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Tampa Bay Rays: For ceremonial sake, Gift of the day, Familiar face of the day

For ceremonial sake

Gov. Rick Scott will throw the ceremonial first pitch before the Rays' season opener against the Orioles on April 1. He will be the second governor to throw out the first pitch at a Rays home opener, with Charlie Crist assuming the honor in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Gift of the day

Manager Joe Maddon received two bottles of homemade red wine pregame, delivered by Joe Pirrone, the owner of Mona Lisa Italian Restaurant in Fort Myers. Maddon said the restaurant was very helpful in one of his Thanksmas events over the winter, held at a Salvation Army in Fort Myers.

Familiar face of the day, part 1

Former Rays RHP Dan Wheeler, a native New Englander, said he has greatly enjoyed his time thus far with his hometown team, especially pulling on the Red Sox jersey for the first time. "When we started talking about it this winter, it started bringing back childhood feelings," Wheeler said. "Wearing the jersey every day, it's kinda cool."

Familiar face of the day, part II

Some 6- to 8-year-old kids in the West Pinellas Little League got quite a thrill when Wheeler, who still lives in the Tampa Bay area, took the mound for the coach-pitch portion of his son Gabe's game. "It was kind of funny, they tagged me for a couple runs," Wheeler said.

Rays vs. Phillies

When/where: 1:05 today; Charlotte Sports Park, 2300 El Jobean Road, Port Charlotte

TV/radio: Sun Sports/Raysbaseball.com audio

Tickets: Reserved seats $19-$27, berm/boardwalk $10. Through raysbaseball.com and Ticketmaster, at Tropicana Field and Charlotte Sports Park box offices and 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

Rays information: Toll-free 1-888-326-7297

Pitchers: Rays — James Shields, Cesar Cabral, Rob Delaney, Cory Wade; Phillies —Roy Oswalt

Heads-up

RHP Rob Delaney, a candidate for a bullpen spot, is scheduled to make an appearance. "I think he's got the right kind of makeup to be a consistent relief pitcher," manager Joe Maddon said. "… He's got a quiet confidence about him and I like it."

Who is this Ray?

This outfielder has played 52 career games with the Rays, making a huge diving catch against the wall against the Blue Jays during the 2008 season. The former Texas A&M standout spent last season in Triple-A Durham.

Upcoming schedule

March

25: Pirates

26: Orioles

27: at Pirates

28: at Yankees, 7:05

29: at Red Sox

30: vs. Blue Jays at Tropicana Field, 4:10

Who is this Ray answer: OF Justin Ruggiano

Joe Smith, Times staff writer

Tampa Bay Rays: For ceremonial sake, Gift of the day, Familiar face of the day 03/22/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 9:58pm]

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