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Tampa Bay Rays: Calendar shoot to involve players and their dogs; James Shields praises fill-in first baseman during pickoff demonstration

Doggie deed of the day

The Rays are doing a calendar of 12 players and their dogs. The project, being shot by James Shields' wife, Ryane, should be done next month and will benefit the Pet Pal Animal Rescue, a no-kill shelter in St. Petersburg. Among those featured will be Evan Longoria with Jango and Tatum; Shields with Marley; and David Price with Astro.

Fill-in of the day

ESPN The Magazine was in town Saturday to shoot photos for a story on RHP James Shields' pickoff move. With no players available, diminutive Rays communications director Dave Haller, who said on Twitter he was a "bad bullpen catcher" in high school, stepped in at first. "He did good," Shields said. "I thought he might get hurt. I hummed a few over there."



Rays vs. Pirates

When/where: 1:05 today; Charlotte Sports Park, 2300 El Jobean Road, Port Charlotte

Radio: 620-AM

Tickets: Reserved seats $19-$27, berm/boardwalk $12. Available at raysbaseball.com and Ticketmaster, Tropicana Field and Charlotte Sports Park box offices, Tampa team store.

Gates open: 11 a.m.

Directions: Driving time from the bay area is 1½-2 hours. Suggested route: I-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 10:30.

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

Pitchers: Rays — Jeff Niemann, Brandon Gomes, Joel Peralta, Fernando Rodney, J.P. Howell; Pirates — Kevin Correia, Justin Wilson, Daniel Moskos, Jared Hughes, Bryan Morris, Doug Slaten

Heads-up

RHP Brandon Gomes makes his first game appearance, having been delayed coming off offseason back surgery.

On deck

Monday: vs. Twins, 1:05. Rays — James Shields; Twins — TBA

Tuesday: at Orioles, 1:05. Rays — TBA; O's — TBA

Wednesday: vs. Marlins, 1:05. Rays — TBA; Marlins — TBA

Who is this Ray?

He grew up in Sebastian and pitched for the Gators. He made his big-league debut in 2009 for the Diamondbacks. He is the only current Ray who will get a 2011 World Series ring.

Upcoming schedule

All games 1:05 unless noted

March

15: Phillies

16: at Jays

17: at Pirates

18: Red Sox

19: Off

20: at Marlins

21: Yankees

22: at Pirates

23: Jays (7:05 )

24: at Twins ( 3:05 )

25: Marlins

26: at Twins

27: at Red Sox ( 1:35 )

28: Pirates (7:05 )

29: at Phillies

30: at Pirates

31: Red Sox

April

1: at Orioles

2: Twins*

3: at Twins

4: vs. Future Rays, 1:40 , at Trop

* Value game, $2 off

Who is this answer: RHP Bryan Augenstein

Marc Topkin, Times staff writer

Tampa Bay Rays: Calendar shoot to involve players and their dogs; James Shields praises fill-in first baseman during pickoff demonstration 03/10/12 [Last modified: Saturday, March 10, 2012 11:09pm]

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