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Tampa Bay Rays news and notes: Rays complete unique turnaround; manager Joe Maddon prefers his likeness

Rays vs. Angels

When/where: 1:40 today; Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg

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

Tickets: $12-$255 at Tropicana Field box office, Ticketmaster, raysbaseball.com, team store in Tampa, $3 surcharge within five hours of game.

Promotion: Joe Maddon bank to first 10,000 kids 14 and younger

Starting pitchers:

Rays

RH Alex Cobb (major-league debut)

Angels

RH Jered Weaver (6-0, 0.99)

Watch for …

First-time jitters: Cobb, who is 23 and has pitched just four games above the Double-A level, is being summoned from Triple A to make the spot start. He was 3-0, 2.05 for the Bulls.

Dream season: Weaver has been virtually untouchable, the fourth pitcher in MLB history to post a 6-0 mark by the end of April. He is 3-0, 2.92 in four starts at the Trop and 4-1, 2.27 overall vs. the Rays.

Key matchups

Rays vs. Weaver

Johnny Damon 5-for-30

B.J. Upton 3-for-14

Casey Kotchman 2-for-9

Angels vs. Cobb

None have faced.

On deck

Monday: Off

Tuesday: vs. Blue Jays, 6:40, FSN. Rays — Wade Davis (3-2, 2.73); Jays — Jo-Jo Reyes (0-2, 5.48)

Wednesday: vs. Blue Jays, 6:40, FSN. Rays — Jeff Niemann (1-3, 5.60); Jays — Brandon Morrow (0-1, 3.97)

Thursday: vs. Blue Jays, 1:10, Sun Sports. Rays — Jeremy Hellickson (2-2, 4.31); Jays — Ricky Romero (2-3, 3.00)

Marc Topkin, Times staff writer

Historical notes of the day

• The Rays are the first of the 46 teams that started a season 0-6 to finish April with a winning record (15-12). They are also the first team to do so after starting 1-8.

• This is the third winning April in team history; after the other two — 2008 and 2010 — the Rays went to the playoffs.

Promotional item of the day

Manager Joe Maddon was quite pleased with the look of today's giveaway bank, primarily because he thought it looks a lot more attractive than the real thing. "No question, the bank is much better looking than me," he said. "They did a much better job, and I appreciate the designer."

Gift of the day

Joe Maddon sent one of the banks, signed "Mad(don) Money" and stocked with a handful of Canadian coins, over to be placed on the desk of Angels manager Mike Scioscia, his friend and former boss. "I'll get something back at some point," Maddon said. "Maybe shattered, in a bag."

Tampa Bay Rays news and notes: Rays complete unique turnaround; manager Joe Maddon prefers his likeness 04/30/11 [Last modified: Saturday, April 30, 2011 10:12pm]
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