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Tampa Bay Rays' Pat Burrell touched by reception from Phillies fans in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA — Friday was billed as Pat Burrell Recognition Night, and it certainly was.

The Phillies recognized Burrell by handing out poster cards and showing a touching two-minute video tribute (including diving catches and blond hair!), and the 39,388 fans recognized the longtime leftfielder with a standing ovation before his first at-bat and cheers throughout the night.

And when it was over, after the Phillies' 3-2 win, Burrell recognized how much it all meant.

"It was pretty special," Burrell said. "I didn't anticipate that. It was definitely emotional. The fans — it was just really nice. It was something obviously I'll never forget. … It was awesome.

"There's a lot of time and memories here, and it just all kind of came up on me quick."

Burrell had an eventful night, going 1-for-3, singling in a run his first at-bat, walking and stealing a base in his third.

He talked before the game about how exciting it was to be back, how odd it was to be on the visitors side, how rewarding it was to help the Phillies finally win, how he was eager to get his World Series ring (he will attend Wednesday afternoon's ceremony, then fly back to Boston for the Rays' game), and how he will probably always consider himself a Phillie.

"We'll have to wait and see how things work out (with Tampa Bay), but I don't think I'll ever be able to replace the experience I've had here," he said. "I don't think there will ever be a place I can call home like here."

SUNDAY DECISION: Manager Joe Maddon said there likely won't be a final decision on the three pitchers — Lance Cormier, Jason Hammel and Jeff Niemann — competing for the final two spots until Sunday, when the Rays have to submit their 25-man roster by 3 p.m.

Cormier accompanied the team to Philadelphia, working two innings Friday, and it is looking like he is in line to make the squad as the long reliever. If that's the case, then it may be a matter of the Rays making the best deal they can for Hammel or Niemann, both of whom are scheduled to pitch in a minor-league intrasquad game Sunday in Port Charlotte. Since all three are out of options, they can't be sent to the minors without having to go through waivers.

"It's going to come down to Sunday, when those two fellows pitch," Maddon said."

GAME DETAILS: LHP Scott Kazmir looked "really sharp" in a three-inning outing, impressing Maddon with the balance and finish of his delivery, and crispness of his slider. "Everything felt like it was going toward the plate, and I knew were it was going," Kazmir said. "A nice little tuneup." … RHP Troy Percival had his seventh scoreless inning in eight appearances, allowing only a walk. … The Rays took a 2-1 lead into the ninth but got sloppy (actually several of the Durham Bulls players got sloppy) as the Phillies rallied for a 3-2 win. … LF Jon Weber misplayed a fly ball into a double, Winston Abreu walked two and missed a pickoff sign allowing Miguel Cairo to take an open base as SS Jason Bartlett and 3B Evan Lon­goria went to the mound, and Randy Choate walked in the tying run and gave up a single to Jason Donald for the winner.

MISCELLANY: B.J. Upton continues his rehab in minor-league camp in Port Charlotte, scheduled to play seven innings in centerfield and get four at-bats today, then DH in an intrasquad game Sunday. … No. 4 starter Andy Sonnanstine, who is scheduled for Friday's game in Baltimore, also stayed in Florida to pitch Sunday. … With the frontliners scheduled for only one at-bat today, and with the game being played under NL rules, the Rays brought 10 extra players: pitchers Jason Childers, Julio DePaula, Abreu and Choate; C Michel Hernandez; INFs Adam Kennedy, Chris Nowak and Ray Olmedo; and OFs Ray Sadler and Weber.

Tampa Bay Rays' Pat Burrell touched by reception from Phillies fans in Philadelphia 04/03/09 [Last modified: Saturday, April 4, 2009 6:19am]
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