ST. PETERSBURG Jeremy Hellickson got a bottle of cologne from his grandma, some cool new shirts from his aunt and a brand new watch from his girlfriend to mark his 25th birthday Sunday. But as presents go, the Tampa Bay righthander gave himself the best one of all and it turned out to be an equally nice gift for the Rays.
The reigning AL Rookie of the Year shackled the New York Yankees with a 3-0 shutout - the most dominant outing by a Rays pitcher ever against their AL East rival and helped his club complete a three-game sweep to start the 2012 season.
Well, so much for spring training.
Forget the rocky one Hellickson endured and ditto for the lackluster, injury-riddled exhibition season the Rays experienced. In fact, if ever there was a textbook example of how meaningless spring results can be, this is it.
Hellickson, who went winless during camp with an ERA of 9.00, was his wily, even-keeled self in his first start of the season, allowing only three hits over 8-23 innings...