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Spring training

Tampa Bay Rays: Dinner date of the day

Dinner date of the day

Manager Joe Maddon walked into a Punta Gorda restaurant (okay, the River City Grill) the other night, saw Evan Longoria eating alone at the bar and pulled up a stool. "We just ate together for about 45 minutes," Maddon said. "Real easy guy to have a conversation with, and it's a very mature conversation. And it is about team and it is about winning and what are we doing about this. He's really motivated to win and get back to the World Series. It's not about winning a Triple Crown or whatever — it's never individual when you're talking, it's always about the group. And that's impressive." Maddon, by the way, picked up the check.

Name game of the day

When minor-league C Nevin Ashley got married, he insisted his wife take his last name. And a result, she is now Ashley Ashley. "I said she had to take my name for pure shock value," Nevin said of the former Ashley Long. "She has fun with it. And when she goes on a job interview or something, she's way ahead because you know they remember her name.'

Did you know?

Ben Zobrist's wife, Julianna, is adding three new songs and will soon reissue her first Christian music CD, The Tree. The new ones can be heard at myspace.com/juliannazobrist and there's a video on youtube.com to go along with her new single Brave One.

List of the day

Baseball America had seven Rays — more than any other team — in ranking the game's 100 top prospects:

6. Desmond Jennings, OF

18. Jeremy Hellickson, RHP

34. Wade Davis, RHP

35. Matt Moore, LHP

54. Reid Brignac, SS

67. Tim Beckham, SS

68. Alex Colome, RHP

Ticket tale of the day

Regular-season single-game ticket sales start today for season-ticket holders and Thursday for fans registered as Rays Insiders. For the general public, sales start Friday at 9 a.m. via raysbaseball.com, and Saturday at the standard outlets including the Tropicana Field box office, Tampa team store (400 N Tampa St.) and Ticketmaster.

The dish

Today's first full-squad workout starts at 10 a.m. at the Charlotte Sports Park, 2300 El Jobean Road, Port Charlotte. Driving time from the bay area is 1½-2 hours. Suggested route: 1-75 south to Exit 179 (North Port/Port Charlotte). Turn right (west) on Toledo Blade Road. Go about 6½ miles (crossing U.S. 41) to El Jobean Road (S.R. 776). Turn right. Go about 2 miles, complex on the left. Workouts usually last 2½-3 hours. Admission and parking are free.

Heads-up

If the forecasted rain doesn't disrupt plans, the first real swings of the spring will be taken around 12:15.

Quote of the day

"Our starting five pitchers are the best starting five that anybody could put together."

3B Evan Longoria, on the overall rotation of James Shields, Matt Garza, Jeff Niemann, David Price and Wade Davis.

Number of the day

1,000 Innings, the goal manager Joe Maddon has set for his starting pitchers; they threw an AL-high-matching 970 (and a major-league most 16,074 pitches) last season.

Tampa Bay Rays: Dinner date of the day 02/23/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 23, 2010 9:17pm]

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