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Rays Tales: Tampa Bay Rays' All-Star accomplishments

Rays have had a hand in a few key All-Star moments, starting with Carl Crawford's MVP-worthy catch in the seventh inning of last year's classic. Plus, Ben Zobrist caught the final out last summer, Dioner Navarro (remember him?) had a big 15th-inning hit and Scott Kazmir an unexpected win in 2008, and inaugural All-Star Rolando Arrojo worked a key sixth inning in 1998. But the Rays have never been involved from the start.

Two Rays have been elected starters, but neither could play due to injuries; DH Jose Canseco had a bad back in 1999, 3B Evan Longoria an infected finger last year.

This year, that should change. And depending on the preferences of the fans — as well as Yankees/AL manager Joe Girardi — there could be as many as three Rays in the starting lineup July 13 in Anaheim.

When the rosters are announced today, Longoria will again be chosen to start at third, Crawford will learn the results of a tight race for the third outfield spot and David Price has a strong case for a spot on the pitching staff, with a good shot to be named the starter. (Closer Rafael Soriano could be in the mix.)

Here's a look at what Rays stars have done previously, from most to least (x-injured, couldn't play):

Helping hands

2009: Jason Bartlett, SS; Carl Crawford, LF; x-Evan Longoria, 3B; Carlos Peña, 1B; Ben Zobrist, INF

Bartlett, Crawford and Zobrist are mid-game subs by manager Joe Maddon, with Crawford having the biggest impact, singling in the fifth and robbing Brad Hawpe of a go-ahead homer in the seventh. Longoria was hurt; Peña didn't play.

2008: Scott Kazmir, LHP; Evan Longoria, 3B; Dioner Navarro, C

Longoria gets four at-bats after pinch-hitting in the eighth, doubling in the tying run. Navarro makes the first Rays All-Star error, throws out a runner and singles in the AL's winning rally in the 15th. Kazmir, who wasn't supposed to pitch, worked the 15th and ended up with the win, the first Ray to do so.

Thanks for playing

1998: Rolando Arrojo, RHP

Allows two hits but posts a scoreless sixth to help maintain lead.

1999: Jose Canseco, DH; Roberto Hernandez, RHP

With Canseco sidelined, Hernandez works a seven-pitch eighth.

2000: Fred McGriff, 1B

McGriff's return to Atlanta is anticlimactic as he goes 0-for-2.

2002: Randy Winn, OF

Winn scores the Rays' first All-Star run.

2004: Carl Crawford, OF

Houston homecoming doesn't go well as he's 0-for-2.

2006: Scott Kazmir, LHP

Kaz works a perfect nine-pitch sixth inning.

2007: Carl Crawford, OF

Crawford hits the Rays' first All-Star homer.

Thanks for coming

2001: x-Greg Vaughn, OF

Honorary representation as Vaughn went to Seattle though injured and unable to play.

2003: Lance Carter, RHP

The oddest Rays All-Star selection didn't get near the field.

2005: Danys Baez, RHP

One of two pitchers who spent the game watching.

Rays rumblings

Rays mega-fan and college hoops analyst Dick Vitale came down hard publicly on B.J. Upton, telling ESPN radio, "It is coming to a point where you gotta look him in the eye and say, 'B.J., it is time to grow up, man.' Maybe a little trip down to Durham would wake him up." … This will matter more in a few years, but top prospect OF Desmond Jennings switched agents to Scott Boras. … Matt White, the $10.2 million bonusee who never made it to the majors due to injuries, was named pitching coach at Michigan after two years volunteering at Georgia Tech. … Just sayin': The Rays are 24-11 with Pat Burrell on the roster, 23-22 without. In 24 games for the Rays, Burrell was 17-for-84 (.202) with two HRs and 13 RBIs; in 24 for the Giants, he was 23-for-71 (.324) with five and 11. … Troubled ex-Ray Elijah Dukes, released by Washington in the spring, signed with Newark in the independent Atlantic League. … Given the current stadium debate, the Rays' decision to wear 1970 TAMPA Tarpons uniforms for the Aug. 13 Turn Back the Clock game undoubtedly will be an issue to somebody. … Kudos to the Rays Baseball Foundation for being named the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce's top not-for-profit business.

Got a minute? Dan Wheeler

Best meal you can make: Chicken tacos.

Favorite movie: Old School.

Must-see TV: NCIS.

Favorite band: Dave Matthews.

With wife Stephanie's permission, dream date: Scarlett Johansson.

Times staff writer Joe Smith contributed to this report.

Rays Tales: Tampa Bay Rays' All-Star accomplishments 07/03/10 [Last modified: Saturday, July 3, 2010 8:44pm]
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