The Nats aren't bringing any of their star players on the 3½-plus hour trip from Viera, but their travel squad does include two interesting names: INF Trea Turner and RHP Joe Ross, two promising young players who could have been Rays. The Padres gave the then-prospects up in the Wil Myers trade, but the Rays opted to send them on to Washington for OF Steven Souza Jr.
Today's exhibition opener is military appreciation day, with pregame ceremonies including a parachute team delivering an American flag and first-pitch ball. The Rays donated 300 tickets for Charlotte County-area veterans.
Quote of the day
"The lottery I'd like to win is for a first-round draft pick."
Principal owner Stuart Sternberg, joking about the Rays being picked to play in Cuba
The dish Rays vs. Nationals
When/where: 1:05 today; Charlotte Sports Park, 2300 El Jobean Road, Port Charlotte.
Radio: raysbaseball.com (signup required)
Tickets: Reserved seats $19-29, berm/boardwalk $10; available via raysbaseball.com, calling toll-free 1-888-326-7297 (FAN-RAYS) and at CSP or Tropicana Field box offices, team Tampa Store (400 N Tampa St.)
Gates open: 11 a.m.
Directions: Driving time from the bay area is 1½-2 hours. Suggested route: Interstate 75 south to Toledo Blade Road. Go west 6½ miles to El Jobean Road (SR 776). Go right 2 miles. Stadium complex is on left.
Parking: $10, lots open at 10
Rays information: Toll-free 1-888-326-7297 (FAN-RAYS)
Pitchers: Rays — Jake Odorizzi, Andrew Bellatti, Enny Romero, Blake Snell, Taylor Guerrieri, Mark Sappington, Eddie Gamboa; Nationals — Tanner Roark, Joe Ross, Austin Voth, Rafael Martin, Sammy Solis, Matt Grace, Wander Suero, Paulo Espino, Abel De Los Santos, Erik Davis
Though RHP Jake Odorizzi is starting, there will be lots of eyes on top LHP prospect Blake Snell, who, after making a strong impression early in camp, is slated to make his big-league exhibition debut in relief.
Thursday: vs. Orioles, 1:05. Rays — RH Erasmo Ramirez; Orioles — RH Miguel Gonzalez
Friday: at Red Sox (Fort Myers), 1:05. Rays — RH Chris Archer; Red Sox — RH Joe Kelly
Saturday: at Orioles (Sarasota), 7:05. Rays — LH Drew Smyly; Orioles — TBA
Rays tickets: Range from $10-29, available at raysbaseball.com, by calling toll-free 1-888-326-7297 (FAN-RAYS) and at CSP or Tropicana Field box offices, team Tampa Store (400 N Tampa St.). Prices increase to $15-$32 on March 12-13.
All games 1:05 p.m. unless noted.
6 vs. Twins
7 at Red Sox (Fort Myers)
8 at Tigers (Lakeland)
9 vs. Blue Jays
10 vs. Pirates
11 at Pirates (Bradenton)
12 vs. Yankees
13 vs. Red Sox, at Blue Jays (Dunedin)
14 at Braves (Disney)
15 vs. Phillies
17 at Phillies (Clearwater)
18 vs. Red Sox
19 vs. Orioles
20 at Orioles (Sarasota)
22 at Cuba
23 at Twins (Fort Myers)
24 at Yankees, 6:35 (Tampa)
25 vs. Twins
26 at Pirates, 6:05 (Bradenton)
27 vs. Blue Jays
29 at Blue Jays (Dunedin)
30 vs. Red Sox
31 vs. Pirates
1 at Braves (Disney), at Tigers (Lakeland)
Marc Topkin, Times staff writer