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Rays Report

Tampa Bay Rays: Sam Fuld look-alike contest; Montgomery excited for Evan Longoria

Rays at Twins

When/where: 1:10 and 8:10 today, Target Field, Minneapolis

TV/radio: Sun Sports; 620-AM for first game, 970-AM and 680-AM (Spanish) for second game

Starting pitchers, Game 1

Rays: RH Jeremy Hellickson (1-2, 4.32)

Twins: RH Nick Blackburn (1-3. 4.01)

Watch for ...

Third look: Hellickson makes his third start vs. Twins, having gone 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA. He hasn't faced any other team more than once.

Burned: Blackburn has had problems with the Rays, posting a 2-3, 6.41 career mark, including a rough start at the Trop on April 15.

Key matchups

Rays vs. Blackburn

Johnny Damon8-for-25, 2 HR

Kelly Shoppach8-for-15, 3 HR

Twins vs. Hellickson

Jason Kubel3-for-5, 2 HR

Jim Thome0-for-6

Starting pitchers, Game 2

Rays: RH Jeff Niemann (0-3, 7.08)

Twins: RH Anthony Swarzak (0-0, 0.00)

Standing tall: Niemann has not been sharp since going on the DL in August with a 1-8, 8.94 mark in 11 games.

Shuffled deck: The Twins were going to start Scott Baker. Then it was Eric Hacker before he pitched Wednesday. Now it's Swarzak, who will make his first appearance since 2009, when he went 3-7, 6.25 in 12 starts.

Key matchups

Twins vs. Niemann

Denard Span7-for-15

Jim Thome1-for-9, HR

Contest of the day

The legend just keeps growing. Ferg's Sports Bar and Grill, located across from the Trop, is hosting a Sam Fuld look-a-like contest from 7 to 9 tonight with four tickets to Friday's game as first prize. "Tell people to wear their capes," owner Mark Ferguson said.

Big deal of the day

Not that they're too excited to have 3B Evan Longoria rehabbing at Double-A Montgomery this weekend, but the Biscuits are opening the stadium gates nearly two hours earlier than normal — at 4 p.m. today and Friday — and opening some concession stands for the sole purpose of allowing fans to watch him take batting practice.

Damon's hit list

Where Johnny Damon stands on the all-time list:

75. Steve Garvey2,599

76. Ed Delahanty2,593

77. Johnny Damon2,591

77. Luis Gonzalez2,591

79. Julio Franco2,586

80. Reggie Jackson2,584

Source: Stats Inc.

April powers?

Best April records after an 0-6 start:

2011 Rays11-5*.688

1991 Mariners10-11.476

1997 Cards11-14.440

1950 Reds4-6.400

1905 Dodgers6-9.400

* Through Tuesday

Tampa Bay Rays: Sam Fuld look-alike contest; Montgomery excited for Evan Longoria 04/27/11 [Last modified: Thursday, April 28, 2011 6:54am]
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