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spring training

Tampa Bay Rays: Don Zimmer meets Zim Bear; bed bugs bite; Nevin Ashley's baby

The name game

Minor-league C Nevin Ashley and his wife, the uniquely named Ashley Ashley, are expecting their first child in August. They recently found out it's a boy and are considering a number of names. But had the baby been a girl? "We would have called her Junior," he said.

Friendly reminder

After taking his "victory lap" with the trophy for winning the Rays' fantasy football league, LHP David Price sent a photo with the trophy to last year's champion, C Kelly Shoppach, now with the Red Sox. "It's all fun," Shoppach said.

List of the day

Most homers since 2007 (players are listed with their current team):

Player Team No.

Ryan Howard Phillies 204

Prince Fielder Tigers 200

Albert Pujols Angels 195

Mark Teixeira Yanks 174

Miguel Cabrera Tigers 173

Carlos PeñaRays172

Who is this Ray?

He was a swimmer growing up in Venezuela with a chance to play water polo but opted for baseball. His older brother Thomas was a minor-leaguer with the Yankees. He was claimed off waivers from San Diego.

The dish

Today's workout for pitchers and catchers starts about 9:30 a.m. at the Charlotte Sports Park (2300 El Jobean Road) and lasts 2½-3 hours. Admission and parking are free. Driving time from the bay area is 1½-2 hours. Suggested route: I-75 South to Toledo Blade Road, go west 6½ miles to El Jobean Road (SR 776), go right 2 miles, complex is on the left. For more information, call (941) 235-5025.

Heads-up

Today is the last workout just for pitchers and catchers as the full squad takes the field for the first time Sunday.

Exhibition schedule

Rays tickets: $9/$12-$27, via raysbaseball.com, at box office, through Ticketmaster.

Info: Toll-free 1-888-326-7297

All games 1:05 unless noted:

March

3: at Twins

4: Twins

5: Orioles

6: Twins

7: at Yankees

8: Tigers (ss)

at Twins (ss)

9: Orioles

10: at Red Sox (7:05)

11: Pirates

12: Twins

13: at Orioles

14: Marlins

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, Tropicana Field

Who is this answer: C Jose Lobaton

Marc Topkin, Times staff writer

Zimmer meets Zim Bear

Senior adviser Don Zimmer has been a bit bewildered by all the attention the team's Zim Bear promo item has gotten. On Friday, they met face to face as the Rays had the model version sent to Port Charlotte for some photo ops. "I don't know what to think," he said. Manager Joe Maddon then opened his post-practice media session with the bear on his shoulder.

The bed bugs did bite

Director of baseball operations Chaim Bloom is looking a little better after a reaction to bed bugs at his — now previous — Port Charlotte rental left him with red bumps all over his body. "He looked," executive VP Andrew Friedman said, "like he had an intense acupuncture appointment go bad." Bloom and roommate Erik Neander, also a baseball ops director, moved out after the first night.

Tampa Bay Rays: Don Zimmer meets Zim Bear; bed bugs bite; Nevin Ashley's baby 02/24/12 [Last modified: Friday, February 24, 2012 8:56pm]
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