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Tampa Bay Rays: Joe Maddon okay rooting for rival in NCAA Tournament; no sunburns yet on shaved heads

Hoop-it-up notes of the day

Manager Joe Maddon is a Lafayette man but said he was okay cheering for usual rival Lehigh in the NCAA Tournament. "Under the bylaws of the institutions both ways, if the other team is in the Big Dance, you're permitted to root for them under those circumstances only." … He also is impressed with USF's tenacious efforts: "(The Rays are) all about pitching and defense. It sounds like they might be about that, too."

Heads-up note of the day

Maddon said there have been no sunburn casualties among the newly bald players — heads shaved for charity — though he was serious about having them take batting practice without hats so they'd get some sun on their heads, in essence an all-over tan. "You don't want the top of your head being white and the rest of you is not," he said.

Quote of the day

"That was my first hit? For real?"

Carlos Peña, clearly unfazed by his 0 for 14 start before a triple Saturday.

The dish

Rays vs. Red Sox

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

TV/radio: Sun Sports; 620-AM

Tickets: Extremely limited number available. Reserved seats $19-$27, berm/boardwalk $12. Available through raysbaseball.com and Ticketmaster, at Tropicana Field and Charlotte Sports Park box offices, Tampa team store.

Gates open: 10:30 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 (FAN-RAYS)

Pitchers: Rays — Matt Moore, Kyle Farnsworth, Josh Lueke, Cesar Ramos; Red Sox — Clay Buchholz, Vicente Padilla, Justin Thomas, Scott Atchison, Jesse Carlson

Price check

With Moore making his first spring start, David Price will work in a minor-league game today in Port Charlotte.

On deck

Monday: Off

Tuesday: at Marlins, 1:05. Rays — Wade Davis; Marlins — TBA

Wednesday: Yankees, 1:05. Rays — Jeff Niemann; Yankees — TBA

Upcoming schedule

All games 1:05 unless noted

March

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, at Tropicana Field

* Value game, $2 off

Who is this Ray?

He is the only native Iowa player in Rays history. His dog is named after one of his favorite players growing up: Jeter. He won the 2012 AL rookie of the year award.

Who is this answer: RHP Jeremy Hellickson.

Marc Topkin, Times staff writer

Tampa Bay Rays: Joe Maddon okay rooting for rival in NCAA Tournament; no sunburns yet on shaved heads 03/17/12 [Last modified: Saturday, March 17, 2012 9:04pm]
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