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Tampa Bay Rays news and links: Fox Sports Sun to broadcast all 162 games

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Also, rule changes are coming

MLB: Spring Training-Tampa Bay Rays at Toronto Blue Jays Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Fox Sports Sun has announced that all 162 Rays games will be carried by the regional sports network, and that games will also be available on the Fox Sports Go app:

FOX Sports Sun, the exclusive television home of the Tampa Bay Rays, announced today the network will produce and televise all 162 regular season Rays games during the 2019 Major League Baseball season.

Dewayne Staats returns this year for his 22nd season as play-by-play announcer and will be joined in the booth by former MLB pitcher Brian Anderson. Staats enters his 42nd year broadcasting baseball, while Anderson enters his 11th season providing color commentary on our network. New to the booth for this coming season, FOX’s Kevin Burkhardt will serve as play-by-play announcer for a package of games. Former MLB player Orestes Destrade and former Rays pitcher Doug Waechter return as analysts, while Rich Hollenberg is back for his sixth season as host. Tricia Whitaker rounds out the broadcast team as the new lead in-game reporter.

All Rays programming – including games and studio shows – on FOX Sports Sun will be available on FOX Sports GO, the live streaming platform that showcases all of the FOX Sports Regional Networks’ events and studio programming through pay-TV providers.

You can follow most of the broadcast crew on Twitter:

Of note, the Rays have reached agreement on a new long-term TV deal, as principal owner Stuart Sternberg told the Times last month, but it has not been finalized due to the pending sale of the Fox regional networks.

MLB News

We need to start with the rule changes. Jeff Passan is reporting for ESPN that several new changes have been agreed to for the next two seasons.

Here’s a summary of the 2019 changes:

  • July 31 is the only trade deadline
  • All-Star Game election day
  • $2.5 million in prizes to players for HR Derby ($1 million to winner)

And here are the changes beginning in 2020:

  • Three-batter minimum for pitchers
  • 26-man rosters in regular season, limit of 28 in expanded September roster
  • “Position players will be allowed to pitch only in extra innings or when their team is ahead or behind by more than seven runs.”

Rays News

With two weeks remaining, Marc Topkin projects the Opening Day roster, with special attention given to Jalen Beeks’s stuff and Ji-Man Choi’s defense

Jake Faria might not be on the Opening Day roster as the Rays put him back on a five-day schedule, but that hasn’t stopped him or wife Jessica from doing their best o serve the community

Speaking of Jalen Beeks and Jake Faria, they and Baseball America top-10 prospect Moises Gomez on This Week in Rays Baseball, which remains required listening for Rays fans!

Neil Solondz is on the call today, you can send in your pressing Rays baseball questions via twitter:

The Rays rank well with the fifth highest defense projection, using projected fielding runs

Two-for-one: Avisail Garcia’s knee is 100%; Kiermaier understands the importance of the four-man shift

Finally, this is the best one-paragraph summary of the Rays I’ve seen.

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