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Tampa Bay Rays: Exhibition of the day; honorary coach of the day; prank of the day

Exhibition of the day

RHP Andy Sonnanstine, left, invited down some of his friends from the St. Petersburg Beach-based Sunrise Table Tennis League, where he played this winter, to stage a Saturday morning exhibition in the batting cages, with David Price, Elliot Johnson, Johnny Damon and manager Joe Maddon among those picking up a paddle. Of Sonnanstine, STTL member Phil Gehres said: "He's very good. He didn't tell anybody he was a Ray, and he just fit right in."

ON THE WEB: Watch video of the exhibition at tampabay.com/blogs/rays.

Honorary coach of the day

Former Cubs All-Star Glenn Beckert, far left, who lives near Port Charlotte, was in uniform as a guest of Maddon and Rays senior adviser Don Zimmer, right, and spoke briefly to the team. For prep, Maddon left a copy of the four-time All-Star's career stats on the chairs of 2B Sean Rodriguez and SS Reid Brignac.

Prank of the day

After minor-league INF Tyler Bortnick got a little too cocky in his Facebook comments about getting a hit off Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon in a minor-league game, he got hazed by the big-leaguers. The Rays summoned him to the outfield for the morning stretch, put him in a jersey with his screen nickname WHAMMYYY on the back and had Manny Ramirez ask him to sign a ball and Ray Olmedo shine his shoes and bring him water. "It was all in good fun," manager Joe Maddon said. "And he did a great job with how he reacted to the whole thing." Bortnick handled it so well, Maddon invited him to stay with the Rays for the game.

Awards of the day

Neil Allen, promoted to be the Triple-A pitching coach, was named the team's player development man of the year for his 2010 work at Class A Charlotte. Milt Hill, who covers Alabama, Georgia and parts of Florida and Tennessee, was named scout of the year.

Rays at Pirates

When/where: 1:05 today; McKechnie Field, 1611 9th St. W, Bradenton

Tickets: $10-20, available by calling (877) 293-2827, via pirates.com and at the stadium.

Rays information: Toll-free 1-888-326-7297 (FAN-RAYS)

Pitchers: Rays — David Price, Cesar Ramos, Adam Russell, Andy Sonnanstine; Pirates — Paul Maholm, TBA

Heads-up

Russell made some adjustments to his delivery and slider and worked in a minor-league game; the Rays will be eager to see how it looks today.

Who is this Ray?

He was not drafted out of high school, went to junior college then a four-year school. He studied criminology in college. He is one of six players in major-league history to get an at-bat in an All-Star Game and a World Series as a rookie. He apparently lost his cap.

On deck

Monday: at Yankees (Tampa), 7:05. Rays — James Shields; Yankees — TBA

Tuesday: at Red Sox (Fort Myers), 1:05. Rays — Wade Davis; Red Sox — TBA

Wednesday: Blue Jays, at Tropicana Field, 4:10. Rays — Jeff Niemann; Blue Jays — TBA

Thursday: Off

Regular season

Friday: vs. Orioles, 7:10. Rays — David Price; O's — Jeremy Guthrie

Saturday: vs. Orioles, 7:10. Rays — James Shields; O's — Brian Matusz

Sunday: vs. Orioles, 1:40. Rays — Wade Davis; O's — TBA

Who is this Ray answer: 3B Evan Longoria

Marc Topkin, Times staff writer

Tampa Bay Rays: Exhibition of the day; honorary coach of the day; prank of the day 03/26/11 [Last modified: Saturday, March 26, 2011 10:13pm]

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