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SPRING TRAINING

Tampa Bay Rays news and notes: Joel Peralta deceptively quick (sort of); James Shields can breathe easier; interesting tale of Cesar Cabral

Speed note of the day

RHP Joel Peralta looked pretty impressive Friday night, beating speedy former Ray Carl Crawford to first for an out. But the 34-year-old has no illusions about a straight race. "Not a chance," Peralta said. "I'm too old, I'm slow and I'm fat."

Shields of the day

The retirement of longtime Angels reliever Scot Shields, top left, should make life easier for Rays RHP James Shields, who gets asked about 20-25 times a year to sign the other's baseball card. "Hopefully I don't get called Scot anymore," James Shields said. "I figure I've got about five years in the big leagues now, I think it's about time people call me by my right name." James is 56-51, 4.25 over 977 2/3 IP; Scot was 46-44, 3.18 over 697 IP.

Waive of the day

Last weekend's waiver weirdness, when Rule 5 pick LHP Cesar Cabral was claimed by the Blue Jays then put back on waivers and reclaimed by the Rays, came with an explanation, the Toronto Sun reported. The Jays had a handshake agreement not to take any Red Sox players in the Rule 5 draft in return for interviewing several Sox coaches and eventually hiring John Farrell as manager. The Jays felt they could claim Cabral from the Rays (who had drafted him), but the Sox felt it still violated the agreement, so — after brief trade talks — the Jays instead gave him up, and the Rays got him back, for now.

Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out?

Rays manager Joe Maddon insists he's going to decline the invite to sing with childhood friend Willy Forte's B-Street Band — a Bruce Springsteen tribute group — during today's postgame concert.

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 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 10

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

Pitchers: Rays — Jeff Niemann, Adam Russell, Cesar Ramos, Jake McGee; Orioles — Brad Bergesen, Jim Johnson, Jeremy Accardo, Ryan Drese

Heads-up

The Rays aren't taking batting practice on the field today; most of the big names are expected to play, with Manny Ramirez in leftfield and Johnny Damon at DH.

Who is this Ray?

He named his dog Jeter in honor of one of his favorite players growing up. He was a 2005 fourth-round pick. He is the first Iowa native to play for the Rays. He was named 2010 minor-league player of the year by several publications.

Schedule

21: Yankees

22: at Red Sox

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: RHP Jeremy Hellickson

Marc Topkin, Times staff writer

Tampa Bay Rays news and notes: Joel Peralta deceptively quick (sort of); James Shields can breathe easier; interesting tale of Cesar Cabral 03/19/11 [Last modified: Saturday, March 19, 2011 9:28pm]
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