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Tampa Bay Rays news and notes: Joe Maddon, popular with players, recalls being popular at a ninth-grade dance

Rays vs. Tigers

When/where: 1:10 today, Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg

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

Tickets: $9-$210 at box office, Ticketmaster, raysbaseball.com, team store in Tampa; $3 surcharge within five hours of game.

Starting pitchers:

Rays: RH Jeremy Hellickson (11-8, 3.04)

Tigers: RH Doug Fister (5-13, 3.49)

Watch for ...

Jeremy the kid: Hellickson is coming off a solid eight-inning outing vs. Seattle and has been strong at home, going 5-2 with a 1.84 ERA in his last eight Trop starts. He is 1-1, 1.35 in two starts against the Tigers.

Doing the Dougie: Fister, 2-1 with a 4.57 ERA in four starts since being acquired from Seattle, beat Cleveland in his last start. He is 1-2, 3.79 in four games against the Rays, including 1-1, 4.09 at the Trop.

Key matchups

Rays vs. Fister

Johnny Damon 5-for-17

Matt Joyce 1-for-6, HR

Ben Zobrist 5-for-11

Tigers vs. Hellickson

Brennan Boesch 2-for-6

Austin Jackson 2-for-6

Delmon Young 2-for-6

On deck

Friday: at Blue Jays, 7:07, Sun Sports. Rays — James Shields (11-10, 3.05); Jays — Henderson Alvarez (0-1, 4.32)

Saturday: at Blue Jays, 1:07, Sun Sports. Rays — Jeff Niemann (8-5, 3.41); Jays — Luis Perez (3-2, 3.26)

Sunday: at Blue Jays, 1:07, Sun Sports. Rays — David Price (11-11, 3.53); Jays — Brandon Morrow (9-8, 4.65)

Monday: at Blue Jays, 7:07, Sun Sports. Rays — Wade Davis (8-7, 4.28); Jays — Ricky Romero (12-9, 2.73)

Marc Topkin, Times staff writer

Maddon is players' choice

Joe Maddon was blushing a bit upon hearing he was the top choice in Sports Illustrated's poll of players as the manager they'd most like to play for. Maddon had 14 percent of the 291 votes and the Red Sox's Terry Francona 12, followed by the Tigers' Jim Leyland, Angels' Mike Scioscia and Reds' Dusty Baker. "My first response is it's really a humbling thought," he said. "The second one is that it means we're doing a lot of things right here … and I want to emphasize the word we there."

Flashing back

Joe Maddon said the manager vote was his first such honor since being voted King of Hearts as a ninth-grader for a dance at D.A. Harmon Junior High in Hazleton, Pa. "I told my mom you're not permitted to come and she showed up (anyway)," he said. "And I had to do the first dance in front of everybody in the gym."

Tampa Bay Rays news and notes: Joe Maddon, popular with players, recalls being popular at a ninth-grade dance 08/24/11 [Last modified: Thursday, August 25, 2011 12:27am]
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