St. Petersburg Times
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Schedule
The Trop
The Trop
Getting to the Trop
Best routes
Parking
Interactive
Rays forum
The art of pitching
Links
Devil Rays' official home site
Talk baseball in our Devil Rays forum



Print storySubscribe to the Times

Spring Training 2004

Japanese players have major task ahead

By MARC TOPKIN
Published March 27, 2004

TOKYO - The games are technically just late-spring exhibitions, but the atmosphere will be a lot more like the postseason when the Devil Rays face the Hanshin Tigers and Yomiuri Giants.

For the Tigers and Giants, and for their Japanese baseball fans, this is a rare chance to see how they measure up to the big leagues.

"They want to show they can play with a major-league team," Rays manager Lou Piniella said.

The defending Central League champ Tigers, who play the Rays at 10 tonight Tampa Bay time, feature former big-leaguers Mike Kinkade, George Arias and Jerrod Riggan, and a handful of top Japanese players. Hideki Irabu is the scheduled pitcher. The Giants, considered the Yankees of Japanese baseball, added home run champion Tuffy Rhodes. They play the Rays on Monday morning.

"They're going to take it real seriously," said Rays infielder/outfielder Eduardo Perez, who left-handed reliever Bobby Seay cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Durham. Seay, signed to a $3-million bonus as a draft loophole free agent, has pitched in only 24 big-league games.

SIGN OF THINGS TO COME?: The Rays finished the shortened spring with the best average attendance in their history, 4,880 a game. More interesting, they surpassed the mark (4,452 in 1998) with no home games against the popular Yankees, Red Sox or Braves.

LONGER DAY: As if playing a home spring training game and then traveling 21-plus hours wasn't enough, equipment manager Chris Westmoreland and assistant Guy Gallagher had to go straight from the airport to the Tokyo Dome to set up the clubhouse for the Saturday workout and to make sure the laundry from Thursday's game was done.

GRACIOUS GUESTS: The Rays have played 58 games outside the United States and are 22-36. That includes 18-30 in Toronto, 2-4 in Montreal, 1-1 in exhibitions in Mexico City and 1-1 in exhibitions in Venezuela.

MEMORIES: Perez is writing a daily diary of the trip on the team Web site, www.devilrays.com

[Last modified March 27, 2004, 02:10:29]

Today's lineup
Rays>
'We're tired but excited'
Japanese players have major task ahead

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Lightning>
Kubina clearly enjoying the moment

Other sports

Arena league
  • Dude, the Storm is glad it has this Dell

  • College basketball
  • Xavier continues to justify its confidence
  • Duke one step from customary Final Four
  • Kansas breaks UAB press
  • Minus top weapon, Georgia Tech still fends off stubborn Nevada
  • Hawks backcourt might meet match in OSU
  • Women: Baylor turmoil leaves women undaunted
  • Women: Purdue's little giant
  • Two-year struggle costs Miami coach
  • UConn guard's critics out of fuel

  • College football
  • Bulls RB practicing again after his arrest

  • Golf
  • Kelly has been in this spot before at Players
  • To the Kraft Nabisco victor goes the antibiotics
  • Woods stretches cuts-made streak to 120

  • In brief
  • Serena shines; game is good too

  • Motorsports
  • Newman is fastest yet again
  • Site notable after being junked

  • NBA
  • McGrady out; Magic loses

  • NFL
  • Washington opening act: a gag on Gibbs

  • NHL
  • New Jersey bounces back with shutout

  • Outdoors
  • Daily fishing report

  • Parimutuels
  • Top dog back on his paws

  • Preps
  • Bulls, Ravens reach Spring Fling semis
  • CCC's rally falls one step short
  • Cougars reach Spring Fling semis
  • Knight boys, Bulldog girls win
  • Panthers prevail in marathon
  • Tiger doesn't mind second
  • Warhawks win Georgiadis in rout
  • Wildcat duo frustrated

  • Skating
  • Cohen takes lead; penalty all but ends Kwan's world title bid

  • Spring Training 2004
  • Halladay struggles for Jays
  • Urbina signs with Tigers
  • Back to Top

    © 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
    490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
     


     Devil Rays Forums
    From The Wire
  • Players, teams start rush to settle in arbitration
  • AP source: Yankees sign free agent RHP Kuroda
  • AP source: Pineda, Montero in Yanks-Mariners swap
  • Resop, Pirates agree to a one-year deal
  • Zambrano says he's happy with trade to Marlins
  • Report: UK police officer loses Olympics documents
  • Jayhawks send Baylor to first loss of season
  • No. 1 Syracuse at 20-0 after 71-63 win over Pitt
  • Fisher's late 3 pushes Lakers past Mavericks 73-70
  • Westbrook's 3s lead Thunder past Celtics 97-88
  • Djokovic, Williams into Australian Open 2nd round
  • Tebow has earned starting status in 2012
  • Filly Havre de Grace wins Horse of the Year
  • Crosby to meet with specialist as symptoms linger
  • AP Top 25: Syracuse stays on top for 6th week