1. Rays

With day off, Rays plan activities other than baseball

Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) signs autographs before a spring training game against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Florida Auto Exchange Stadium in Dunedin, Fla. on Sunday, March 5, 2017.
Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) signs autographs before a spring training game against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Florida Auto Exchange Stadium in Dunedin, Fla. on Sunday, March 5, 2017.
Published Mar. 6, 2017

PORT CHARLOTTE — If you are Kevin Kiermaier, today is for wedding planning.

If you are Alex Cobb, you are playing in the celebrity pro-am golf event at Innisbrook in Palm Harbor.

If you are Jake Odorizzi, you are home in St. Petersburg sifting through the mail that has collected since you relocated last month to Port Charlotte for spring training.

"You know," Odorizzi said, "the fun stuff."

The Rays are off today for the first time since camp began Feb. 14 for pitchers and catchers. It is the first of three off days this spring.

"I don't think we need a mental break yet, but it is nice," Cobb said. "We get to play baseball every day, which is awesome, but every time you do something every day, it wears on you a little bit, so just have a little break, a day to sleep in, a day to do some little things around the house. Getting your house prepared for the season. Stuff like that."

The Rays' schedule is accommodating for players who have homes in the bay area. The team was in Dunedin on Sunday to face the Blue Jays and plays Tuesday in Tampa against the Yankees. Add a night game Wednesday in Port Charlotte against Team Colombia and some players have a chance to spend four nights in their own beds.

That gives Evan Longoria a day to spend today poolside with his family.

"Just relax away from the field," Longoria said.

Most players arrive each morning at the Charlotte Sports Park clubhouse when the doors are unlocked at 7:30. That begins a day of weight training, batting practice, a game for those scheduled to play and more time in the weight room before leaving.

A typical day can run eight hours or more depending if they play in the game and for how long. The days grow longer as they get deeper into camp and play more innings in advance of opening day.

So, today is a rare no-alarm clock morning.

"I try to sleep in, but I get up anyway," Tim Beckham said. "I'm always up at 6:30."

Beckham said he might find some time today for fishing.

"I'm not that polished at fishing," he said. "I'd like to get better."

Nick Franklin plans include a run to the supermarket.

Luke Maile hopes to watch some college basketball while helping his wife, Paige, around their Palm Harbor home.

"I'll never say I need an off day, but when they show up, you want to use it to your advantage," he said. "There's never a bad time body-wise."

You might find Corey Dickerson and his wife, Beth Anne, at the zoo or the aquarium with their 2-year-old son, Davis.

"My whole day is spent (at the ballpark), so it will be all about him and my wife," Dickerson said. "Get him out, let him have some fun. Just forget about baseball for a day."

Steven Souza Jr. wants to spend today making his son, Micah, smile. "That's my favorite thing," he said. "He loves walks. Love to go on walks with him, and just holding him really, as much as I can. Letting him fall asleep in my arms is probably the coolest thing, the most rewarding thing I ever felt."

Micah turns 12 weeks on Wednesday.

Kiermaier and his fiancee, Marisa, became engaged on Feb. 11. Kiermaier reported early to camp a few days later. That means today is the first day in three weeks the happy couple can spend on their big day, though they have yet to set a date.

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"I'm going to take care of some wedding stuff," Kiermaier said.

"Making my fiancee happy."


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