Thursday, November 23, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Dickerson's monster HR highlights Rays' win over Orioles

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PORT CHARLOTTE — Corey Dickerson had his head down as he rounded the bases, so the Rays' new designated hitter couldn't fully appreciate just how far his two-run homer went in the second inning Thursday afternoon.

The shot to rightfield landed on the roof of the player development building, and by the time it stopped rolling, the team said it had traveled 569 feet from home plate.

"They were really pumped up," Dickerson said of his teammates, enjoying what would end up being a 17-hit attack, including seven doubles, in a 10-3 win over the Orioles. "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. … That's what you look for in spring training, to feel good."

Rays starter Erasmo Ramirez, already out of the game, didn't see the home run but said he heard it off the bat and was thrilled by the offensive outburst.

"I heard the noise," Ramirez 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."

Dickerson, acquired from the Rockies for reliever Jake McGee, had actually shortened up with a two-strike count, showcasing his power.

"That was a bomb," manager Kevin Cash said. "I don't think we'll ever see the typical shortened-up swing, but if you looked at the first two pitches he swung at, he about fell over. That was his shortened-up swing, I guess."

STARTING STRONG: For the second day in a row, LF Desmond Jennings was pulled after two at-bats, and he'll get the next two days off as the team eases him back after missing much of last season with knee problems. Jennings has gone 3-for-4 with three doubles and three RBIs.

"He was the only guy to play back-to-back days," Cash said. "It worked out great that he was able to get those quick at-bats, and he'll have two days off to get his work in."

GAME DETAILS: Dickerson wasn't the only one with a promising introduction. SS Brad Miller, making his debut, went 2-for-3 with an RBI; 1B Steve Pearce went 1-for-3 with an RBI double in his first game; and OF Jaff Decker, making his first start, had two doubles. … CF Brandon Guyer went 3-for-3 with three RBIs, including a home run in the fifth.

Ramirez was sharp in his debut, throwing two innings of scoreless ball, allowing only one infield single and striking out three. RHP Matt Andriese followed with two scoreless innings, striking out two and allowing only a bunt single.

AGGRESSIVE: The Rays went 7-for-16 with runners in scoring position, and Cash credited a "very aggressive approach" at the plate. "One of the points of emphasis this spring as far as moving runners, getting that guy in," he said. "It seemed like we did a really nice job of handling those situations."

ON THE MEND: OF Steven Souza Jr., expected to miss the first week of spring training games with an intercostal muscle strain, continues to make progress and is scheduled to take batting practice in the cage today, Cash said.

Contact Greg Auman at [email protected] and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Rays Gold Glove-winning centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier looks for a different kind of catch as he fishes in the pond behind the practice fields before Thursday's 10-3 exhibition victory over the Orioles at Charlotte Sports Park.

 
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