Twitter and/or Instagram

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Friday morning report: Time to play ball

Evan Longoria will be starting at third base and batting cleanup.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Evan Longoria will be starting at third base and batting cleanup.

UPDATE, 12:59: After three parachutists from US Special Ops dropped in, the Rays and Orioles are ready to get started. For updates, follow on Twitter at @TBTimes_Rays, which is also available on the Sports page at tampabay.com.

UPDATE, 10:54: So what should be read into the Rays spring opening day lineup that has DeJesus leading off, Longoria 4th, Myers 6th and Jennings 7th? "Nothing at all,'' Maddon said. Lineups put together by bench coach Dave Martinez based on getting guys at-bats, batting order will take several forms before being finalized late spring.

2B Ben Zobrist (back) went through the pre-game routine with the team, working on bunt defenses and taking batting practice, then was to run the bases on his own. The plan is to take Saturday off and be re-evaluated, and he has hopes of playing Sunday though Maddon said it will be early next week.

Among camp visitors today was the esteemed Peter Gammons.

DEVELOPING: The Rays are - finally - set to play a game, with the exhibition opener set for 1:05 p.m. vs. the Orioles. …

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Price team edges McGee to win Rays golf tourney

LHP Jake McGee, with boom box, and the Advantica team.

TAMPA BAY RAYS

LHP Jake McGee, with boom box, and the Advantica team.

LHP Jake McGee's Advantica squad had the best look, with Run DMC-inspired track suits, but David Price's group, including several team owners, won the Rays annual charity golf tournament on Thursday at the Ritz-Carlton Members Club in Bradenton.

Both the McGee and Price teams finished at -16, but the Price group - including Randy Frankel, Tim Mullen, Chris Braden and Ron Iereolino - was declared the winner based on a better back nine.

McGee played with Andy Davis, Blake Johnson, Rylan Sanchez and Sean McCormick. LHP Cesar Ramos' group from Mosaic - including Bob May, Rich Krakowski, David Huth and JP Machek - finished third.

LHP Matt Moore won the long drive contest.

 

 

 

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Sun Sports to televise 150 games, Fox 4 others

Sun Sports announced its schedule of showing 150 Rays games this season, with four others to be shown on Fox or Fox Sports 1.

Sun will again provide half-hour live pre-game shows and extended post-game shows, plus nine episodes of Inside The Rays. The network also formally announced the return of broadcasters Dewayne Staats, Brian Anderson, Todd Kalas, Kelly Nash and Orestes Destrade, plus the hiring of Rich Hollenberg to replace Barry LeBrock on the pre- and post-game shows.

The Rays are set for Fox on May 31 at Boston and Sept. 6 vs. Baltimore, and Fox Sports 1 on May 10 vs. Cleveland and Aug. 16 vs. the Yankees.

The eight games currently not scheduled to be televised are:
May 22 vs. Oakland, 4:10
June 9 vs. Seattle, 1:10
July 30 vs Milwaukee, 12:10
Aug. 4 at Oakland, 10:05
Aug. 21 vs. Detroit, 1:10
Sept. 4 vs. Toronto, 7:10
Sept. 13 at Toronto, 1:07
Sept. 20 vs. Chicago White Sox, 7:10.

 

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Thursday update: Archer throws, Zobrist hits

Chris Archer threw to hitters after opting for a light bullpen rather than batting practice on Tuesday.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Chris Archer threw to hitters after opting for a light bullpen rather than batting practice on Tuesday.

UPDATE, 10:53: With the exception of Zobrist, the Rays will have pretty much their front line players on the field to start Friday's opener, planning to use the regulars for about three innings before substituting.

Matt Joyce, who is expected to be the primary DH as the Rays rotate the duties among several players, will start there on Friday.

The planned starting lineup:
DeJesus lf
Escobar ss
Loney 1b
Longoria 3b
Joyce dh
Myers rf
Jennings cf
Molina c
Forsythe 2b
Bedard p

UPDATE, 10:47:
Sandoval arrived in camp, saying he was obviously glad to be here, and has been throwing, including facing hitters, so he should not be far behind. Also said he has been working out with Oviedo.

DEVELOPING: The Rays are already with an abbreviated workout before heading to the annual charity golf event at the Ritz-Carlton Members Club in Bradenton.

RHP Chris Archer threw to hitters after opting for a light bullpen rather than batting practice on Tuesday. Archer worked out of the stretch and with no issues, saying the change was made to allow him to get on a five-day schedule in advance of a planned Tuesday exhibition start. …

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Video report: Let the games begin

Our video report from Rays camp as they prepare to start exhibition play on Friday. Video by Will Vragovic.

 

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Send us your spring training photos

Rays outfielder Wil Myers signs autographs for fans following the team's first full-squad workout earlier this month in Port Charlotte.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Rays outfielder Wil Myers signs autographs for fans following the team's first full-squad workout earlier this month in Port Charlotte.

Whether you're going to see the Rays in Port Charlotte, the Yankees in Tampa, the Phillies in Clearwater, the Blue Jays in Dunedin or any of the other teams that train in the Sunshine State, we want to see your photos from spring training games in Florida.

Send them to us, and we'll add them to our Facebook gallery.

You can send photos one of two ways:

1. Post them on our Facebook wall at facebook.com/TampaBayTimesSports

or

2. Use the hashtag #springtrainingFL on Twitter and/or Instagram

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Wil Myers to be part of new MTV2 show

  Rays OF Wil Myers is among a small group of MLB players who will produce an episode of a new MTV2 show Off the Bat from the MLB Fan Cave.

  The weekly show, which debuts in April, is designed to showcase a mix of baseball and entertainment.

  Boston's David Ortiz is executive producer of the series, and Myers is among several players who will be executive producers of indivdual episodes, along with Seattle's Robinson Cano, Baltimore's Adam Jones, Miami's Jose Fernandez and Atlanta's Craig Kimbrel.

  From an EW.com story: …

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Wednesday morning report: Photo day, Zobrist closer

The Rays spent much of the morning shuffling players through the many designated stations for photo day here in Port Charlotte.

They'll do a regular full-squad workout today, focused on infield defense and sign recognition. There won't be any live batting practice, so not much of a chance to catch pitchers.

Ben Zobrist, sidelined with a sore back, said he continues to make progress and plans to do most of what the rest of the team does this morning, including hitting and taking ground balls, though in a limited fashion. Zobrist said it's likely the team won't allow him to play in Grapefruit League games until early next week, though he's shooting for Sunday.

There's still no sign of RHPs Juan Carlos Oviedo and Juan Sandoval or INF Wilson Betemit, as they're dealing with visa issues.

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Tuesday morning report: Zobrist closer, Archer waiting

The Rays are taking the field for what looks to be one of their longest workouts of the spring, scheduled to be on the field from 9:30-12:40.

2B Ben Zobrist continues to make progress in getting closer to joining full workouts after being sidelined by back tightness and soreness. Zobrist was to take ground balls this morning and hit in the cage, and was to be on the field with his teammates to stretch and watch the early part of the workout.

RHP Chris Archer won't throw batting practice today with the other pitchers in his group, saying he feels fine and the change is more strategic in terms of schedule. Archer said he isn't scheduled to pitch until the fifth spring game - March 4 vs. Boston - and didn't want to go a week without facing hitters.

This way, he said, he will hitters on Thursday during the workout, then get a on a normal five-day routine and pitch Tuesday.

LHP Cesar Ramos said he figured he was named the starter for the exhibition opener on Friday because he had the most service time of the scheduled pitchers, save for veteran reliever Heath Bell.

 

 

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Detailed info on new home plate collision rules

Here is the full explanation of the new home-plate collision rule adopted by MLB on an experimental basis for 2014: …

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Monday afternoon report: Ramos for openers, Price on Saturday

The Rays got through the third day of live BP apparently uneventfully.

They did reveal their pitching plans for the first weekend of exhibition play, with LHP Cesar Ramos - not LHP Erik Bedard as first announced - getting the start in Friday's opener.

Staff ace LHP David Price will start on Saturday against the Pirates in Bradenton, puttiing him on five-day schedule for the March 31 season opener.

RHP Alex Cobb pitches on Sunday at home vs. Minnesota, and it sounds like RHP Chris Archer will work on Monday vs. the Phillies through that is not official.

Manager Joe Maddon said he appreciates 2B Ben Zobrist, who has been sidelined with a sore back, wantign to get back on the field, but the Rays are more concerned with him being ready for the opener.

Still absent from camp are INF Wilson Betemit and RHPs Juan Carlos Oviedo and Juan Sandoval, all delayed in the Domnican Republic with visa issues.

 

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Monday morning report: Zobrist closer, Price throwing

David Price is among 16 pitchers scheduled to throw live batting practice today.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

David Price is among 16 pitchers scheduled to throw live batting practice today.

The Rays are on the field for the third day of live batting practice, with LHPs David Price and Erik Bedard and RHPs Grant Balfour and Alex Cobb among the 16 pitchers scheduled for action.

2B Ben Zobrist increased his activity, playing catch and taking dry swing (with no ball) but likely won't start full workouts until Wednesday. He said there is no longer any pain in his back, but he still has to loosen it up.

He said he still hopes to be ready for Friday's exhibition opener: "That's the goal.''

 

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