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Tampa Bay Rays news and notes: Rays hitters better when more aggressive; Dan Johnson scales back on tickets for friends and family

Quote of the day

"It's just a nice little bear hug just like the one you get from your grandpa."

James Shields, offering further explanation of the hugging ritual between him and David Price

Rays at Twins

When/where: 8:10 tonight; Target Field, Minneapolis

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

Starting pitchers

RAYS

RH Wade Davis (2-2, 2.73)

TWINS

LH Francisco Liriano (1-3, 7.40)

Watch for …

Wading in: Davis beat the Twins at home April 15 and the White Sox on April 20, allowing one run over seven innings both time, working with less velocity and more command. His prior start at Target Field didn't go well as he allowed three homers, two to Jim Thome. Overall he is 1-0, 5.71 in three starts vs. the Twins.

Frank approach: Liriano hasn't been as sharp as during his 13-10, 3.62 2010 season, but he's getting there based on his last outing in Baltimore on Monday. A Friday rainout pushed him back until tonight, and for good reason: He is 2-1, 2.16 in five starts vs. the Rays.

Key matchups

Rays vs. Liriano

Kelly Shoppach 4-for-14

B.J. Upton 4-for-11

Ben Zobrist 1-for-7

Twins vs. Davis

Michael Cuddyer 2-for-8

Jim Thome 2-for-4, 2 HRs

Delmon Young 3-for-8

On deck

Wednesday: at Twins, 8:10, Sun Sports. Rays — Jeff Niemann (0-3, 7.08); Twins — Nick Blackburn (1-3. 4.01)

Thursday: at Twins, 1:10, Sun Sports. Rays — Jeremy Hellickson (1-2, 4.32); Twins — Scott Baker (1-2, 3.24)

Friday: vs. Angels, 7:10, Sun Sports. Rays — David Price (3-2, 3.19); Angels — Ervin Santana (0-3, 5.51)

Saturday: vs. Angels, 1:10, Ch. 13. Rays — James Shields (2-1, 2.35); Angels — Jered Weaver (5-0, 1.23)

Happy homecoming

1B Dan Johnson said he greatly enjoys playing at home in Minnesota (which he last did in 2007 with Oakland) and seeing all the friends and relatives who come out to the games. It was just paying for the tickets that was a bit problematic and something he won't do again. "It crushed me," he said. "I think we left 200-some tickets one game and 175 another. So it ended up being like a lot — especially when it's coming out of your paycheck."

Rankings of the day

2-3-13 Rays ranks among AL teams in fielding percentage, ERA and batting average.

Damon's hit list

A look at where Johnny Damon stands on the all-time list:

75. Steve Garvey 2,599

76. Ed Delahanty 2,593

77. Luis Gonzalez 2,591

78. Johnny Damon2,590

79. Julio Franco 2,586

80. Reggie Jackson 2,584

Source: Stats, Inc.

First things first

Remember that talk a couple of weeks ago about the Rays hitters being more aggressive earlier in the count? Well, it has worked out pretty well. While the Rays rank 27th overall in the majors with a .227 average, when they put the first pitch in play, they have a .391 average, tied with the Royals for second in the majors behind the Brewers (.394). The problem? On all other pitches, the Rays are hitting .205.

Tampa Bay Rays news and notes: Rays hitters better when more aggressive; Dan Johnson scales back on tickets for friends and family 04/25/11 [Last modified: Monday, April 25, 2011 9:12pm]
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