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Actor George Wendt to throw out first pitch at Rays opener

How's it hanging, Norm?

The Rays announced that the ceremonial first pitch at Sunday's season opener will be … actor George Wendt, best known for playing Norm on Cheers from 1982-93. He's the first actor to get opening day honors for the Rays, who will also have commissioner Rob Manfred in the building, the first time a commissioner has attended a Rays home opener at Tropicana Field.

Quote of the day

"He's actually swung the bat really well, too, on the back fields. … A lot of his at-bats came on the back fields, but he's looked good at the plate here as of late."

Manager Kevin Cash on C Hank Conger, who is 4-for-26 (.154) in spring training.

Leading off

The Rays announced that saxophonist BK Jackson, a Tampa native, will play the U.S. and Canadian national anthems before Sunday's season opener against Toronto.

The dish Rays vs. Pirates

When/where: 1:05 today; Charlotte Sports Park, 2300 El Jobean Road, Port Charlotte.

Radio: raysbaseball.com (signup required)

Tickets: Reserved seats $19-29, berm/boardwalk $10. Available via raysbaseball.com, by calling toll-free 1-888-326-7297 (FAN-RAYS), and at CSP or Tropicana Field box offices, team Tampa Store (400 N Tampa St.).

Gates open: 11 a.m.

Directions: Driving time from the bay area is 1½-2 hours. Suggested route: Interstate 75 South to Toledo Blade Road. Go west 6½ miles to El Jobean Road (SR 776). Go right 2 miles. Stadium complex is on left.

Parking: $10, lots open at 10.

Rays information: Toll-free 1-888-326-7297 (FAN-RAYS)

Pitchers: Rays — Jake Odorizzi, Xavier Cedeno, Alex Colome, Ryan Webb, Danny Farquhar, Enny Romero, Steve Geltz, Dana Eveland. Pirates — TBA

Heads-up

Odorizzi gets his final tuneup before his season debut next week, and relievers battling for the last spots in the bullpen get their last chance to impress the Rays.

On deck

Friday: at Braves (Disney), 1:05. Rays — TBA; Braves — TBA; at Tigers (Lakeland), 1:05. Rays —Matt Moore; Tigers — TBA

Saturday: Off

Start of regular season

Sunday: Season opener vs. Blue Jays, Tropicana Field, 4:05. Rays — Chris Archer; Jays — Marcus Stroman

Monday: vs. Jays, 7:10. Rays — Drew Smyly; Jays — R.A. Dickey

Tuesday: vs. Jays, 7:10. Rays — Jake Odorizzi; Jays — Aaron Sanchez

Wednesday: vs. Jays, 1:10. Rays — Matt Moore; Jays — J.A. Happ

Actor George Wendt to throw out first pitch at Rays opener 03/30/16 [Last modified: Thursday, March 31, 2016 12:03am]
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    Today: at Blue Jays

    4:07, Rogers Centre, Toronto

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Rays info: Toll-free 1-888-326-7297

    Probable pitchers

    Rays: RH Chris Archer (8-7, 3.84)

    JAYS: RH Chris Rowley (1-0, 1.69)