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Tampa Bay Rays: Jeremy Hellickson the standout in pitchers' batting practice; two dye beards black, because why not

Rays at Blue Jays

When/where: 7:07 tonight; Rogers Centre, Toronto

TV/radio: Sun Sports; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

Probable pitchers

Rays: RH Jeff Niemann (2-3, 3.48)

Jays: RH Brandon Morrow (4-1, 2.27)

On Niemann: Coming off his best start of the season, holding the Yankees to one run over 7 IP. Is 4-4, 5.11 in 12 starts vs. Jays, but has won only one of past six.

On Morrow: Dominating since April 18 loss to Rays, going 4-0, 0.65 in four starts, striking out 30, and walking 5, in 272/3 IP. Is 4-4-2, 2.92 in 13 games vs. Rays.

Key matchups

Rays vs. Morrow

Matt Joyce 5-for-17, HR

B.J. Upton 2-for-18

Ben Zobrist 4-for-24, HR

Jays vs. Niemann

Jose Bautista 5-for-19, 2 HRs

Yunel Escobar 0-for-11

Adam Lind 13-for-28, 3 HRs

On deck

Tuesday: at Jays, 7:07, Sun Sports. Rays — David Price (5-2, 2.98); Jays — Henderson Alvarez (3-2, 2.61)

Marc Topkin, Times staff writer

Postgame 'show' of the day

C Chris Gimenez and INFs Will Rhymes and Jeff Keppinger dyed their beards black after the game. Why? Because 1B Carlos Peña, during a mound meeting in the tense eighth inning, asked them to. "We're a creative club," Peña said. "Why not?" Rhymes said.

Batting practice 'show' of the day

Starting pitchers took their first batting practice on the field, and — naturally — took it very seriously, with new batting gloves, wristbands and bats. Jeff Niemann even wore eye black. Matt Moore (with five home runs) and David Price (with four, and two trots, though no somersaults) showed the most power, but Jeremy Hellickson, left — with sleeves cut off his T-shirt, and Price drawing MOM in a heart on his left arm — was the star. "He's the gold standard as far as handling the bat and hitting," pitching coach Jim Hickey said. "Head and shoulders above the rest. And look at his muscles."

Tampa Bay Rays: Jeremy Hellickson the standout in pitchers' batting practice; two dye beards black, because why not 05/13/12 [Last modified: Monday, May 14, 2012 12:05am]
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