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Mad dash highlights big day for Rays' Wil Myers

ST. PETERSBURG — Rightfielder Wil Myers got the Rays going in Monday's 9-2 win over the Blue Jays with their first hit of the season, a double to right-center in the first inning.

Myers, 23, then gave Tampa Bay a bigger cushion with a two-out, two-run single in the second.

But what many will likely remember most from Myers' first opening day was his exhausting and entertaining adventure around the bases in the eighth.

Myers, who reached first on a high chopper, raced to third when Jays pitcher Jeremy Jeffress sailed his throw into the Rays bullpen. Myers then popped up after a headfirst slide into third to score on another wild throw by Jose Bautista.

It was the type of play found in The Bad News Bears, not the big leagues.

"I've seen it in Little League a couple times, that was pretty wild," Myers said. "I've never done that before in my professional career. It was pretty exhausting."

When the smiling, and spent, Myers arrived in the dugout, infielder Sean Rodriguez jokingly waved a towel at him to cool him off. Manager Joe Maddon guessed Myers couldn't have made it another 90 feet.

"Probably not," Myers said. "I was gassed right there. That was it."

For Myers, the reigning American League rookie of the year, it was a strong start to his first full season in the majors. Myers, batting second, went 3-for-5 with two RBIs, two runs and two strikeouts. That included two hits off knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, against whom Myers was 0-for-7 with two strikeouts last year.

"He's pitched me well," Myers said. "I just got two good pitches to hit."

Said Maddon: "He's not had a lot of really good passes at (Dickey), so to do what he did, I know it's probably going to accelerate his confidence a bit. And especially the next time he sees him. That was really good to watch."

Myers, who hit .293 with 12 homers and 53 RBIs in 88 games after his June 18 call-up, says he feels a lot more comfortable this year. Maddon has challenged him to win a Gold Glove, and Myers continues to work on all areas of his game, including hustling around the bases. Myers touched them all in the eighth.

"It was just really a single," Myers said. "But it was fine."

Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@tampabay.com. Follow him on Twitter @TBTimes_JSmith.

Mad dash highlights big day for Rays' Wil Myers 03/31/14 [Last modified: Monday, March 31, 2014 10:01pm]
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