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RAYS

Spring training

Rays: Joe Maddon waits to avenge prank; NCAA Tournament time

Prank of the day

Rays manager Joe Maddon (right) used his experience as an RV owner to help the bus driver make a tough right turn by Ed Smith Stadium. But as Maddon was outside offering direction, coaches Tom Foley and Dave Martinez convinced the driver to pull away without him. "So I had to do a slight jog to catch up," Maddon said. "They thought it was funny." Maddon smiled: "I don't get mad, I get even."

Tournament time

With the NCAA Tournament set to start today, don't expect manager Joe Maddon to pick the perfect bracket. Or any bracket. "I buy several sheets and give them to the clubbies because I have no clue what's going on," Maddon said. "I didn't even realize Wichita State was undefeated, so I'm not qualified to fill out a bracket."

Guests of the day

Ten members of the Wounded Warriors, a veterans service organization, will visit Rays camp the next couple of days, participate in warmups and shag balls during batting practice.

Who is this Ray?

Spent most of his amateur career as a catcher before converting to a pitcher at age 17. Played a lot of rugby growing up. Began his career with the Twins.

The dish

Rays vs. Twins

When/where: 7:05 tonight; Charlotte Sports Park, 2300 El Jobean Road, Port Charlotte

Radio: 620-AM

Tickets: Reserved seats $19-$29, berm/boardwalk $10. Available through raysbaseball.com and Ticket­master, Tropicana Field and Charlotte Sports Park box offices, Tampa team store

Gates open: 5 p.m.

Directions: Driving time from the bay area is 1½-2 hours. Suggested route: Interstate 75 south to Exit 179 (Toledo Blade Road), go west 6½ miles (crossing U.S. 41) to El Jobean Road (SR 776), go right 2 miles, complex is on the left.

Parking: $10, lots open at 4

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

Pitchers: Rays — LH Cesar Ramos, RH Jake Odorizzi; Twins — LH Scott Diamond.

Heads-up

Two candidates for the fifth starter's competition make their final audition today, with LHP Cesar Ramos starting and RHP Jake Odorizzi relieving him.

On deck

Friday: vs. Blue Jays, 1:05. Rays — LH Erik Bedard; Blue Jays — RH Todd Redmond

Saturday: vs. Orioles, 1:05, Rays — RH Alex Cobb; Orioles — TBA

Exhibition schedule

All games 1:05 unless noted

March

23 at Red Sox

24 at Twins

25 Red Sox

26 Orioles 7:05

27 at Orioles, 7:05

28 at Tigers

29 at AA Montgomery (Ala.), 3:05

Who is this Ray: RHP Grant Balfour

Spring in photos

Going to a spring training game in Florida? We want to see your photos. Post them on our Facebook wall at Tampa Bay Times Sports or tag them #springtrainingFL on Twitter and/or Instagram and we'll add them to our online gallery.

Prank of the day

Rays manager Joe Maddon used his experience as an RV owner to help the bus driver make a tough right turn by Ed Smith Stadium. But as Maddon was outside offering direction, coaches Tom Foley and Dave Martinez convinced the driver to pull away without him. "So I had to do a slight jog to catch up," Maddon said. "They thought it was funny." Maddon smiled: "I don't get mad, I get even."

Tournament time

With the NCAA Tournament set to start today, don't expect manager Joe Maddon to pick the perfect bracket. Or any bracket. "I buy several sheets and give them to the clubbies because I have no clue what's going on," Maddon said. "I didn't even realize Wichita State was undefeated, so I'm not qualified to fill out a bracket."

Quote of the day

"I went into the dugout and asked my infielders, 'Have you ever seen that happen before?' Nobody had."

RHP Mark Lowe, on Orioles CF Adam Jones stealing second and third on the same play in the first, taking advantage of the Rays' infield shift.

Guests of the day

Ten members of the Wounded Warriors will visit Rays camp the next couple of days, participate in warm-ups and shag balls during batting practice.

Who is this Ray?

Spent most of his amateur career as a catcher before converting to a pitcher at age 17. Played a lot of rugby growing up. Began his career with the Twins.

The dish

Rays vs. Twins

When/where: 7:05 p.m.; Charlotte Sports Park, 2300 El Jobean Road, Port Charlotte

Radio: 620-AM

Tickets: Reserved seats $19-$29, berm/boardwalk $10. Available through raysbaseball.com and Ticket-master, at Tropicana Field and Charlotte Sports Park box offices, Tampa team store

Gates open: 5 p.m.

Directions: Driving time from the bay area is 1½-2 hours. Suggested route: Interstate 75 south to Exit 179 (Toledo Blade Road), go west 6½ miles (crossing U.S. 41) to El Jobean Road (SR 776), go right 2 miles, complex is on the left.

Parking: $10, lots open at 4

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

Pitchers: Rays — LH Cesar Ramos, RH Jake Odorizzi; Twins — LH Scott Diamond.

Heads-up

Two candidates for the fifth starter competition will make their final audition today, with LHP Cesar Ramos starting and RHP Jake Odorizzi relieving him.

On deck

Friday: vs. Blue Jays, 1:05. Rays — LH Erik Bedard; Blue Jays — RH Todd Redmond

Saturday: vs. Orioles, 1:05, Rays — RH Alex Cobb; Orioles — TBA

Exhibition schedule

All games 1:05 unless noted

March

23 at Red Sox

24 at Twins

25 Red Sox

26 Orioles 7:05

27 at Orioles, 7:05

28 at Tigers

29 at AA Montgomery (Ala.), 3:05

Who is this Ray: RHP Grant Balfour

Spring in photos

Going to a spring training game in Florida? We want to see your photos. Post them on our Facebook wall at Tampa Bay Times Sports or tag them #springtrainingFL on Twitter and/or Instagram and we'll add them to our online gallery.

Follow our coverage all spring on The Heater blog (tampabay.com/blogs/rays) and on Twitter @TBTimes_Rays.

Rays: Joe Maddon waits to avenge prank; NCAA Tournament time 03/19/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 9:53pm]
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