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Rays Report

Tampa Bay Rays: Cutting it close; April Fool's of the day

The dish

Rays vs. Orioles

When/where: 7:10 tonight; Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg

TV/radio: Sun Sports, Bay News 9 Español; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

Starting pitchers:

Rays: RH James Shields (13-15, 5.18 in 2010)

Orioles: RH Chris Tillman (2-5, 5.87 in 2010)

Promotion: Evan Longoria Gold Glove replica trophy to first 15,000 fans.

Watch for …

Bounce back: Shields believes improved mechanics will help him rebound from last season, when he lost a career-high 15 games and allowed an AL-high 34 homers. He is 7-4 with a 3.63 ERA in 19 starts against the Orioles, including 1-2, 7.06 last season.

Stepping in: Tillman, who won the final rotation spot to make his first opening-day roster, moves up a day for scratched LHP Brian Matusz (back). He is 0-2 with a 6.53 ERA in four starts against Tampa Bay.

Key matchups

Orioles vs. Shields

Vlad Guerrero 13-for-33,

2 HR

Adam Jones 11-for-25, HR

Luke Scott 12-for-31, HR

Rays vs. Tillman

Evan Longoria 4-for-9, HR

Ben Zobrist 3-for-11, 2 HR

Kelly Shoppach2-for-3, HR

On deck

Sunday: vs. Orioles, 1:40, Sun Sports. Rays — Wade Davis (12-10, 4.07); Orioles — Zach Britton (0-0, 0.00)

Monday: Off

Tuesday: vs. Angels, 6:40, Sun Sports. Rays — Jeff Niemann (12-8, 4.39); Angels — Jered Weaver (13-12, 3.01)

Wednesday: vs. Angels, 1:10, Sun Sports. Rays — Jeremy Hellickson (4-0, 3.47); Angels — Dan Haren (12-12, 3.91)

Note: All stats are from 2010

Joe Smith, Times staff writer

Cutting it close

RHP Wade Davis, who is having his head shaved by a young pediatric cancer patient after Sunday's game for "Cut for a Cure," said they're close to the goal of raising $10,000. The event benefits the Pediatric Cancer Foundation and Vincent Lecavalier Foundation. Fans can donate until May 6 at pcfcutforacure.org. Davis, who never has shaved his head, will get it cut on top of the dugout after the game. He said he's going to keep his beard. "I trimmed it up a little bit," he said, smiling.

Fools of the day

The Rays announced the "retirement" of longtime mascot Raymond on Friday. A new mascot, Sunny, appeared during the break before the top of the third. Sunny did a break-dance on top of the Rays dugout and was booed before Raymond popped onto the field with an April Fool's sign.

For starters

Friday marked the first opening day for a few Rays. LHP Jake McGee had never been to one, even as a fan. And it was OF Sam Fuld's first after three in Triple A. "It's a little different," Fuld said. "The Des Moines opening day isn't as nice."

Tampa Bay Rays: Cutting it close; April Fool's of the day 04/01/11 [Last modified: Saturday, April 2, 2011 12:06am]

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