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Rays Report

Tampa Bay Rays news and notes: Derek Jeter welcomes rookie catcher Robinson Chirinos; Ben Zobrist receives 'Heart and Hustle' award; increase in AL attendance ranking

Rays at Royals

When/where: 8:10 tonight; Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Mo.

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

Starting pitchers:

Rays

RH Wade Davis (7-6, 4.25)

Royals

RH Luke Hochevar (5-8, 5.23)

Watch for …

Wading in: Davis makes his first start since going on the disabled list July 7 with a right forearm strain. He had won three of his previous five outings, allowing three earned runs or fewer in four of them. Davis is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two career starts against Kansas City.

Cool hand Luke: Hochevar is winless in his past three starts but pitched well his last time out, giving up one run over seven innings in a no-decision in Minnesota.

Key matchups

Rays vs. Hochevar

Johnny Damon 1-for-13

Evan Longoria 4-for-8, HR

B.J. Upton 3-for-10

Royals vs. Davis

Alex Gordon 1-for-3

Melky Cabrera 0-for-4

Mike Sweeney 1-for-3

On deck

Saturday: at Royals, 7:10, Sun Sports. Rays — Jeff Niemann (4-4, 3.94); Royals — Jeff Francis (3-11, 4.62)

Sunday: at Royals, 2:10, Sun Sports. Rays — Alex Cobb (2-0, 3.09); Royals — Felipe Paulino (1-3, 3.60)

Joe Smith, Times staff writer

Joking Jeter

Yankees SS Derek Jeter helped break the ice with Rays rookie C Robinson Chirinos, right, in his big-league debut Monday. When Jeter stepped in to hit in the first, he congratulated Chirinos, wished him well, then joked, "Take it easy on me." When Chirinos ripped a double to lead off the second for his first career hit, Jeter greeted him at second: "Is it that easy to get a hit?" Jeter, who has 3,010, told him the first is the hardest. "I was so happy," Chirinos said. "(There) couldn't be a better player to say those words than Derek Jeter. He was real nice."

Number of the day

25,107

Average attendance during the Rays' seven-game homestand (175,748 total), moving them from 14th to 12th in the American League attendance rankings for this season, passing Oakland and Kansas City.

Award of the day

INF/OF Ben Zobrist, right, was announced as the winner of the Rays' "Heart and Hustle Award." The award is given to one player from each big-league team by the MLB Players Association, voted on by alumni players. Rays senior adviser Don Zimmer presented Zobrist with the award before the game.

Guest of the day

Angelo Dundee, 89, the former boxing cornerman who worked with Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard, was manager Joe Maddon's guest pregame Thursday. Maddon said the two have become "great friends," and Dundee volunteered to help him promote boxing in his hometown of Hazleton, Pa. "He's very excited about it," Maddon said. "He could be a big part of what we're doing up there."

Tampa Bay Rays news and notes: Derek Jeter welcomes rookie catcher Robinson Chirinos; Ben Zobrist receives 'Heart and Hustle' award; increase in AL attendance ranking 07/21/11 [Last modified: Friday, July 22, 2011 12:51am]

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