Comparison of the day
In the Sports Illustrated baseball preview, a rival scout says Rays RHP Alex Cobb is "turning into Greg Maddux." Cobb was flattered to be compared to the recently elected Hall of Famer (left) . In last year's preview, SI dubbed Cobb the American League's "breakout pitcher." "They've been good to me the last couple years," Cobb said.
The Rays announced Thursday that any babies born on opening day Monday at Bayfront Hospital's Baby Place in St. Petersburg will receive four tickets to all future home openers. In the "Rays Fan for Life" program, each baby will receive a gift package on Tuesday, delivered by Rays players and mascot Raymond. Later in the season, the babies and their parents will be welcomed to the Trop for an onfield presentation.
When the Rays returned to Tropicana Field on Thursday morning, there was a slightly different locker lineup. New RHP Heath Bell is in the doublewide in the back-right corner, with RHP Grant Balfour right next to manager Joe Maddon's office. CF Desmond Jennings moved into the back-left corner locker of former Rays DH Luke Scott. OF Matt Joyce is on the back wall next to 1B James Loney. RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo took RHP Fernando Rodney's old locker, next to RHP Joel Peralta.
One other change in the Rays clubhouse is that the dry erase board has been replaced by a flat screen monitor, so any itineraries or bus times can be put up electronically.
Number of the day
78,624 Combined attendance at Charlotte Sports Park this spring (14 games), the lowest total since the Rays moved spring training to Port Charlotte in 2009.
Who is this Ray?
Was inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame at his alma mater, the University of Texas Pan-American. Was born in Chicago. Joined the Rays from Houston, where he spent 16 seasons in the organization.
Rays at Tigers
When/where: 1:05 today; Joker Marchant Stadium, 2301 Lakeland Hills Blvd., Lakeland
Tickets: $15-30, available through tigers.com, by phone at 1-866-668-4437
Pitchers: Rays — LH Matt Moore, RH Josh Lueke, RH Grant Balfour, LH Jake McGee, RH Joel Peralta; Tigers — RH Drew VerHagen
Rays information: Toll-free 1-888-326-7297 (FAN-RAYS)
LH Matt Moore, hit in the mouth with a line drive Sunday, will make his final appearance of the spring, as will RH closer Grant Balfour.
Saturday: at Double-A Montgomery (Ala.), 3:05. Rays — RH Chris Archer; Biscuits — TBA
Who is this Ray: Pitching coach Jim Hickey