Rays Report

Tampa Bay Rays: Ben Zobrist makes wish come true for ailing boy; Joe Maddon recalls visit by Lee Roy Selmon

Rays vs. Orioles

When/where: 1:40 today; Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg

TV/radio: Sun Sports; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

Promotion: Evan Longoria cereal bowl to the first 10,000 kids

Starting pitchers:

Rays:

RH Jeremy Hellickson (11-10, 3.01)

Orioles:

RH Jeremy Guthrie (6-16, 4.42)

Watch for …

Jeremy the kid: Hellickson has lost his past two starts but has been pitching well, allowing two earned runs or fewer in his past three. He is 3-1 with a 2.63 ERA in five career appearances (four starts) against the Orioles.

Good Guthrie: Guthrie is coming off back-to-back strong starts, giving up four earned runs over 13 innings. He is 6-9 with a 4.18 ERA in 19 career appearances (17 starts) against Tampa Bay.

Key matchups

Rays vs. Guthrie

Evan Longoria 10-for-32, HR

Matt Joyce 8-for-23, HR

Ben Zobrist 10-for-29

Orioles vs. Hellickson

Vlad Guerrero 1-for-5

Nick Markakis 3-for-14, HR

Matt Wieters 2-for-7

On deck

Monday: vs. Rangers, 1:10, Sun Sports. Rays — James Shields (13-10, 2.84); Rangers — Scott Feldman (1-0, 2.86)

Tuesday: vs Rangers, 7:10, Sun Sports. Rays — Jeff Niemann (9-6, 3.69); Rangers — C.J. Wilson (14-6, 3.28)

Joe Smith, Times staff writer

Guest of the day

Ben Zobrist said he was honored that 12-year-old Tampa native Parker Lentini picked meeting him as his wish for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. And after eating lunch and playing catch with Lentini on Saturday afternoon at the Trop, Zobrist was impressed by how the seventh-grader with systemic juvenile arthritis carried himself — and threw. "He said I can be a pitcher 'cause I can throw, but I can't catch," Lentini quipped. Lentini was also invited by manager Joe Maddon to take the first few questions of his pregame media session (for the record, Lentini is against the six-man rotation, wants a more stable lineup and believes the Rays can still make the playoffs). Smiled Lentini: "Best day ever."

A gentle giant

With Bucs legend Lee Roy Selmon still in the hospital following a stroke, manager Joe Maddon fondly remembered the time he invited the Hall of Famer to visit his team during the 2008 season. Maddon said the former NFL great gave a "soft-spoken" speech in the clubhouse that "had a lot of clout." "Outstanding, what a great guy," Maddon said. "We all pretty much pale in comparison. … He's a gentleman, he's soft-spoken, gentle, kind, you can't even imagine him being this violent football player."

Tampa Bay Rays: Ben Zobrist makes wish come true for ailing boy; Joe Maddon recalls visit by Lee Roy Selmon 09/03/11 [Last modified: Saturday, September 3, 2011 10:55pm]

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