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Myers makes Rays spring debut

OUT OF JOINT: The second base bag gets pulled up as Pirates outfielder Starling Marte reaches ahead of new Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar’s tag during the fourth inning.
OUT OF JOINT: The second base bag gets pulled up as Pirates outfielder Starling Marte reaches ahead of new Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar’s tag during the fourth inning.
Published Feb. 24, 2013

PORT CHARLOTTE — RF Wil Myers started Saturday feeling a little nervous and ended it feeling pretty good. And that was without getting a hit.

The highly touted and oft-discussed prospect grounded out and walked in his Rays debut, admitting it felt a little different than playing with the Royals.

"New jersey on, a new team, a new field, but I was excited to be out there," he said. "And I thought it went well."

Manager Joe Maddon said he thought Myers, 22, looked comfortable in the batter's box against the Pirates and liked how he reacted after his third-inning ground ball. "I like the way he ran to first base," Maddon said. "I had not seen him move yet, so I thought he ran really well."

Myers was ahead in the count 3-and-0 his second time up, took a huge cut — "I kind of swung out of my shoes a little bit," he said — and ended up walking.

PITCHING IN: The first three Rays pitchers against the Pirates were impressive: RHP Roberto Hernandez retiring the side in order on 12 pitches (eight to the first batter), RHP Jeff Neimann doing the same on 11, and closer Fernando Rodney striking out all three batters he faced on 10 pitches, then shooting a "spring training" arrow. "They all looked really good," Maddon said.

CATCHING ON: C Robinson Chirinos was excited to return to duty, the irony not lost on him that it was in a game against the Pirates last spring when he was struck by a foul tip that led to a concussion that knocked him out for the season.

"It was wonderful just getting out there, playing, sweating, doing what I love," he said.

LONGO UPDATE: 3B Evan Lon­goria was back in camp, and glowing, after Wednesday's birth of daughter Elle Leona and immediately was back at work. Longoria said he'd ramp up his baseball activities and hoped to make his exhibition debut Monday, though Maddon said Tuesday was more likely.

Longoria said he planned to stay in camp but would work around off days for visits as the baby, born six weeks premature, might remain hospitalized in Boca Raton for several weeks.

Longoria said the name was a family matter, Elle (pronounced ELL) in honor of his mother, Mary Ellen, and Leona for girlfriend Jaime Edmondson's grandmother.

GAME DETAILS: In the 4-3 win over Boston in Fort Myers, Leslie Anderson's two-run homer in the eighth put the Rays ahead after RHP Marquis Fleming let the Sox tie it. … CF Desmond Jennings had two hits that led to runs. … LF Matt Joyce was hit in the back by a John Lackey fastball but stayed in. … RHP Brandon Gomes was sharp in a 1-2-3 second.

In the 3-2 loss to the Pirates in Port Charlotte, the Rays were shut out on two singles into the eighth. … LHP Mike Montgomery, acquired from the Royals, gave up two runs on five hits and a walk, though Maddon said it wasn't as bad as it looked in the box score.

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MISCELLANY: OF Brandon Guyer was held out of action due to general soreness in his legs. … RHP Kyle Farnsworth, who skipped a Wednesday batting practice session due to soreness, threw a bullpen and said he felt fine. … Attendance in Port Charlotte was only 4,436.


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