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SPRING TRAINING

Tampa Bay Rays news and notes: Evan Longoria to host musician's release party; redfish elude manager Joe Maddon;home opener ceremonies

Music note of the day

Evan Longoria is lending his name to help Tampa singer-songwriter Daniel B. Marshall, right, — hosting his CD release party tonight at Jackson's Bistro on Harbour Island — because the third baseman likes what he has heard. Longoria and some teammates first heard Marshall play in 2008 at Tampa's 717 South, then followed him to the Dubliner for his twice-weekly pop-rock gigs. "I think he's unbelievable," Longoria said. "In that business it's just a matter of getting your material in the right people's hands. He's really good." Doors open at 10; $8 for women, $11 for men.

Matchup of the day

Manager Joe Maddon has tried fishing off the dock of his rented Punta Gorda house but got shut out the other night despite even checking the tide charts beforehand. "The matchups of me vs. the redfish weren't good," he said.

Pomp and circumstance

Friday's home opener will feature the raising of the 2010 AL East championship banner, the national anthem performed by saxophonist B.K. Jackson, the colors presented by 125 members of the St. Petersburg Police Department and a moment of silence for the three slain officers. Already announced, Gov. Rick Scott will throw out the first pitch.

Predictions

ESPN The Magazine picks the Rays to win the AL wild card, finishing second behind the Red Sox at 88-74 but a game ahead of the Yankees.

• Bodog.com posted its odds, and the Rays are 11-2 (and third) to be the AL wild card, 8-1 (third) to win the East, 11-1 (fifth) to win the AL pennant and 25-1 (ninth) to win the World Series.

Rays vs. Orioles

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

Radio: 620-AM

Tickets: Reserved seats $19-$27, berm/boardwalk $10. Available through raysbaseball.com and Ticketmaster, at Tropicana Field and Charlotte Sports Park box offices and Tampa team store.

Gates open: 11 a.m.

Directions: Driving time from the bay area is 1½-2 hours. Suggested route: Interstate 75 south to Exit 179 (Toledo Blade Road), go west 6½ miles (crossing U.S. 41) to El Jobean Road (State Road 776), go right 2 miles, complex is on left.

Parking: $10, lots open at 10.

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

Pitchers: Rays — Jeremy Hellickson, Juan Cruz, Cesar Cabral; Orioles — Ryan Drese, TBA.

Heads-up

Jeremy Hellickson, who missed the first two weeks of games with a hamstring issue, is still building up his pitch count with an eye toward starting the fifth game of the season.

Who is this Ray?

He threw two no-hitters in high school and was named a first-team All-American. He considered attending Florida State before signing with the Rays. His father is a college basketball referee. He owns a Rhodesian ridgeback dog.

On deck

Sunday: at Pirates (Bradenton), 1:05. Rays — David Price; Pirates — Paul Maholm

Who is this Ray answer: CF B.J. Upton

Marc Topkin, Times staff writer

Tampa Bay Rays news and notes: Evan Longoria to host musician's release party; redfish elude manager Joe Maddon;home opener ceremonies 03/25/11 [Last modified: Friday, March 25, 2011 11:00pm]
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