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Rays journal: Foley to throw out first pitch, Robertson relieved, a split decision

Longtime coach Tom Foley gets the opening day honors.
Longtime coach Tom Foley will have first pitch honors on Thursday. (Times file)
Longtime coach Tom Foley will have first pitch honors on Thursday. (Times file)
Published Mar. 23, 2018

To kick off a season-long 20th anniversary celebration, the ceremonial first pitch at Thursday's opener against Boston will be thrown by Tom Foley, the longtime coach and current special assistant who has been with the organization since 1996.

Other opening day tidbits:

Belinda Womack, who sang at the 1998 inaugural game, will perform the anthem. … Expecting a 13th straight opening game sellout, the Rays said as of Friday “limited” tickets remain. … Angella Sharpe was hired as the new in-game host, having worked the past 11 years at St. Louis Blues NHL games. … Cash will no longer be accepted at team-run Tropicana Field parking lots, only credit cards and reloadable Rays cards.

 Robertson relieved

INF Daniel Robertson considered himself fortunate that X-rays of his left hand did not reveal a fracture after he was struck by a fastball from Orioles RHP Dylan Bundy during the game in Sarasota.

"Someone was watching over me, because that could have messed my hand up pretty good," Robertson said. "I got lucky."

Robertson was clearly frustrated, slamming his helmet on the dugout railing as he left the field before going to a local hospital for X-Rays.

Wearing a bandage on the hand when he returned to Ed Smith Stadium, Robertson said he has never been hit before by a pitch that caught all of his left hand, which is not protected when he bats.

He expects to return to action Sunday.  “My guess is I’ll be good to go,” he said.

Game Report: 6-1 loss to Orioles

RHP Ryan Weber, showed well for an eventual promotion to the majors, throwing four scoreless innings, allowing one hit, saying, "Everything was working." Weber will begin the year at Triple-A but with the Rays planning  to heavily involve the bullpen this season, he knows he could be called up, and showed his ability against the Orioles regular lineup. "It's in there," he said. … OF Mallex Smith had just two at-bats after playing nine innings Thursday. … SS Lucius Fox, a top prospect, was scratched from the lineup after sustained a bruised left knee when hit during batting practice.

Game report: 6-5 win over Blue Jays

After giving up five in a messy top of the ninth, the Rays (13-14-1) won Matt Duffy drew a two-out walk, Kevin Kiermaier singled and C.J. Cron blooped a ball to right-center that Toronto CF D.J. Davis apparently lost in the sun. … LHP Adam Kolarek allowed a three-run homer in the top of the inning after Cron's errant toss. … RHP Matt Andriese had his sharpest outing of the spring, working three hitless innings. … Competing now for a long relief job, LHP Dan Jennings allowed four hits in two innings. A trade also seems possible. … Warmed up INF Joey Wendle homered in raising his average to .341.

Staff writer Roger Mooney contributed to this report.