Rejoice! Real baseball has returned. There is only so much talking about baseball that one can do before he gets sick of it and longs for the real thing, and today we get our first taste of 2013 baseball as the Tampa Bay Rays will kick off their Grapefruit League schedule with a pair of split-squad games. Thank goodness.
Joe Maddon will stay home at the Charlotte Sports Park and manage one team against the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates, while Dave Martinez will head south to Ft. Myers and take on the rebuilt Boston Red Sox. Alex Colome will start in Ft. Myers while Roberto Hernandez will get the nod at home. At this early stage in spring training, pitchers will most likely pitch just one frame before giving way to relief.
The home games start at 1:05 p.m. The Rays-Red Sox matchup beings at 1:35 p.m. and the NESN TV feed will be available to watch on MLB.tv.
Per Mark Topkin, the lineups are as follows:
Home vs. Pirates: Fuld cf, Escobar ss, Johnson 2b, Molina c, Scott dh, Loney 1b, Myers rf, Gimenez 3b, Thompson lf
Away vs. Red Sox: Zobrist rf, Jennings cf, Joyce lf, Cust dh, Roberts 2b, S-Rod 3b, Duncan 1b, Lobaton c, Lee ss
Finally, in Rays baby news, the Longoria's officially announced the birth of their new baby girl, Elle Leona Longoria. Congrats, you crazy kids.