ATLANTA — Growing up a half-hour or so from downtown Atlanta, Tim Beckham saw Turner Field as a shrine, relishing the opportunities to attend games there, watching countless times on TV, his mind always racing ahead.
"One day I might be playing in this stadium," he said. "I dreamed about playing in this stadium. There's a lot of history in the Braves stadium. I witnessed a lot of history there. It's an honor to play at Turner Field."
Beckham, 25, finally will get to do so for the first time tonight, nearly seven years since the Rays made him the No. 1 pick in the 2008 draft out of Griffin High. His parents, brothers and dozens of other relatives and friends will be there to watch.
"It's going to be fun, it's going to be exciting," he said. "I'm looking forward to it. It's been a while since I got to play in front of a lot of hometown fans."
Beckham, though, might not get to play much. After an impressive start to his first extended big-league opportunity, Beckham has struggled, just 4-for-his-last-37. He's hitting .213 with a .258 on-base percentage overall, though tied for the second-most homers (four) and RBIs (15) on the team.
With INF Nick Franklin coming off the disabled list Sunday, Beckham could be headed back to Triple A if the Rays opt after these two NL-rules games to return to carrying eight relievers.
"I never want to think I made it because I never want to get complacent with where I'm at," Beckham said. "Every time you take the field, you want to do the best you can, you want to do better than the next guy.
"I love to win. I love to get the big hits. I love to be put in the big situations. I just want to keep helping this team win games."
ERASMO READY: RHP Erasmo Ramirez welcomed the chance to stay in the rotation, aiming to build off his solid Thursday start against the Yankees (one hit, five innings).
"This is another opportunity to continue what I've been doing," he said of tonight's start against the Braves. "Try to keep the ball down. They're aggressive swingers, kind of like a young team. But I have to pitch by my strengths."
More challenging will be having to hit, given his 0-for-6 career mark: "I have to remember my job is to pitch, not to hit. That's something that's on your mind."
MEDICAL MATTERS: LHP Matt Moore (Tommy John surgery) said he felt good after throwing 31 pitches to eight batters in a simulated two-inning game in Port Charlotte on Monday, striking out three. After a Wednesday bullpen session, a decision will be made if he does another simulated game or throws in an extended spring game, the likely last step before starting a rehab assignment. … LHP C.J. Riefenhauser, on the DL with shoulder inflammation, threw 21 pitches in the simulated game.
MINOR MATTERS: Double-A Montgomery LHP Blake Snell ran his season-starting scoreless streak to 46 innings with six more zeroes against a prospect-heavy Chattanooga (Twins) lineup. He is 3-0 since his promotion from advanced Class A Charlotte, and over the 46 innings he has allowed only 18 hits, with 54 strikeouts and 19 walks. … Class A Bowling Green RHP Brent Honeywell threw seven no-hit innings Sunday, improving to 3-2, 1.66, with a .155 opponents average. … RHP Taylor Guerrieri, recovered from his 2013 Tommy John surgery, pitched three shutout innings Monday for the Stone Crabs in his first 2015 start. The Rays' top pick in 2011 allowed one hit and struck out two.
MISCELLANY: This is the Rays' first visit to Turner Field since 2010; they are 3-6 there, 7-17 overall vs. the Braves, losing seven of the eight series. … Former Rays OF Jonny Gomes is hitting .190-3-9 for the Braves, INF/OF Kelly Johnson is on the DL.