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Tampa Bay Rays: Joe Maddon says decision is hard to explain; Matt Moore still amazed at fast climb to majors

Quote of the day

"Believe me, man, I could sit here and try to go back and forth and none of it's going to make any sense."

Manager Joe Maddon, on the tough call between Jeff Niemann and Wade Davis for the final rotation spot.

Accomplishment of the day

Matt Moore started the 2010 season at Class A Charlotte and last year at Double-A Montgomery; now he'll open this season in the majors. "If that was something you asked me last year I would say that was pretty far-fetched," Moore said. "So I'm very excited about that."

0 of the day

The Rays were shut out for the third time this spring, matching their 2003 mark for most in the exhibition season. … The 8-0 loss matched their worst spring shutout, also to Boston, in 2001.

Payback of the day

Elliot Johnson and Matt Joyce are constantly on each other, and Joyce had been kidding Johnson that for being such a good athlete "he had an un-athletic swing." But then Johnson hit a massive homer Monday — and watched it go — and Joyce said he got the message. "I guess he showed me," he said.

Rays vs. Pirates

When/where: 7:05 tonight; Charlotte Sports Park, 2300 El Jobean Road, Port Charlotte

Radio: 620-AM

Tickets: Reserved seats $19-27, berm/boardwalk $9. Available through raysbaseball.com and Ticketmaster, at Tropicana Field and Charlotte Sports Park box offices, Tampa team store.

Gates open: 4:30 p.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 4.

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

Pitchers: Rays — David Price, Fernando Rodney, Joel Peralta, J.P. Howell; Pirates — Charlie Morton, Evan Meek, Chris Leroux, Jared Hughes

Heads-up

Rodney and Peralta complete their first back-to-back outings of the spring.

Who is this Ray?

He played for eight teams during 16 seasons in the majors. He was in uniform for the Rays 1998 inaugural game. He got the first hit in franchise history.

On deck

Thursday: at Phillies, 1:05 p.m. Rays — Jeremy Hellickson; Phils — Cole Hamels

Friday: at Pirates, 1:05 p.m. Rays — TBA; Pirates — Brad Lincoln

Saturday: Red Sox, 1:05 p.m. Rays — TBA; Red Sox — TBA

Upcoming schedule

All games 1:05 unless noted

APRIL

1: at Orioles

2: Twins*

3: at Twins

4: vs. Future Rays, 1:40 , at Trop.

* Value game, $2 off

Who is this answer: Bench coach Dave Martinez.

Marc Topkin, Times staff writer

Tampa Bay Rays: Joe Maddon says decision is hard to explain; Matt Moore still amazed at fast climb to majors 03/27/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 27, 2012 9:15pm]

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