Even though we already knew what the final roster would look like on Friday night, here is an official look at the opening day roster of the 2010 Tampa Bay Rays.
Designated Hitter: Pat Burrell
Joaquin Benoit and Hank Blalock accepted assigments to Durham. Elliot Johnson also cleared waivers and will report to Durham. Benoit's stay is expected to be rather short while Blalock's is a bit more uncertain.
Blalock is definitely a nice insurance policy incase something happens to Carlos Pena (or Willy Aybar for that matter) or if Pat Burrell gets off to a slow start. It was only a few years ago when signing a player like Blalock would've been the significant move of the offseason and now he can't even crack the 25-man roser.
Andrew Friedman has said this is the most talented Rays' team ever and just looking at the depth on the bench and down in Durham, it's not just hyperbole.
Here are some opening day tidbits:
OPENING DAY SCHEDULE
Parking Lots Open 2:00 p.m.
Gates Open 4:00 p.m.
Rays Batting Practice 4:30 p.m.
Starting Lineups Announced 6:45 p.m.
First Pitch 7:10 p.m.
james Shields will throw the first pitch of the Rays season for the third straight year. He is the only pitcher in Rays' history to have that honor. In addition to Shields' third straight opening day start, Carl Crawford is making his eight, and most likely last, opening day start for Tampa Bay
Crawford holds the franchise record for most opening days, and is one of 13 players to have started the last seven opening days for his team. According to the Rays PR staff, Hank Blalock started eight straight openers with the Texas Rangers before this season.
The time is NOW, folks. The 2010 Rays, ichi-go ichi-e