Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays' Pat Burrell looking forward to returning to Philadelphia

Pat Burrell talks with former teammate Ryan Howard during a Rays spring training game on Feb. 28 against the Phillies in Clearwater, where he got a nice reception from Phillies fans.


Pat Burrell talks with former teammate Ryan Howard during a Rays spring training game on Feb. 28 against the Phillies in Clearwater, where he got a nice reception from Phillies fans.

PORT CHARLOTTE — DH Pat Burrell said he doesn't know quite what to expect when he returns today to Philadelphia, where he spent the first 10 years of his career in the Phillies organization and won the World Series last season.

But Burrell knows one thing: He can't wait to find out.

"I can't lie to you and say I'm not looking forward to it, because I am," said Burrell, who signed a two-year, $16 million contract with the Rays as a free agent in the offseason. "I think it's going to be an exciting kind of thing.

"It'll be nice to play in the stadium, with all the memories and all that good stuff. It's going to be different, I'm sure."

Burrell's final at-bat at Citizens Bank Park was a double that eventually led to the winning run in Game 5 of the World Series against the Rays. He then led the Phillies' championship parade downtown.

Burrell, 32, received a warm reception from Phillies fans when the Rays played them in spring training, from many giving a standing ovation in his first at-bat to autograph seekers flocking the visitor's dugout to chat with him; they are memories he said he'll never forget.

In March, he took out ads in Philadelphia's two main newspapers, thanking fans for their support in his career.

Burrell isn't sure if he will get the same treatment today.

"I'm just looking forward to the experience," he said. "I just don't know how it's going to turn out."

TUNE-UP: LHP Scott Kazmir makes his final spring start tonight at Citizens Bank Park, where he made his final one last season, in Game 5 of the World Series.

Kazmir said returning to Philadelphia is "fitting," and he hopes to just build off his last outing — arguably his best of the spring — in what will likely be a 50-60 pitch start.

"I'm just going to work on my fastball location and not try to do anything different, just get my routine down," he said. "That's what spring training is all about.

"So much of it is getting your arm in shape, but for the most part, it's getting into your routine."

WISE MOVE: LHP J.P. Howell has joked that this past month has been like a vacation, as he has pitched only five innings in spring training, partly due to his light workload in the World Baseball Classic (3 1/3 innings in a three-week stretch). The Rays had planned to ease Howell into camp, as the left-hander is coming off a season in which he tied for the major-league lead in relief innings pitched (89 1/3). Howell said the extra rest has paid off.

"I feel like this was the smart way to go about it," Howell said. "It happened all through luck and timing, the main thing was it's almost like I had my full rest even though we had a long season last year. The main thing is I was able to heal up."

upton update: CF B.J. Upton went 0-for-5 as DH in a minor-league exhibition Thursday. He'll be off today and then play seven innings in another exhibition Saturday (with five at-bats) and be DH Sunday.

On the bus: Beginning April 17, ESCOT Bus Lines will add three routes to provide transportation to and from Tropicana Field for Friday home games (routes service Pinellas, Hillsborough and Sarasota/Manatee counties). For more information, check or call toll-free 1-888-571-7778.

Joe Smith can be reached at

Tampa Bay Rays' Pat Burrell looking forward to returning to Philadelphia 04/02/09 [Last modified: Friday, April 3, 2009 6:39am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays have their chances, but end up with another loss (w/video)

    The Heater

    TORONTO — The litany of games the Rays have given away this season is long enough, arguably too lengthy. So the only way to get to the postseason is make up for some of those losses by grabbing some wins when the opportunity is presented, especially at this time of year when the margin is diminished and the stakes …

    Associated Press
  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Blue Jays game

    The Heater

    You wonder if the scouting reports and/or workload are catching up to rookie RHP Jake Faria. The bottom line wasn't bad again, three runs in 51/3 innings, but he's having to work harder to get there.

  3. Rays journal: Chris Archer eager for eventful final stretch

    The Heater

    TORONTO — RHP Chris Archer takes the mound today for the Rays as they head into the final 40 games of the season with little margin for error as they battle for an American League playoff spot.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) takes a moment on the mound in the second inning of the game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, August 6, 2017.
  4. Tim Tebow's slump continues, as does fan support


    CLEARWATER — On July 29, playing against the Charlotte Stone Crabs, Tim Tebow smacked a mammoth three-run homer, helping the St. Lucie Mets cruise to a 10-3 victory at Charlotte Sports Park.

    St. Lucie’s Tim Tebow, shown Monday at Spectrum Field, struggled at the plate Wednesday against the Threshers.
  5. Rays at Blue Jays, 4:07 p.m. Thursday

    The Heater

    Today: at Blue Jays

    4:07, Rogers Centre, Toronto

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

    Rays info: Toll-free 1-888-326-7297

    Probable pitchers

    Rays: RH Chris Archer (8-7, 3.84)

    JAYS: RH Chris Rowley (1-0, 1.69)