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Rays rail: Rays see themselves in Florida Gulf Coast

Comparison of the day

Florida Gulf Coast's remarkable run as a No. 15 seed into the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16 caught the attention of the Rays clubhouse. OF Sam Fuld tweeted they're like the "Rays of the NCAA tourney," noting how loose they play. Manager Joe Maddon said they're "really exemplifying the team concept. … It's really an incredible story," he said. "And it's fun to watch."

Kazmir's return

Ex-Rays ace Scott Kazmir, named the Indians' fifth starter Monday, is scheduled to make his first regular-season start April 6 at Tropicana Field. Kazmir, a two-time All-Star with Tampa Bay, hasn't pitched in the big leagues since 2011. More details at right.

Guests of the day

The Lafayette College club team was a guest of manager Joe Maddon, a former Lafayette catcher, before Monday's game. The players helped the Rays shag fly balls during batting practice.

Family matters

RHP Alex Cobb's older brother R.J., a commander in the U.S. Army, made a rare visit before deploying to Afghanistan in a few weeks. Cobb said they went to the Punta Gorda air show Sunday afternoon. "It was pretty cool," Alex said. They were going to have R.J. throw the ceremonial first pitch Wednesday at the Rays' home finale, but he may not as Cobb is starting the minor-league game.

Who is this Ray?

His father was a fighter pilot in Vietnam. He was born in Wichita, Kansas, and now resides outside of Orlando. He enjoys playing paintball with his sons.

The dish Rays at Phillies

When/where: 1:05 today; Bright House Field (601 N Old Coachman Road), Clearwater

Tickets: Reserved $14-34 Available through phillies.com, in person at stadium box office, or by calling (215) 463-1000. Parking is $10

Rays information: Toll-free 1-888-326-7297 (FAN-RAYS)

Pitchers: Rays — Roberto Hernandez, Cesar Ramos; Phillies — Raul Valdez, Michael Stutes, Jeremy Horst, Antonio Bastardo, Jonathan Papelbon

Heads-up

RHP Roberto Hernandez will make his last audition for the final spot in the rotation, as the team is expected to decide between him and RHP Jeff Niemann in the next couple days.

Joe Smith, Times staff writer

On deck

Wednesday: vs. Blue Jays, 1:05. Rays — Jeff Niemann. Jays — J.A. Happ

Thursday: at Orioles (Sarasota), 7:05. Rays — David Price. Orioles — TBA

Friday: at Tigers (Lakeland), 1:05. Rays — TBA; Tigers — TBA

Saturday: vs. Tigers (Tropicana Field), 1:10. Rays — TBA; Tigers — TBA

Who is this Ray? RHP Kyle Farnsworth

Follow our coverage all season on The Heater blog (tampabay.com/blogs/rays) and on Twitter @TBTimes_Rays.

Rays rail: Rays see themselves in Florida Gulf Coast 03/25/13 [Last modified: Monday, March 25, 2013 9:42pm]

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