1. Rays

Tampa Bay Rays: Sean Rodriguez has personal stake in charity fundraiser; Jeff Niemann has personal connection to perfect game

Published Apr. 22, 2012

Rays vs. Twins

When/where: 1:40 today; Tropicana Field

TV/radio: Sun Sports; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

Probable pitchers

Rays: RH Jeff Niemann

(0-2, 4.50)

TWINS: LH Francisco Liriano

(0-2, 11.91)

Promotion: Rays Recycled Youth Hat to first 10,000 kids

Watch for ...

Standing tall: Niemann has lost both his starts, lasting five innings in each. But he has fared well against the Twins, going 3-0, 2.86 in six appearances (five starts).

Leaning left: Liriano has allowed 17 runs over three starts and lasted 21/3 innings in a loss to the Yankees his last time out. He's 2-2 with a 4.43 ERA in seven career starts against Tampa Bay.

Key matchups

Rays vs. liriano

Ben Zobrist 3-for-12

Evan Longoria 4-for-14

B.J. Upton 5-for-16

twins vs. nIemann

Danny Valencia 0-for-8

Denard Span 8-for-18

Justin Morneau 2-for-10

On deck

Monday: Off

Tuesday: vs. Angels, 7:10, Sun Sports. Rays — David Price (2-1, 4.20); Angels — Ervin Santana (0-3, 6.75)

Wednesday: vs. Angels, 7:10, Sun Sports. Rays — Jeremy Hellickson (2-0, 3.26); Angels — C.J. Wilson (2-1, 2.37)

Connection of the day

White Sox RHP Phil Humber, right, who threw a perfect game Saturday against the Mariners, was a college teammate of Rays RHP Jeff Niemann at Rice. Humber was drafted No. 3 by the Mets in 2004. Tampa Bay picked Niemann fourth.

Helping hand

INF Sean Rodriguez said he and his family had a great time participating in Saturday's Walk Now for Autism Speaks event at Raymond James Stadium. The cause hits home. His 2-year-old son, GoGo, was diagnosed with autism. Rodriguez said he spent part of the morning trying to keep up with GoGo. "It was awesome," Rodriguez said. "My little man is a runner."


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