Soaking it in
OF Josh Sale, the Rays' first pick in the 2010 draft, was excited to play his first game at the Trop and even got an at-bat for the big-league club in the exhibition. Sale, facing LHP Matt Moore in the seventh, grounded out on the first pitch. "It was cool, I'm just trying to get back up here as quickly as possible, that's for … sure," said Sale, who will start in extended spring. "I was soaking it up as much as I could."
Steal of the day
UTL Elliot Johnson stole third, then tried stealing home, in the fifth inning, saying he slid under the C Jose Lobaton tag even though he was called out. "I was in there," Johnson said. "It's a fun play, definitely gets your heart beating. Even in an intrasquad game, it's exciting."
Reaction of the day
When DH Luke Scott grounded out into the defensive shift in the fourth inning, hitting it to 2B Jeff Keppinger in short rightfield, he had fun by over-running first base and pretending to charge toward Keppinger. What was Keppinger thinking? "I thought about dropping my glove and giving him a left hook," Keppinger joked. "He's a character."
Fan tribute of the day
Fans of Rays LHP David Price were honored Wednesday night by Price at a special VIP party for raising more than $22,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters. The event was held at Pin Busters in downtown Tampa.
In the Rays clubhouse, CF B.J. Upton gets the corner locker used last year by Johnny Damon, 1B Carlos Peña gets his old locker (Sean Rodriguez's last year) and C Jose Molina and DH Luke Scott get doublewides (Molina in C Kelly Shoppach's old spot, and Scott in Upton's, next to 3B Evan Longoria).
Rays spring leaders
G: 28 Elliot Johnson/Jeff Salazar
Avg. (min. 40 at-bats): .327, Desmond Jennings
R: 11, Evan Longoria
H: 18, Jeff Keppinger
2B: 4, Johnson/Salazar/Ben Zobrist
HR: 4, Longoria
RBIs: 9, Longoria
SB: 4 Jennings/Salazar
W: 3, James Shields
SV: 2, Ryan Reid/Romulo Sanchez
ERA (min. 15 IP): 2.08, Shields
IP: 23, David Price
SO: 23, Price/Shields
Optional workout, 9:30 a.m., Tropicana Field. Closed to public.
Rays information: Toll-free 1-888-326-7297
Friday: Season opener, vs. Yankees, 3:10 p.m., Tropicana Field. Rays — James Shields (16-12, 2.82 in 2011); Yankees — CC Sabathia (19-8, 3.00). Sold out.
Saturday: vs. Yankees, 7:10 p.m., Tropicana Field. Rays — David Price (12-13, 3.49); Yankees — Hiroki Kuroda (13-16, 3.07)
Sunday: vs. Yankees, 1:40 p.m., Tropicana Field. Rays — Jeremy Hellickson (13-10, 2.95); Yankees — Phil Hughes (5-5, 5.79)
Tuesday: at Tigers, 1:05, Comerica Field. Rays — Matt Moore (1-0, 2.89); Tigers — Rick Porcello (14-9, 4.75)
Wednesday: at Tigers, 1:05, Comerica Field. Rays — Jeff Niemann (11-7, 4.06); Tigers — Justin Verlander (24-5, 2.40)
Joe Smith, Times staff writer