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spring training

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 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


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


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


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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