PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. The games will begin.
The Tampa Bay Rays start their fifth Grapefruit League season in Charlotte County by hosting the Pittsburgh Pirates at 1:05 p.m. Saturday at Charlotte Sports Park. Its part of split-squad action for them, as theyll also field a team at 1:35 p.m. Saturday against the Boston Red Sox in Fort Myers, Fla.
The day begins a slate of 35 spring training contests for Tampa Bay. The meeting against the Pirates is the first of 17 spring training home games against major-league opponents, the most in club history.
The primary thing that I always want to accomplish right now is to get the message out there that everybody understands what we do and how we do things, especially the guys that are coming in, Rays manager Joe Maddon said. We really rely on the guys who have been here to carry the message, which theyve done a tremendous job with. Primarily, this has been message time.
It also is a time to learn about some new faces. Right-hander Robert...