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Tampa Bay Starts Hardest Stretch Of Year At Home

photo: Tampa Bay Rays/Instagram

After a first month of the year that saw them win 23 of 29 games to begin the season, the Tampa Bay Rays will begin a stretch of the next month-plus where they will play 39 consecutive games against teams with a winning record, beginning with the start of their three-game series with the National League Central-leading Pittsburgh Pirates.  Javy Guerra, recently re-acquired from Milwaukee, will open the game against Roansy Contreras.  First pitch from Tropicana Field is set for 6:40.

Rays Starting Lineup

Diaz 1B
Franco SS
Arozarena LF
B. Lowe 2B
Ramirez DH
Paredes 3B
Bethancourt C
Margot RF
Siri CF

Pirates Starting Lineup

Hayes 3B
Reynolds LF
McCutchen DH
Santana 1B
Suwinski CF
Joe RF
Castro SS
Mathias 2B
Hedges C

Ji Man Choi, when he was still a member of the Tampa Bay Rays

The smiling face of Ji Man Choi will be back at Tropicana Field starting tonight, albeit wearing a Pirates uniform. photo: Will Vragovic/Tampa Bay Rays

Former Rays 1B Choi Makes Trip Despite Injury

He may currently be on the team’s 10-day injured list with a strained Achilles’ tendon, but Pirates first baseman Ji Man Choi is on the trip to Tropicana Field.  Pirates communications director Patrick Kurish (himself a former Rays PR intern) confirmed Monday that Choi, who endeared himself over four-plus seasons with Tampa Bay with his stellar play and fun-loving attitude, traveled with the team for the series.

Choi was traded by the Rays to Pittsburgh in November for minor-league pitcher Jack Hartman.

Written By

Steve Carney is the founder and publisher of St. Pete Nine. One of the people most associated with baseball coverage in Tampa Bay, he spent 13 seasons covering the Rays for flagship radio station WDAE, first as producer of Rays Radio broadcasts, then as beat reporter beginning in 2011. He likes new analytics and aged bourbon, and is the owner of one of the ugliest knuckleballs ever witnessed by baseball scouts.

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