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Tampa Bay Rays: Musical talents revealed, father-son reunion, B.J. Upton in ad campaign

New ad of the day

Rays CF B.J. Upton and brother Justin of the Diamondbacks are among five athletes featured in the New Era caps' national "Flagbearers" campaign.

Talent review of the day

Tuesday's annual team "talent show" provided laughs and entertainment, including a few songs (including Free Bird) from John Jaso (on guitar), Evan Longoria (drums) and Johnny Damon (some vocals). Chris Archer was a box of laughs, and Steve Vogt a solid emcee. The winner was minor-league OF Emeel Salem, who sang and played piano for an impressive medley. "We actually had some talent in the talent show," Jaso said. Added J.P. Howell: "He should seriously try out for American Idol."

Reunion of the day

Sean Rodriguez, above, got to spend a few minutes pregame with his father, John, a baseball lifer now managing a Class A team for the Cardinals, who share the Jupiter facility. "He got a little emotional because we were both on the field in uniform," Sean said.

Other guests of the day

Former Ray Greg Norton, now the Marlins' Triple-A manager, came over from the back fields to say hello, and manager Joe Maddon had a Lafayette College buddy and a former Boulder Collegians summer league teammate in the stands. There could be a big visitor tonight, with former NFL star Ed "Too Tall" Jones — a childhood friend of just-inaugurated HCC president Ken Atwater — invited to join the Rays for batting practice in Tampa.

Rays at Yankees

When/where: 7:05 tonight; Steinbrenner Field, corner of Dale Mabry and Martin Luther King, Tampa

Tickets: $17-$33, available via, Ticketmaster and at the stadium.

Radio: 620-AM

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

Pitchers: Rays — Chris Bootcheck, Mike Ekstrom, Adam Russell, Cesar Ramos, Jake McGee; Yankees — Phil Hughes, Boone Logan, Romulo Sanchez, Luis Ayala


Expect most of the front- liners to play tonight and Friday, then get Saturday off.

Who is this Ray?

His father is a minor-league manager in the Cardinals organization. His brother was a catcher in Nationals system and is now a high-school coach. He hit in every spot in the lineup last season but cleanup. He came to the Rays in trade.

On deck

Friday: Red Sox, 7:05. Rays — Andy Sonnanstine; Red Sox — Tim Wakefield

Saturday: at Twins (Fort Myers), 1:05. Rays — Jeff Niemann; Twins — Nick Blackburn

Sunday: Orioles, 1:05. Rays — Jeremy Hellickson; Orioles — TBA

Upcoming schedule

21: Yankees, 7:05

22: at Red Sox, 7:05

23: Phillies

24: at Astros

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: INF Sean Rodriguez

Marc Topkin, Times staff writer

20: Orioles

Tampa Bay Rays: Musical talents revealed, father-son reunion, B.J. Upton in ad campaign

03/16/11 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 5:50pm]
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