BLUE JAYS NOTES GAME 1

TORONTO BLUE JAYS (2019: 67-95) at TAMPA BAY RAYS (2019: 96-66)
LHP Hyun Jin Ryu (2019: 14-5, 2.32) vs. RHP Charlie Morton (2019: 16-6, 3.05)
Game #1 Road #1 (0-0) July 24, 2020 6:40 pm TV: SNET RADIO: SN590

A LATE OPENING:
Today marks the start of Toronto’s 44th season in
the American League…The club has gone 21-22 on
Opening Days to this point, from 1977-2019…Have
lost each of their last three season openers (twice
in extra innings – 2017 and 2019) and have been
outscored, 11-3, in those contests.
Prior to the 2020 season, the Blue Jays latest Opening
Day came during the 1995 campaign, on April 26 vs.
the Oakland Athletics…The fewest games played in a
season in team history was during the 1981 campaign,
when the Blue Jays finished 37-69 over a 106-game
schedule…Yesterday’s start to the MLB calendar
ended a stretch of 266 days without any games.
SPRING FLINGS:
Toronto went 12-6-2 in the first round of Spring
Training, ending that run with six straight wins…Won
the first game of their most recent exhibition set in
Boston, 8-6, while the 2nd game was called after four
innings due to rain.
The Blue Jays tied with the Tigers for the most home
runs during Spring Training at 39, while leading all
MLB teams with a .489 slugging percentage…Among
Grapefruit League teams, ranked 1st in runs (130),
1st in OPS (.821), 3rd in OBP (.332) and 5th in AVG
(.247).
ROSTER REHASH:
Charlie Montoyo returns for his 2nd season at the
helm of the Blue Jays…His 30-man Opening Day
roster includes an even split of 15 pitchers and 15
position players.
Pitchers: RHP Anthony Bass, RHP A.J. Cole, RHP
Rafael Dolis, RHP Sam Gaviglio, RHP Ken Giles, RHP
Thomas Hatch, LHP Anthony Kay, LHP Brian Moran,
RHP Tanner Roark, RHP Jordan Romano, LHP Hyun
Jin Ryu, RHP Matt Shoemaker, RHP Trent Thornton,
RHP Jacob Waguespack, RHP Shun Yamaguchi
Catchers: Danny Jansen, Reese McGuire
Infielders: Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, Santiago Espinal,
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Joe Panik, Travis Shaw, Rowdy Tellez
Outfielders: Anthony Alford, Derek Fisher, Randal Grichuk,
Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Teoscar Hernández, Billy McKinney
HOME IS WHERE YOU MAKE IT:
Today the Blue Jays announced that they will play
the majority of their home games at Sahlen Field in
Buffalo, NY… The last season in which no MLB games
were played in Canada was in 1968.
TOUGH SKED AHEAD:
The Blue Jays will play 46 of their 60 games against
teams that finished .500 or better last season, tied with
Baltimore for the 2nd most among all Major League
Clubs, trailing only Miami (52).
STARTING SOMEWHERE ELSE:
The Blue Jays will start a season on the road for the
first time since 2017…Last started a season with a
road win in 2016 at Tampa Bay, a 5-3 victory.
Toronto went 32-49 on road in 2019 for a .395 win%,
25th overall and 12th among AL clubs…Held a road
ERA of 4.79 (7th in AL) while scoring 4.53 runs/game
(12th in AL).
FOREVER NUMBER ONE:
The Blue Jays will pay tribute to the life and legacy
of Tony Fernandez with a special “1” commemorative
uniform patch, which will be worn for the entirety of the
2020 regular season.
The shortstop signed with Toronto in 1979 and remains
the franchise leader in games (1,450), hits (1,583) and
triples…He spent 12 seasons with the Jays over the
course of four stints with the club and helped the team
to a World Series Championship in 1993…The five-time
All-Star also claimed four Gold Gloves and had his
name elevated to the Blue Jays Level of Excellence on
September 23, 2001.
ROOKIE RESULTS:
The Blue Jays had an MLB-high 840 games played
by rookies last year and led all teams in rookie hits
(535), doubles (115), home runs (97), RBI (284), walks
(224) and extra-base hits (218)…Ranked 7th with
486.0 rookie innings pitched and 6th with 447 pitcher
strikeouts.
Toronto’s 97 rookie homers were 3rd most in MLB
history, trailing the 2006 Florida Marlins (112) and the
1982 Minnesota Twins (101).
STILL STREAKING:
Cavan Biggio singled in his final game of 2019 to
extend his on-base streak to 29 games, the longest
active streak in MLB, the longest by a Blue Jay
last season (Justin Smoak – 19G), and the longest
by a Toronto rookie all-time (Russ Adams – 27G in
2005)…The stretch tied for the 5th longest on-base
streak in the AL last year.
The second baseman batted .304 (31-for-102) with
25 runs scored, seven doubles, two triples, six home
runs, 17 RBI and 25 walks during this streak (.437
OBP, 1.034 OPS)…Marks the longest on-base streak
by any Blue Jay since Jose Bautista’s 33-game stretch
from Aug. 7-Sept. 26, 2016.
UPCOMING PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS: (All Times Eastern)
Saturday, July 25 at Tampa Bay Rays, 3:10 pm…RHP Matt Shoemaker (2019: 3-0, 1.57) vs. LHP Ryan Yarbrough (2019: 11-6, 4.13)
Sunday, July 26 at Tampa Bay Rays, 1:10 pm…TBA vs. TBA
VS. THE RAYS: All-Time: 179-211
2019: 6-13 Road: 76-119
Road: 2-8 Tropicana Field: 76-116
The Blue Jays went 6-13 against the Rays last season
while dropping eight of 10 games at Tropicana Field,
including a four-game sweep in their last series
there…Toronto’s .396 all-time win% at the Trop is the
lowest of any team (min. 50G).
Bo Bichette batted .276 (8-for-29) with six extra-base
hits (3-2B, 3 HR) in his seven games against TB last
season…Scored four runs and drove in four.
Travis Shaw has played 28 games against the Rays in
his career…Has hit .309 (29-for-94) with nine doubles,
four homers and 17 RBI for an .888 OPS.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. has a career .834 OPS over 21
games against Tampa Bay…Has gone 21-for-80
(.263) with six doubles, six home runs and 14 RBI.

TAMPA BAY RAYS (0-0) vs. TORONTO BLUE JAYS (0-0)RH Charlie Morton (16-6, 3.05 in 2019) vs. LH Hyun-Jin Ryu (14-5, 2.32 in 2019)Friday, July 24, 2020First Pitch: 6:40 p.m.Location: Tropicana FieldTV: FOX Sports SunRadio: WDAE 95.3 FM, WMGG 96.1 FMGame No.: 1 (0-0)Home Game No.: 1 (0-0)All-Time Game No.: 3,563 (1686-1876)All-Time Home Game No.: 1,784 (921-862)

23RD OPENING DAY—Tonight’s game will mark the 23rd Opening Day in franchise history as the Rays host the Blue Jays at Tropicana Field…as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, tonight’s game is taking place 288 days after the club’s 2019 season ended with a Game 5 loss to the Astros in the ALDS…the Rays are 11-11 in season openers as well as 11-11 in home openers…this is the 11th consecutive year the Rays open at their home ballpark, extending the longest active streak in the AL…the only other team with a current streak as long is Cincinnati, where it is tradition—the Reds are playing their 30th consecutive Opening Day at home this year.ÊTonight’s 6:40 p.m. first pitch will be thrown 134 days, 2 hours and 6 minutes after the final out was recorded in the Rays last game with an opponent…at 4:34 p.m. on March 12, Rays pinch-hitter Ru-ben Cardenas struck out looking against Phillies lefthander Jona-than Hennigan to finish an 8-4 loss at Charlotte Sports Park.ÊDue to ongoing safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, games held at Tropicana Field will not be open to fans at this time. ÊThis is the 16th time the Rays open at home, and they are 8-7 in the previous 15 instances…this is the fifth time the Rays play the Blue Jays on Opening Day, all at home, following 2001 (won 8-1), 2005 (lost 5-2), 2014 (won 9-2) and 2016 (lost 5-3)…this is the 19th time in 23 seasons the Rays are playing an AL East team on Opening Day.ÊThis season marks the 101st year that Major League Baseball has had a presence in St. Petersburg, dating back to 1914 when the St. Louis Browns opened spring training workouts.CEREMONIAL FIRST PITCH—Leah Churchill, a radiation oncology nurse at Moffitt Cancer Center, will deliver the ceremonial first pitch in person…in early April, during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York, Churchill took a leave of absence from her job at Moffitt and traveled to Brooklyn…she served eight weeks at Kings County Hospital, working 12-hour overnight shifts for the duration.

NATIONAL ANTHEMS—The U.S. National Anthem will be a video of Marvin Gaye’s iconic performance at the 1983 NBA All-Star Game… “O Canada” will be performed via video by Heather Wainscott, a clinical nurse navigator at Mease Countryside Hospital…a BayCare team mem-ber for 20 years, she is also an Emmy-nominated songwriter.

WORDS ARE NOT ENOUGH—Today the Rays launched a resource guide regarding their social justice efforts at raysbaseball.com/SocialJustice…on June 2, the Rays Baseball Foundation and Rowdies Soccer Fund cre-ated the Racial Equity Grant Fund to build power within communities that have been historically overlooked and purposefully disadvantaged due to systemic racism…together, they committed $100,000 annually to this program…today, the RBF and Rowdies Soccer Fund announced this first round of grants will support the five following local organizations: ÊThe Equal Justice Initiative’s Community Remembrance Project Coalition ÊCDC of Tampa ÊPinellas County Urban League ÊNAACP Hillsborough County Branch ÊPeople Empowering & Restoring Communities

BLACK LIVES MATTER—Tonight’s pregame ceremonies will include a player-led moment of unity developed and led by PHI Andrew McCutch-en…a statement of unity will be narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman…in a display of unity, players and staff from both the Rays and Blue Jays will hold a 600-foot length of black fabric during the presentation and national anthems…a moment of silence will be held to recognize the lives of those who have unnecessarily perished.ÊIn recent weeks, MLB has had open and constructive dialogue with The Players Alliance, individual players and the MLBPA about ways in which players can show their support for social justice, gener-ally, and diversity and inclusion in baseball, specifically…as a result, items available for players on Opening Day will include Black Lives Matter batting practice T-shirts; a sleeve patch, which reads either “Black Lives Matter” or “United for Change”; and wristbands featur-ing an inverted MLB logo where the silhouetted batter is black.ÊFor more information on MLB’s efforts, visit mlb.com/social-justice.ÊIn addition, MLB is lifting its cleat restrictions for the 2020 season al-lowing players more freedom to express themselves throughout the year, including the ability to use social justice messages and causes. ÊThe Rays will stencil on the field behind the pitcher’s mound the inverted MLB logo, with “BLM.”BANNER YEAR—The 2019 American League Wild Card banner is now displayed in left field, the sixth banner to hang at Tropicana Field…it joins the 2008 AL East Champions, 2008 American League Champions, 2010 AL East Champions, 2011 AL Wild Card and 2013 AL Wild Card banners.

SWEET SIXTEEN—Last night Major League Baseball announced an ex-panded 16-team postseason format for the shortened 2020 season…the first- and second-place teams in each division will qualify for the post-season, while the seventh and eighth teams in each league will be chosen by the best record among other teams…the higher seeds in the Wild Card Series, which will be best-of-three, will host all 3 games…the two Division Series in each league will remain best-of-five series, and the AL and NL Championship Series and World Series will remain best-of-seven series.SHORTENED SEASONS—Major League Baseball announced an abbre-viated 60-game format for the 2020 season on June 23 and released the modified schedule on July 6…MLB designed the 2020 schedule to include 40 games within the division and 20 interleague games against the corre-sponding geographical division…no team has played 60 games (or fewer) since the 1891 Milwaukee Brewers, who went 21-15 (.583) in the Ameri-can Association…the Brewers started the season as members of the mi-nors’ Western Association and Western League and joined the American Association after the Cincinnati Kelly’s Killers dropped out in August…a total of 900 major league games are scheduled for the 2020 regular sea-son…this will result in the fewest total games played since 1900—a year before the formation of the AL—when eight NL clubs totaled 569 games. MLB officially opened the season last night, ending a stretch of 266 days without a regular season or postseason game…this was the longest drought in major league history, according to Stats LLC, passing the 256 days between games in 1994-95 (players’ strike).

history (since 1901)…previously, the latest was in 1995, when the season opened on April 25 with the Marlins hosting the Dodgers…other than 1995, the latest start to any MLB season was on April 20, 1943 (Philadelphia Athletics at Washington Senators)…the lat-est opener in Rays history was April 7, 2009 at BOS, a 5-3 win.DISRUPTED SCHEDULE—Within a stretch of 24 hours on March 11-12, the NBA, NHL, MLB, NCAA, MLS, ATP Tour, WTA and PGA Tour sus-pended, delayed or canceled the remainder of their seasons due to the pandemic…in modern baseball history (since 1901), there have been six other seasons shortened for a variety of reasons…special thanks to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum for the research assistance:FOOTNOTES—See below for circumstances causing shortened seasons:Ê[1] In 1917, the United States declared war on Germany five days before Opening Day—but MLB played the full season as planned…in 1918, the owners originally shortened the season to 140 games, but with most of the league’s players either drafted or enlisted by the start of July, they reduced it again to ~127 games per team.Ê[2] The season was again shortened, to 140 games, as players re-turned home from the war while an outbreak of Spanish influenza swept the globe…the Spanish flu killed at least 50 million people worldwide, including 675,000 in the United States…among those killed were 17-year American League umpire Silk O’Loughlin, for-mer big league OF Larry Chappell and several minor leaguers.Ê[3] Led by Marvin Miller, the MLBPA went on its first-ever strike, wiping out the first 13 days of the season…teams played anywhere from 153-156 games, leading to controversy when the Tigers (86-70) edged the Red Sox (85-70) by a half-game in the AL East.Ê[4] The MLBPA strike began on June 12 and cost more than a third of the season…play resumed with the All-Star Game at Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium on Aug 9, and games began the next day…a split-season postseason format was employed, with division win-ners from the two “halves” playing each other before the LCS. Ê[5] The MLBPA began its strike on Aug 12, and the remainder of the season was eventually canceled…1994 remains the only season since 1904 without a World Series…at the time of the strike, the Montreal Expos owned baseball’s best record with a 74-40 mark.Ê[6] After 232 days, a missed World Series and only three days away from opening the regular season with replacement players, the longest strike in major league history ended on April 2…Opening Day was postponed by three weeks, allowing for a short spring training, and all teams played a 144-game schedule.OTHER NOTABLE LEAGUE-WIDE DISRUPTIONS—In addition to the six shortened seasons, there have been several occasions where the schedule was disrupted across MLB…special thanks to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum for the research assistance…among those events: Ê1923 Death of President Harding: MLB canceled its games on Aug 3, one day after the death of Warren G. Harding in San Francisco, and again on Aug 10, the day he was laid to rest in Marion, Ohio.ÊJune 6, 1944 (D-Day): MLB canceled its scheduled games the day of the Allied invasion of Normandy in World War II.Ê1945 Death of President Roosevelt: FDR passed away on April 12…Opening Day was pushed back a day, from April 16 to April 17.Ê1968 Death of Martin Luther King Jr.: After the April 4 assassination of Dr. King, Commissioner William Eckert left the decision up to indi-vidual clubs of whether to postpone their Opening Days, scheduled for April 8-9…after much debate and player objection, each club decid-ed to wait until after Dr. King’s April 9 funeral, and open on April 10. Ê1985 Players’ Strike: A two-day strike in August had minimal ef-fect on the season…teams made up their missed games later.Ê1990 Owners’ Lockout: This 32-day lockout began in February and eliminated almost all of spring training…a new basic agreement was reached on March 19…Opening Day was pushed back a week to April 9, and three days were added to the end of the season to help make up games, but a full 162-game schedule was played.Ê2001 Terrorist Attacks: After the Sep 11 terrorist attacks, MLB suspended play for a week and resumed playing on Sep 17…the re-maining schedule was pushed back by a week, resulting in Game 7 of the World Series being played on Nov 4.SCHEDULE BREAKDOWN—As a result of MLB’s modified schedule, all 60 Rays games this season will be played in the Eastern time zone…they will play 10 games against the Orioles (three home, seven road), Red Sox (six home, four road), Yankees (four home, six road) and Blue Jays (seven home, three road)…for interleague play, the Rays will play 6 games against the Marlins (three home, three road), 4 games against the defending World Champion Nationals (two home, two road) and Braves (two home, two road) and 3 games against the Mets (all road) and Phillies (all home).ÊThe Rays play 39 games in the first 41 days of the season (through Sep 2), but enjoy four off days in the final 25 days (from Sep 3-27).ÊAll 10 games against the Yankees come over a 28-day span from Aug 6–Sep 2, incl. six bookending a stretch of 16 games in 16 days.ÊBefore Toronto’s change in home ballparks, the Rays were set to travel 10,939 miles this season, 6th-most in the majors and most of any team in the AL East, AL Central, NL East or NL Central.ROSTER BREAKDOWN—Prior to tonight’s game the Rays placed RH Diego Castillo on the paternity list and recalled INF Daniel Robertson…yesterday the Rays assigned OF Randy Arozarena to the alternate train-ing site and placed him on the injured list, assigned LH Anthony Banda, 1B/3B Nate Lowe and LH/1B Brendan McKay to the alternate training site, recalled INF/OF Mike Brosseau and RH Trevor Richards to the ac-tive roster and selected RH Ryan Thompson to the major league roster…a complete breakdown of the updated Opening Day, 30-man roster:ÊRookies (3): Pete Fairbanks, Ryan Thompson, Yoshi TsutsugoÊYoungest: Willy Adames (24)ÊOldest: Charlie Morton (36)ÊMost ML Service Time: Charlie Morton (11.010)ÊMost Opening Days: Charlie Morton (8th active; began on major league injured list in 2009, 2012, 2013 and 2015)ÊFirst Opening Day (4): Mike Brosseau, Pete Fairbanks, Ryan Thompson, Yoshi TsutsugoÊFirst Opening Day with Rays (12): Nick Anderson, Mike Brosseau, Oliver Drake, Pete Fairbanks, Aaron Loup, Manuel Margot, José Martínez, Hunter Renfroe, Trevor Richards, Kevan Smith, Ryan Thompson, Yoshi TsutsugoÊMaking Rays Debut (7):Aaron Loup, Manuel Margot, José Martínez, Hunter Renfroe, Kevan Smith, Ryan Thompson, Yoshi TsutsugoÊAcquired by Trade (19): Willy Adames, Nick An-derson, Jalen Beeks, Ji-Man Choi, Yandy Díaz, Oliver Drake, Pete Fairbanks, Tyler Glasnow, Andrew Kittredge, Manuel Margot, José Mar-tínez, Michael Perez, Hunter Renfroe, Trevor Richards, Chaz Roe, Daniel Robertson, Joey Wendle, Ryan Yar-brough, Mike ZuninoÊDrafted by Rays (3): Kevin Kiermaier, Brandon Lowe, Blake SnellÊSigned as Non-Drafted Free Agent (1): Mike BrosseauÊSigned as Int’l. Free Agent (2): José Alvarado, Yonny ChirinosÊSigned as Free Agent (2):Charlie Morton, Yoshi TsutsugoÊSigned as Minor League Free Agent (2): Aaron Loup, Kevan SmithÊSelected in Triple-A phase of Rule 5 Draft (1): Ryan Thompson60-GAME SPRINT—The best 60-game start in Rays history came in 2010, when they were 39-21 and held the best record in the majors…the Rays were 37-23 through 60 games last season and went 39-21 over the final 60 games…their worst 60-game stretch last season was 30-30, while their best was 40-20 (which matched the best single-season 60-game run in franchise history)…spanning multiple seasons, the best 60-game stretch in club history is 43-17 (once spanning 2009-10, twice spanning 2018-19).ÊAccording to the Elias Sports Bureau, the best record in major league history over a single-season stretch of 60 games is 52-8, by the 1884 St. Louis Maroons, 1906 Chicago Cubs and 1912 New York Giants…since the 1912 Giants, the only team to win 50+ games over a single-season 60-game stretch was the 2017 Dodgers (51-9).ÊCourtesy of Stats LLC, the chart below shows the Rays best statisti-cal output from the team’s first 60 games of any season as well as the best over any stretch of 60 team games within a single season.RAYS vs. BLUE JAYS—Last season the Rays went 13-6 against the Blue Jays (8-2 at home, 5-4 on the road), clinching the season series for the fourth time in five seasons and 10th time in 12 seasons…they clinched a berth in the AL Wild Card Game against the Athletics with their 6-2 win last Sep 27 at Rogers Centre…in addition to this 3-game series, the Rays will play a 3-game road series from Aug 14-16 and four more at Tropi-cana Field from Aug 21-24…the Rays are 211-179 (.541) all-time against the Blue Jays, their most wins against any opponent (Orioles, 197).FRIENDS AS FOES—Blue Jays Manager Charlie Montoyo spent four sea-sons on Kevin Cash’s coaching staff before being hired by Toronto on Oct 25, 2018…he was the Rays bench coach in 2018 and the third base coach for the previous three seasons…he joined the Rays organization on Oct 31, 1996 and managed at every level in the system…his overall managing record in 18 seasons was 1,266-1,142 (.526), and his teams advanced to the postseason nine times…in eight seasons with Triple-A Durham, he guided the Bulls to seven IL South Division titles, a league-record six trips to the IL finals and two Governors’ Cup championships (2009, 2013).EXTRA! EXTRA!—The Rays enter the 2020 season riding a club-record 8-game winning streak in extra-inning games, ahead of July 30, 2007–May 13, 2008 (7)…this streak began last Aug 6 vs. TOR and also included four extra-inning wins over a 6-game stretch from Sep 18-24…the Rays played a majors-most and club-record-tying 19 extra-inning games last season and went 11-8 in them, including 11-4 following an 0-4 start.RULE CHANGES—Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association have announced a series of rule changes for 2020:ÊThere will be regular testing of all players, other on-field personnel and a limited number of essential staff who come in close proxim-ity to players for the COVID-19 virus and related antibodies.ÊTeams will enter the season with 30 players on their Opening Day BEST 60-GAME STRETCHES, FRANCHISE HISTORYSTATFROM START OF SEASONANY 60-GAME STRETCH[1]Batting Avg. [2]Austin Meadows, 2019 .349Fred McGriff, 2001 .375Home RunsJosé Canseco, 1999 22José Canseco, 1999 25RBIEvan Longoria, 2009 55Carlos Peña, 2007 59WinsDavid Price, 2010 9Three instances 9ERA [3]Chris Archer, 2015 1.84Blake Snell, 2018 1.17StrikeoutsChris Archer, 2015 108David Price, 2014 115[1] Stretch of 60 Team Games, [2] min. 186 PA, [3] min. 60 IPSIX SHORTENED SEASONS, MODERN BASEBALL HISTORYYEARSCHEDULE IMPACTCAUSEOPENING DAYWS END1918 [1]154 to 140 to ~127 GWorld War IApril 15Sep 111919 [2]154 to 140 GWorld War I, Spanish FluApril 19Oct 91972 [3]162 to ~155 GPlayers’ strikeApril 15Oct 221981 [4]162 to ~107 GPlayers’ strikeApril 8Oct 281994 [5]162 to ~114 GPlayers’ strikeApril 3N/A1995 [6]162 to 144 GPlayers’ strikeApril 25Oct 28roster…the active roster will reduce to 28 players after two weeks and to 26 players after four weeks, and there will be no roster ex-pansion in September…the trade deadline will be on Aug 31.ÊBoth leagues (AL, NL) will use a designated hitter this season.ÊExtra-inning games in the regular season (not the postseason) will be modified in accordance with minor league rules, such that each half-inning following the 9th inning will begin with a runner on second base…the runner placed on second base at the start of each half-inning will be the player (or a substitute for such player) in the batting order immediately preceding that half-inning’s leadoff hitter…according to Baseball America, there were 347 minor league games of 11 innings (or more) from 2018-19—the two seasons with this extra-innings rule in effect—compared to 800 from 2016-17, while games of 13 innings (or more) dropped from 133 to five.ÊRather than a 10-day injured list for position players and 15-day injured list for pitchers, there will be a 10-day IL for all players in the shortened season…the 60-day IL will be reduced to 45 days.ÊRelief pitchers must face at least three batters or finish an inning before being removed (with exceptions for injury or illness).ÊIf a game gets cut short due to weather before it becomes official (less than five innings), it will be continued at a later date.ÊAlso of note, there will be no restrictions on position players pitch-ing in 2020…a rule change installed this past offseason stated that position players could only pitch if they were designated a “two-way player,” the game was in extras or their team was ahead or behind by 6+ runs…that rule will not be in place for 2020.TWO DISTINCT ERAS—Since becoming the Rays in 2008, the Rays have seven 90-win seasons, a number matched by only three other teams in baseball: the Dodgers (8), Red Sox (7) and Yankees (7)…since the start of 2008, their five trips to the Division Series have been matched by only five other clubs and their 1,041-904 (.535) record is 5th-best in baseball.ÊThe Rays enter the 2020 season on the heels of a 96-66 (.593) re-cord—their second straight season with 90-plus wins—and a trip to the AL Division Series…they welcome back all three of their 2019 All-Stars—RH Charlie Morton, OF Austin Meadows and 2B Bran-don Lowe—as well as three-time Gold Glove Award winner Kevin Kiermaier and 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell.ÊA retooled offense includes trade acquisitions OF Hunter Renfroe, 1B/DH José Martínez, OF Randy Arozarena and OF Manuel Mar-got and Japanese free agent signing 3B/OF Yoshi Tsutsugo.MINOR MATTERS—Baseball America’s annual Organizational Talent Rankings of minor league prospects were released in February and the Rays ranked No. 1, holding their ranking from midseason last year…this was the fifth straight season the Rays improved their preseason stand-ing…this is the fourth time in organizational history the Rays have been ranked first in the preseason rankings, following 2010, 2008 and 2007.ÊFrom BA’s Organizational Talent Rankings announcement: “The Rays have produced a steady stream of productive big leagu-ers thanks to solid drafting, player development and excellent pro scouting…as impressive as their farm system has been, they haven’t had a prospect like Wander Franco in quite a while.”CATCH SOME RAYS—FOX Sports Sun has announced the network will produce and televise all 60 Rays games this season…every game televised on FOX Sports Sun will be available for streaming on FOX Sports Go…Opening Day coverage will begin with a one-hour pregame show at 5:30 p.m. …Tropicana Field will serve as the hub for FOX Sports Sun’s broad-casts, with play-by-play announcer Dewayne Staats and color analyst Brian Anderson calling every game remotely…Staats, the Rays play-by-play voice since the inaugural 1998 season, enters his 23rd season with the Rays…Anderson enters his 10th season as full-time color analyst, and 12th on the broadcast team…the “Rays Live” pre- and postgame shows will also originate from Tropicana Field…Doug Waechter and Orestes Destrade return as pre- and postgame analysts, while Rich Hollenbergand Tricia Whitaker will serve as host and in-game reporter.STEADY IN THE BOOTH—Andy Freed and Dave Wills return to the Rays radio booth for a 16th season together…only two major league clubs have a longer tenured full-season radio broadcast duo than Dave and Andy: the Detroit Tigers (Dan Dickerson & Jim Price entering 18th season together) and San Francisco Giants (Jon Miller & Dave Flemming entering 17th season together)…Neil Solondz begins his ninth season on the Rays Radio team as host of the pregame and postgame shows, fill-in play-by-play voice as well as This Week in Rays Baseball and Prospect Spotlight.ÊOn the Spanish-language side, Enrique Oliu is entering his 22nd season broadcasting Rays games on the radio and Ricardo Taverasbegins his 18th season…they can be heard Monday–Thursday on Genesis 92.9/680 AM and weekends on Caliente 96.1/1470 AM.OPENING DAY ODDITIES—Some miscellaneous Opening Day facts:ÊIncluding tonight, with José Martínez starting there, the Rays have used 20 players at designated hitter in 23 Opening Day games.ÊThe Rays have outscored their opponents, 19-4, in the 9th inning.ÊThe Rays have never played an extra-inning game, but have won three games in the bottom of the 9th inning (2003, 2010, 2012).ÊVictor Zambrano is the only Ray with two Opening Day wins…he recorded the win as a reliever in 2002 and as a starter in 2004.ÊIn their history, the Rays have hit .277 (208-for-750) on Opening Day, have averaged 5.32 runs per game and have never been shut out…only five teams have longer current streaks without being shut out on Opening Day: the Tigers (last on Opening Day in 1989), Orioles (1988), Yankees (1980), Red Sox (1976) and Mets (1963).DO THE MATH—The Rays are expected to use an estimated 150 dozen baseballs per day this season, counting balls used during BP, in the batting cage and during games…a Clorox 360 machine sprays an electrostatic fog on practice balls to sanitize for the next day…for comparison, last year they used an estimated 60 dozen baseballs per day, most of them game balls.ÊPrior to COVID-19 Rays cleaning crews spent 6-8 hours cleaning the entire stadium…with the pandemic and an empty stadium, the same size crews spend 8-10 hours just sanitizing clubhouses, dugouts, player workout areas, the few areas open for use and media areas.2020 MEDIA GUIDE—Hard copies of the 2020 Rays Media Guide are available in the back of the Tropicana Field press box, along with a cover- up label for the back cover with the revised 60-game schedule…the Rays Media Guide is also available online at mlbpressbox.com (login re-quired), rayspressbox.com (using username rays\media and password R@ys2020#) and mlb.com/rays/team/media-guide (no login necessary).COVID-19 RELIEF EFFORTS—In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rays Baseball Foundation and Rowdies Soccer Fund have donated $1.4 million to date in financial support to nonprofit organizations throughout Tampa Bay, with 81 agencies receiving funding…this includes $275,000 through the COVID-19 Relief Grant Program, $110,000 in Community Fund Grants and $405,000 in Community Partnership Grants…for more information on these relief efforts, visit raysbaseball.com/teamingup.ÊOver 4.1 million meals were donated to Feeding Tampa Bay, with 11,890 households served through Feeding Tampa Bay’s mobile pantry hosted in Tropicana Field’s parking lots…an additional 170 meals were provided to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Tam-pa Bay’s St. Pete East House…Rays concessions partner, Levy, do-nated $190,000 of food and beverage items to local organizations. 50/50 CHARITY RAFFLE—Throughout the 2020 season, fans can pur-chase 50/50 raffle tickets for a chance to win a weekly jackpot at raysbase-ball.com/5050…each week’s jackpot is open for entry beginning Monday at 8:30 a.m. through Sunday at 11:59 p.m., with the winning number an-nounced the next day…to purchase tickets, fans must be located in the state of Florida (restrictions apply)…proceeds from the 50/50 Charity Raffle will benefit the Rays Baseball Foundation and the Ted Williams Foundation.FAN CUTOUTS—The Rays have announced fan cutouts are available to purchase for the 2020 season at Tropicana Field…cutouts are general ad-mission and are available for a limited time at raysbaseball.com/fancut-outs…cutouts are $40 each for Season Ticket Holders and $60 each for all other fans…at the conclusion of the season, fans will be able to take home their cutout(s)…the cutouts are made of Coroplast and are 18″ W x 30″ H…see separate press release on rayspressbox.com for more info.CROWD NOISE—All clubs will use ambient and reactionary background audio to create crowd noise during the 2020 season…MLB has provided each team with an array of crowd sounds and a touchpad device that can be integrated into their sound system to help manage the playing of these sounds…the crowd sounds will be audible to on-field personnel and during television and radio broadcasts…the crowd backgrounds and reac-tions provided to teams are all derived from exclusive, original source au-dio recorded by MLB The Show developers…the crowd sounds will work in conjunction with stadium announcers, walk-up music and in-stadium video to replicate the in-game experience as closely as possible.ANTHEM SINGERS WANTED—Fans who can carry a tune are encour-aged to submit videos of themselves performing the national anthem to be considered for pregame anthems on the scoreboard…submit at https://www.mlb.com/rays/fans/anthem-auditions.LET’S HEAR YOU FROM HOME—While fans are unable to attend games at Tropicana Field, the Rays will bring fans’ energy into the ballpark each game through recorded video clips…fans can submit videos to be used on the video board during the season…these submissions include virtual cheers (10-15 second clips, using your voice to support the team), “Play Ball Kid” (children 14 or younger saying “Play Ball” to lead off the start of the game) and more…see mlb.com/rays/fans/rays-fans-at-home for details.HOME RUNS FOR HOPE—For a second consecutive season, INF/OF Brandon Lowe will donate $100 to the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay for each home run he hits…the Rays Baseball Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organi-zation and the official charity of the Rays, will also contribute $100 per home run in support of Lowe’s “Home Runs for Hope” campaign…last sea-son, Lowe’s 17 HR raised $3,400 for the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay.ÊThe Crisis Center of Tampa Bay provides a range of programs and services to ensure that no one in the community has to face a crisis alone…it is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year as the community gateway to help…people who are struggling with a variety of cri-sis situations including sexual assault or abuse, domestic violence, financial distress, substance abuse, medical emergency, suicidal thoughts and other emotional or situational problems can connect to hope and healing…for more information, visit crisiscenter.com. RAYS SWAG—The Rays Republic Team Store is open for phone and email merchandise orders…orders can be placed by calling (727) 342-5731 or emailing raysretail@rankandrally.com…orders will be fulfilled using so-cially distant curbside pickup at Tropicana Field, or shipping is free within the state of Florida…curbside pickup is available Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. …the Team Store is also running its Christmas in July promotion, where a purchase of any Rays Christmas item includes a free holiday votive candle holder. COMMEMORATIVE TICKETS—Fans can purchase special, commemora-tive Rays Opening Day tickets to celebrate the first game of the 2020 reg-ular season…tickets are $3 each and are available by visiting raysbaseball.com/auctions, calling 727-342-5731 or emailing raysretail@rankandrally.com…proceeds will benefit the Rays Baseball Foundation, a 501(c)(3) orga-nization and the official charity of the Tampa Bay Rays.CONNECT WITH US—Follow the Rays on Twitter (@RaysBaseball), Instagram (@raysbaseball), Facebook (/Rays), YouTube (/rays) and TikTok (@rays) or become a Rays Insider by subscribing to emails at mlb.com/rays/fans/newsletters…Rays Insiders will receive the latest video high-lights, up-to-date news, features, exclusive content and much more.MARKETING & COMMUNITY INITIATIVESTHE LID-LIFTER—Announced as the Opening Day starter by Manager Kevin Cash on Saturday, July 18…will become the 13th different pitcher in franchise history to start on Opening Day and the fifth in the “Rays” era, joining James Shields (2008-10, 2012), David Price (2011, 2013-14), Chris Archer (2015-18) and Blake Snell (2019).ÊThis will mark his first career Opening Day assignment…at 36 years and 255 days old as of today, he will become the oldest Opening Day starter in fran-chise history by over five years, passing Tanyon Sturtze (31.172) in 2002.ÊWill be the oldest pitcher in the majors to make an Opening Day start since NYM Bartolo Colon (41.317) in 2015, and the oldest in the AL since TOR R.A. Dickey (39.153) in 2014…he will hold this distinction for less than three hours, until 37-year-old HOU Justin Verlander starts at 9:10 p.m. ET vs. SEA.ÊWill become the fourth pitcher since 1978 to make his first Opening Day start at 36 years, 255 days or older…he will join TOR R.A. Dickey (38.155)in 2013, SEA Jamie Moyer (37.138) in 2000 and TOR David Wells (36.319) in 2000.USDA CERTIFIED LEAN—In his first season with the Rays, was the co-winner of the Don Zimmer Award as the club’s Most Valuable Player along with Austin Mead-ows…finished 3rd in AL Cy Young Award voting behind HOU Justin Verlander and HOU Gerrit Cole after posting career-bests in ERA (3.05), wins (16), innings (194.2), strikeouts (240) and SO/BB ratio (4.21)…named to his second consecutive AL All-Star Team as a result of the Player Balloting…his 240 SO ranked 3rd in Rays history, be-hind Chris Archer in both 2015 (252) and 2017 (249)…led the AL with a 0.69 HR/9 IP ratio, yielding only 15 HR in 194.2 IP…ranked 2nd in FIP (2.81), 3rd in ERA, 4th in opp avg. (.215), 5th in strikeouts, WHIP (1.08), SO/9 IP ratio (11.10) and SO/BB ratio (4.21).CLUTCH CHUCK—Held hitters to a .179 (27-for-151) avg. with RISP last season, low-est in the majors…that was the 3rd-lowest mark in Rays history, behind Victor Zam-brano (.157) in 2004 and Jeremy Hellickson (.167) in 2011…he also limited opponents to a .136 (9-for-66) avg. with 2 outs and RISP, 2nd-lowest in the AL (min. 50 AB).vs. BLUE JAYS—Is 2-1 with a 2.39 ERA (37.2-IP, 10-ER) in six career starts against the Blue Jays and went 0-1 with a 3.06 ERA (17.2-IP, 6-ER) in 3 starts against them last season, the only AL East team he did not defeat…has yielded 3 runs or fewer in all six career starts against them and 2 runs or fewer four times.ÊLast faced them on Sep 7, 2019 at Tropicana Field, when he shut out the Blue Jays on 1 hit and 1 BB through the 5th inning, then allowed 4 hits and 1 BB in a 3-run 6th…allowed five consecutive batters to reach base with 1 out in the frame: single, double, walk, Reese McGuire RBI single and Jonathan Davis RBI single, then allowed a go-ahead sacrifice fly to his next batter faced…his line: ND, 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R/ER, 2 BB, 10 SO, 92 pit, 64 str.KING OF THE K—Ranked 5th in the AL last season with 240 SO, marking his second straight season eclipsing the 200-SO plateau…became the sixth pitcher in franchise history to reach 200 SO, joining Chris Archer (3), David Price (2), James Shields (2), Scott Kazmir (1) and Blake Snell (1)…became the fourth pitcher in AL history to record 240 SO (or more) at age-35 (or older, joining HOU Justin Verlander in 2019 and 2018, TOR Roger Clemens in 1998 and TEX Nolan Ryan in 1989…his 11.10 SO/9 IP ratio ranked 5th in the AL last season and was the 9th-highest mark all-time by a pitcher in his age-35 season or older…recorded double-digit strikeouts in 7 starts last season, tied for 5th-most in the AL.TONIGHT’S STARTER: RH CHARLIE MORTON (16-6, 3.05 ERA IN 2019)CAREER MLB BREAKDOWNYEARWLERAGGSIPHRERBBSOHR20181533.133030167.01306358642011820191663.053333194.215471665724015Career91874.072502491401.1135970763350812341182019 GAME LOGGAMEDECERAIPHRERBBSOHRHBWPP/KFINALOPP. LEFT3/29 vs. HOUW-13.605.03222801085/54W, 4-2Coleup, 3-24/3 vs. COL–1.646.04002600188/58L, 0-1 (11)Márqueztied, 0-04/9 at CWSW-22.255.03223710093/57W, 10-5Santanaup, 7-24/14 at TOR–2.184.24113401092/53W, 8-4Stromanup, 3-14/20 vs. BOS–3.386.05552911099/70L, 5-6Porcellodown, 5-24/27 at BOSW-32.766.020045011102/61W, 2-1Priceup, 2-05/2 at KC–2.526.251119000101/71W, 3-1Duffytied, 1-15/8 vs. ARI–2.645.07224800086/52L, 2-3Raydown, 2-05/14 at MIAW-42.326.03000500082/54W, 4-0Smithup, 2-05/19 at NYY–2.654.04534620088/56L, 5-13Greentied, 5-55/25 at CLEW-52.546.0311210010106/73W, 6-2Carrascoup, 4-15/30 vs. MINW-62.547.04220600087/62W, 14-3Pérezup, 14-26/5 at DETW-72.307.05000800083/55W, 4-0Turnbullup, 4-06/10 vs. OAKW-82.107.02002701094/59W, 6-2Andersonup, 4-06/15 vs. LAAL-12.376.05442920095/70L, 3-5Suarezdown, 4-36/20 at OAK–2.316.141126100105/61L, 4-5Montastied, 1-16/26 at MINL-22.436.185317001101/70L, 4-6Odorizziup, 4-37/2 vs. BALW-92.367.0411112100101/66W, 6-3Wojciechowski up, 6-17/7 vs. NYYW-102.325.2511110100100/69W, 2-1Paxtonup, 2-17/13 at BAL (G2)W-112.356.06221600097/64W, 12-4Meansup, 9-27/18 at NYY (G2)L-32.615.25554410090/57L, 1-5Greendown, 4-17/24 vs. BOSW-122.607.0522011000105/75W, 3-2Priceup, 3-27/30 at BOS–2.784.27442200085/56W, 6-5Priceup, 4-38/5 vs. TORL-42.777.072209100107/71L, 0-2Waguespackdown, 2-08/10 at SEAW-132.906.0944010101100/67W, 5-4Wislerup, 5-48/16 vs. DETL-52.777.031001000094/70L, 0-2Norrisdown, 1-08/21 vs. SEA–2.855.04332301199/62W, 7-6Gearrinup, 4-38/27 at HOUL-63.114.07662411077/49L, 1-15Verlanderdown, 6-09/1 vs. CLEW-143.065.141138010108/69W, 8-2Plutkoup, 4-19/7 vs. TOR–3.116.053321002092/64W, 5-3Kaydown, 3-29/13 at LAAW-153.166.06331411094/62W, 11-4Heaneyup, 8-39/20 vs. BOS–3.156.152218100103/73W, 5-4 (11)Porcellodown, 2-09/25 vs. NYYW-163.056.010039000100/64W, 4-0Loaisigaup, 3-0SEASON & CAREER HIGHS2019CAREER7.0, 7x-last 8/16 vs. DETIP9.0, 3x-last 5/18/11 at CIN9, 8/10 at SEAH11, 5/30/11 at NYM6, 8/27 at HOUR10, 8/14/09 at CHC6, 8/27 at HOUER10, 8/14/09 at CHC4, 4x-last 7/18 at NYYBB6, 6/9/18 at TEX12, 7/2 vs. BALSO14, 5/12/18 vs. TEX2, 2x-last 6/15 vs. LAAHR3, 4/14/10 at SF–CG3x-last 5/18/11 at CIN–SHO2x-last 5/18/11 at CIN8G, 3/29 – 6/10Win Streak11G, 8/17/18 – 6/10/192G, 2x-last 8/16 – 8/27Loss Streak7G, 9/8/13 – 5/18/142019 SPLITS vs. BATTERSSPLITABHAVG2B3BHRBBSOTBPAvs. LHB36683.2271831129136140405vs. RHB35171.2021534281041043852019 SPLITSSPLITWLERAGIPHRERBBSOHome832.5917104.173313027143Road833.591690.18140363097March103.6015.032228April202.60527.218881431May302.34634.2261191144June222.20532.224108737July413.75636.0321515945August134.66529.0301615436September302.73529.221991039SPLITS vs. BLUE JAYSSPLITWLERAGIPHRERBBSO2019013.06317.216665232018100.0017.0400213Career212.39637.23110101146at Home112.67427.02388639TOMORROW’S STARTER: LH RYAN YARBROUGH (11-6, 4.13 ERA IN 2019)ÊMade his third consecutive Opening Day roster, but his first time as a regular member of the starting rotation…followed an opener in the fifth game of last season (April 1 vs. COL), and made his major league debut out of the bullpen in the third game of the 2018 season (March 31 vs. BOS).ÊIs the only pitcher in franchise history with double-digit wins in each of his first two seasons in the majors (2018-19)…his 27 wins are the most in club history through his first two seasons…enters the 2020 season winless in his last 8 apps (all starts), the longest winless drought of his career.ÊIs 6-1 with a 2.45 ERA (36.2-IP, 10-ER) in 9 apps (2 starts) against the Blue Jays and 4-0 with a 2.42 ERA (22.1-IP, 6-ER) in 5 apps (1 start) against them at Tropicana Field…last faced them on Sep 28, 2019 and took the loss, yielding four straight hits to start the game: Teoscar Hernández leadoff homer, Cavan Biggio single, Randal Grichuk RBI triple, Rowdy Tellez RBI single…his line: L, 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R/ER, 2 BB, 3 SO, 1 HR, 79 pit, 46 str.RAYS HITTER NOTES#1 WILLY ADAMES – ah-DAH-mes .000 AVG – 0 HR – 0 RBI – 0 SBFri vs. TOR: –vs. LH: –TOR Series: –vs. RH: –Stand: –with RISP: –Current Hitting Streak: 0-for-2Last HR: 9/23/19 vs. BOSÊIs the youngest player on the Rays Opening Day roster for a second con-secutive year…started at shortstop on Opening Day vs. HOU last season.ÊIs errorless in his last 86 chances over 31 games dating back to 2019.Ê2019: Hit .254/.317/.418 (135-for-531) with 20 HR and 52 RBI in 152 games.ÊBecame the youngest Ray to hit 20 HR since Evan Longoria (33) in 2009…all 20 HR came as a shortstop, passing Brad Miller (19) in 2016 for the single-season club record…hit 15 HR on the road, compared to 5 HR at home.ÊTotaled 12 Defensive Runs Saved last season, tied with OAK Marcus Semien and LAA Andrelton Simmons for the most among AL shortstops.ÊHis full bio is on Page 50 of the 2020 Rays Media Guide.#43 MIKE BROSSEAU – BRAH-so .000 AVG – 0 HR – 0 RBI – 0 SBFri vs. TOR: –vs. LH: –TOR Series: –vs. RH: –Stand: –with RISP: –Current Hitting Streak: 1G (.333, 1-3)Last HR: 8/24/19 at BALÊMade his first career Opening Day roster.Ê2019: Hit .273/.319/.462 (36-for-132) with 6 HR and 16 RBI in 51 games.ÊOn June 23 at OAK, made his major league debut, playing third base, and recorded his first career hit, a 2nd-inning single off Brett Anderson.ÊIs believed to be the seventh U.S.-born non-drafted free agent to sign with the Rays and make his major league debut for them…joined Trevor Enders, Lee Gardner, Jorge Cantú, Brian Stokes, Elliot Johnson and Kirby Yates.ÊHit .304/.394/.567 (82-for-270) with 16 HR in 73 games for Durham.ÊHis full bio is on Page 69 of the 2020 Rays Media Guide.#26 JI-MAN CHOI – GEE-man CHOY.000 AVG – 0 HR – 0 RBI – 0 SBFri vs. TOR: –vs. LH: –TOR Series: –vs. RH: –Stand: –with RISP: –Current Hitting Streak: 4G (.429, 6-14)Last HR: 9/29/19 at TORÊMade his fourth Opening Day roster, including third consecutive…his only previous Opening Day start came at first base last season with the Rays.ÊHas hit 8 HR in his last 26 games (23 starts) dating back to the 2019 season.ÊHis 36 career homers already rank 4th all-time among Korean-born play-ers, behind Shin-Soo Choo (213), Jung Ho Kang (46) and Hee-Seop Choi (40).ÊIs one of four players born in South Korea to play for the Rays, along with Rob Refsnyder (2018), Jae-kuk Ryu (2007-08) and Jae Seo (2006-07).ÊIs a career .258/.358/.486 (160-for-619) hitter with 33 HR vs. RHP.Ê2019: Hit .261/.363/.459 (107-for-410) with 19 HR and 63 RBI in 127 games.ÊHis full bio is on Page 80 of the 2020 Rays Media Guide.#2 YANDY DÍAZ – YAHN-dee .000 AVG – 0 HR – 0 RBI – 0 SBFri vs. TOR: –vs. LH: –TOR Series: –vs. RH: –Stand: –with RISP: –Current Hitting Streak: 0-for-3Last HR: 7/18/19 at NYY (G1)ÊMade his third Opening Day roster (2017, 2019), all starts (incl. tonight).ÊIs a career .296/.389/.468 (60-for-203) hitter with 7 HR vs. LHP.Ê2019: Limited to 79 games due to three stints on the injured list, the third of which cost him over two months…hit 14 HR in 347 PA for the Rays, compared to 1 HR in 299 PA over two seasons with the Indians.ÊHit .267/.340/.476 (82-for-307) in the regular season…homered in the 1st and 3rd innings of the AL Wild Card Game at OAK, becoming the fifth Ray with a multi-HR game in the postseason, first in a “winner take all” game.ÊHis full bio is on Page 84 of the 2020 Rays Media Guide.#39 KEVIN KIERMAIER – KEER-my-er .000 AVG – 0 HR – 0 RBI – 0 SBFri vs. TOR: –vs. LH: –TOR Series: –vs. RH: –Stand: –with RISP: –Current Hitting Streak: 0-for-2Last HR: 9/24/19 vs. NYYÊMade his sixth consecutive Opening Day roster, all starts in center field…extends his club record for most Opening Day starts as a center fielder.ÊWith his sixth Opening Day start, he ties Ben Zobrist for the 3rd-most in franchise history behind Evan Longoria (9) and Carl Crawford (8).ÊSince 2015, his 111 Defensive Runs Saved lead major league outfielders and are the 2nd-most in the majors behind Andrelton Simmons (125).Ê2019: Claimed the Rawlings AL Gold Glove Award for center field…marked his third Gold Glove Award, tying Evan Longoria for the most in club his-tory…his 13 Defensive Runs Saved were the most among AL center fielders.ÊHit .228/.278/.398 (102-for-447) with 14 HR and 55 RBI in 129 games.ÊIn Game 3 of the ALDS vs. HOU, his 3-run homer to right-center off Zack Greinke in the 2nd inning gave the Rays their first lead of the series.ÊHis full bio is on Page 103 of the 2020 Rays Media Guide.#8 BRANDON LOWE – rhymes with “now” .000 AVG – 0 HR – 0 RBI – 0 SBFri vs. TOR: –vs. LH: –TOR Series: –vs. RH: –Stand: –with RISP: –Current Hitting Streak: 0-for-7Last HR: 9/23/19 vs. BOSÊMade his second straight Opening Day roster, after starting at DH in 2019.ÊFor each home run he hits, he will donate $100 to the Crisis Center of Tam-pa Bay…this donation will be matched by the Rays Baseball Foundation.Ê2019: Hit .270/.336/.514 (80-for-296) with 17 HR and 51 RBI in 82 games.ÊNamed an AL All-Star in his rookie season, and voted the club’s Outstand-ing Rookie by the Tampa Bay Chapter of the BBWAA…finished 3rd in AL Rookie of the Year voting to HOU Yordan Álvarez and BAL John Means.ÊHis 17 HR ranked 3rd in club history for a rookie, behind Evan Longoria (27) in 2008 and Jonny Gomes (21) in 2005, despite 68 games on the injured list.ÊMin. 300 PA, his .514 SLG was the 2nd-highest in AL history by a rookie middle infielder, behind BOS Nomar Garciaparra (.534) in 1997.ÊHis full bio is on Page 112 of the 2020 Rays Media Guide.#13 MANUEL MARGOT – man-WEHL mahr-GO .000 AVG – 0 HR – 0 RBI – 0 SBFri vs. TOR: –vs. LH: –TOR Series: –vs. RH: –Stand: –with RISP: –Current Hitting Streak: 2G (.250, 2-8)Last HR: 9/11/19 vs. CHCÊMade his fourth consecutive Opening Day roster…the previous three came with the Padres—all starts in center field including two batting leadoff.ÊAcquired by the Rays in exchange for RH Emilio Pagán on Feb 8, 2020.Ê2019: Hit .234/.304/.387 (93-for-398) with 12 HR, 37 RBI and 20 SB in 151 games…hit .330/.420/.466 (34-for-103) against lefties, 7th in the NL in avg. and 6th in on-base pct. (min. 100 AB), compared to .200/.260/.359 vs. RHP.ÊHis full bio is on Page 119 of the 2020 Rays Media Guide.#40 JOSÉ MARTÍNEZ .000 AVG – 0 HR – 0 RBI – 0 SBFri vs. TOR: –vs. LH: –TOR Series: –vs. RH: –Stand: –with RISP: –Current Hitting Streak: 0-for-2Last HR: 7/23/19 at PITÊMade his fourth straight Opening Day roster…only previous Opening Day start came in 2018 (with STL), when he homered off Noah Syndergaard.ÊAmong active players with at least 250 AB vs. LHP, he ranks among ML leaders in avg. (.331, 4th), on-base pct. (.405, 8th) and slugging (.570, 11th).ÊOwns a career .322/.392/.494 (28-for-87) line with 3 HR as a pinch-hitter.ÊAcquired by the Rays on Jan 9, 2020 in the Matthew Liberatore trade.Ê2019: Hit .269/.340/.410 (90-for-334) with 10 HR and 42 RBI in 128 games, after batting over .300 the previous two seasons (.305 in 2018, .309 in 2017).ÊHis full bio is on Page 122 of the 2020 Rays Media Guide.#7 MICHAEL PEREZ .000 AVG – 0 HR – 0 RBI – 0 SBFri vs. TOR: –vs. LH: –TOR Series: –vs. RH: –Stand: –with RISP: –Current Hitting Streak: 0-for-7Last HR: 8/10/18 at TORÊMade his second consecutive Opening Day roster as a backup catcher.Ê2019: Appeared in 22 games and made 15 starts over three stints with the Rays…was on the 10-day IL (right oblique strain) from May 8–June 9.ÊHit .245/.338/.495 (45-for-184) with 13 HR and 42 RBI for the Bulls.ÊHis full bio is on Page 145 of the 2020 Rays Media Guide.#11 HUNTER RENFROE .000 AVG – 0 HR – 0 RBI – 0 SBFri vs. TOR: –vs. LH: –TOR Series: –vs. RH: –Stand: –with RISP: –Current Hitting Streak: 1G (1.000, 1-1)Last HR: 9/21/19 vs. ARIÊMade his fourth consecutive Opening Day roster…his only previous Open-ing Day start came in right field during the 2017 season with the Padres.ÊAcquired along with INF Xavier Edwards and a PTBNL (INF Esteban Quiroz) for OF Tommy Pham and INF Jake Cronenworth on Dec 6, 2019.Ê2019: Hit .216/.289/.489 (95-for-440) with 33 HR and 64 RBI in 140 games.ÊHit a career-high 33 HR, the most by a Padre since Adrián González (40) in 2009…set career highs with 140 games, 64 runs, 46 BB and 53 XBH.ÊWas a finalist for the Rawlings NL Gold Glove Award for right field…re-corded 13 outfield assists, tied for most in the NL…his 23 Defensive Runs Saved tied for 2nd among ML outfielders behind WAS Victor Robles (25).ÊHis full bio is on Page 151 of the 2020 Rays Media Guide.#28 DANIEL ROBERTSON .000 AVG – 0 HR – 0 RBI – 0 SBFri vs. TOR: –vs. LH: –TOR Series: –vs. RH: –Stand: –with RISP: –Current Hitting Streak: 1G (.500, 2-4)Last HR: 5/1/19 at KC (G2)ÊMade his fourth consecutive Opening Day roster…did not play on Opening Day in 2017 or 2019; started at second base on Opening Day in 2018.ÊHas gone 48 games and 125 AB since his last homer on May 1, 2019 at KC.Ê2019: Hit .213/.312/.295 (44-for-207) with 2 HR and 19 RBI in 74 games.ÊWas with the Rays for three stints last season: Opening Day–June 14, June 19–July 29 and Sep 1 through the end of the season…his second stint included 33 games on the injured list due to right knee inflammation.ÊHis full bio is on Page 158 of the 2020 Rays Media Guide.#44 KEVAN SMITH .000 AVG – 0 HR – 0 RBI – 0 SBFri vs. TOR: –vs. LH: –TOR Series: –vs. RH: –Stand: –with RISP: –Current Hitting Streak: 2G (.333, 3-9)Last HR: 9/20/19 at HOUÊMade his third Opening Day roster, second active—opened 2018 on the White Sox 10-day IL…was active for Opening Day last season (with LAA).ÊSince the start of 2018, is batting .379/.435/.552 (44-for-116) vs. LHP.Ê2019: Spent the entire season in the majors, but was on the injured list three times: May 22–June 6 (concussion), June 19–July 11 (left hand metacarpal sprain) and Aug 11-23 (lumbar strain)…hit .251 (48-for-191) in 67 games.ÊHis full bio is on Page 220 of the 2020 Rays Media Guide.#25 YOSHI TSUTSUGO – tsoo-TSOO-go .000 AVG – 0 HR – 0 RBI – 0 SBFri vs. TOR: –vs. LH: –TOR Series: –vs. RH: –Stand: –with RISP: –Current Hitting Streak: –Last HR: –ÊSigned on Dec 16, 2019 and will be making his major league debut…will be-come the fourth Japanese-born player in franchise history, following Hideo Nomo (2005), Akinori Iwamura (2007-09) and Hideki Matsui (2012).ÊSpent 10 seasons with the Yokohama DeNA BayStars in Japan (NPB)…was named Yokohama’s youngest team captain in franchise history in 2015.ÊFrom 2016-19, led NPB with 139 HR and ranked 3rd in NPB with 372 RBI.Ê2019: Hit .272/.388/.511 (126-for-464) with 29 HR and 79 RBI in 131 games for Yokohama…marked his sixth consecutive season of 20 HR (or more).ÊHis full bio is on Page 173 of the 2020 Rays Media Guide.#16 KEVIN CASH, MANAGERÊIs in his sixth season as Rays manager…is the fifth manager in franchise history and already the 2nd-longest-tenured Rays manager behind Joe Maddon (2006-14).ÊIs now baseball’s 3rd-longest-tenured manager with his current team behind OAK Bob Melvin (10th season, 9th full) and CLE Terry Francona (8th season).ÊLast season marked his second consecutive 3rd-place finish in BBWAA AL Manager of the Year voting…finished behind MIN Rocco Baldelli and NYY Aaron Boone.ÊHas been ejected nine times as Rays manager (last June 30, 2019 vs. TEX), tied with Lou Piniella for 3rd in club history behind Maddon (37) and Larry Rothschild (15).ÊIs the sixth Tampa-born manager in major league history, joining Al Lopez (HOF), Tony La Russa (HOF), Lou Piniella, Dave Miley and John Hart.ÊOn Oct 9, 2018, agreed to a contract extension through the 2024 season including a club option for the 2025 season.


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LONGLEY: Losing is a foreign feeling for confident Blue Jays young guns — Toronto Sun

In his three seasons as a professional baseball player, Bo Bichette has played for five different minor-league teams, taking the Blue Jays shortstop to close to dozens of different ball parks. Read More

LONGLEY: Losing is a foreign feeling for confident Blue Jays young guns — Toronto Sun

In his three seasons as a professional baseball player, Bo Bichette has played for five different minor-league teams, taking the Blue Jays shortstop to close to dozens of different ball parks.

Same deal for second baseman Cavan Biggio who didn’t play in the Gulf Coast League like Bichette, but added the Vancouver Canadians to his travelogue.

Vlad Guerrero Jr., also has played in five different pro leagues for Jays affiliates and like his two promising infield compadres added the parent club to his resume in 2019, a spot where all three return as the 2020 Major League Baseball season is about to get under way.

Because of those travels, through numbing bus rides to small-town ball parks across America, the nomadic life is not far removed from their present situation.

So, when the young and improving Jays begin the abbreviated 60-game season on Friday night in St. Petersburg, Fla., many of them will be well-acclimatized to moving around. How much that helps for a team that as of Thursday afternoon still didn’t have a home stadium remains to be seen, but it can’t hurt.

Even better, neither does the fact that the above three emerging stars are well versed with each other and with winning. They’ve captured championships in the minor leagues together and have every belief they can do the same in the major leagues.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (left) and Bo Bichette are among the young stars on the Blue Jays. MARK BLINCH/GETTY IMAGES FILES Mark Blinch / Getty Images

“We’re just confident,” Bichette told the Toronto Sun in an interview conducted on March 11, a one-on-one chat in Dunedin that was intended for a season preview just weeks down the road.

“The thing is, we’ve never been together for an entire year and lost. We don’t know what that’s like, so we’re definitely not expecting it.

“We know we’ve got a lot of work left to do. We know that individually we have to establish ourselves in this game, considering none of us have a full year. We’re going to go out there, we’re going to play hard and we’re going to see what we can do.”

With his breakthrough and record-setting 46-game rookie stint, it could be argued that Bichette usurped Guerrero as the emerging face of this mostly rebuilt squad. He has certainly emerged as a leader and backs up his talk with superb play in the field and at the plate.

And winning together should not be underestimated, a Bichette sentiment shared by the Jays major league coach, John Schneider, who had the fortune to coach the power threesome when they were together at multiple minor league stops.

“They expect to do big things, which is awesome,” Schneider said in an interview. “They had it in the minor leagues and last year when they transitioned into the big leagues and us being a very young team, it gave them a lot of freedom to continue to be who they were.

“They are not looking at this season like it’s going to be part of the learning curve and getting their bearings, they are ready to roll. That just speaks volumes about who they are.”

While Bichette, Biggio and Guerrero get a hefty portion of the attention, those around the team believe that conversation around the youthful core needs to be expanded to include catcher Danny Jansen and left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr.. And Schneider says that expanded group brings an accountability that comes in the form of the individuals pushing each other to be better.

“The biggest thing is that they hold each other accountable,” Schneider said. “They have fun together but they know when it’s time to work and when it’s time to have fun. Being familiar with each other from the minor leagues and what they went through last year, it’s a unique dynamic and it’s cool to be a part of it.

“Those three get a lot of attention, but there’s a real strong group of under (age) 26 guys who are expecting big things from each other.”

In the revamped 10-team division that will see the Jays face their traditional American League East rivals as well as the five inhabitants of the NL East, the opposition is stacked. By the time the season is a week old, the Jays will have played four games against the World Series champion Washington Nationals and three against a strong Tampa Bay Rays team.

Contending will be a tall order from a largely inexperienced group of Jays, but the talent of the core group is matched by belief. Early in the off season, Bichette approached general manager Ross Atkins and implored him to bolster the roster, because of the win now attitude in the clubhouse. The front office listened, adding three starting pitchers including a bonafide ace in Hyun-Jin Ryu, the South Korean lefty who will get the ball for Friday’s opener. The result is a team that is among the most intriguing long shots in baseball.

“We can be very competitive,” Bichette said. “We believe we can surprise a lot of other teams. If you ask players on other teams, I think you would find that they’re not super pumped to face us. That’s a big tell, that other teams would look at us that way. We’re going to play as hard as we can and see what we can do.”

It certainly appears that comfort breeds confidence, especially among the trio of young guns that have made the Jays sleeper contenders in the eyes of many.

“If you’re confident and comfortable with what you are doing and who you are around, I think the best version of you always comes out,” Schneider said. “(Manager Charlie Montoyo) and us as a coaching staff have been awesome at letting those guys be who they are and reinforcing that. It’s s a really cool dynamic.

“I’m such a big believer in the vibe because as baseball players you’re around each other so much. There’s such a clear difference from last year to this year. There’s a definite compete factor where it’s not like we’re looking just to stay close and hang with teams, we’re coming to beat you every night.”

Mikheyev emerges from group of talented Leafs forwards to dominate through scrimmages — Toronto Sun

Ilya Mikheyev, the best Maple Leafs forward. Read More

Mikheyev emerges from group of talented Leafs forwards to dominate through scrimmages — Toronto Sun


Mikheyev emerges from group of talented Leafs forwards to dominate through scrimmages

Terry KoshanMore from Terry Koshan

Published:July 23, 2020

Updated:July 23, 2020 10:30 PM EDT

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Ilya Mikheyev, the best Maple Leafs forward.

The best among any Toronto players, for that matter.

Mikheyev has had that kind of training camp, as he was voted by media as the most valuable player in the five-scrimmage tournament, putting a fine point on his overall performance with a hat trick for Team Blue in a 6-3 win against Team White on Thursday at the Ford Performance Centre.

We get it — the accolade does not mean much in the big picture. Mikheyev’s play, however, certainly does, and he is bound to start the qualifying round on a line with captain John Tavares and Mitch Marner, giving the Leafs another lethal offensive option against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

“I thought he was excellent,” Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “Probably more than anybody, he is really excited and happy to be back here playing in a team environment.

“He and his line, I thought, were really good. They’re playing with lots of pace and making lots of plays and had chemistry. That means a lot.”

Consider Mikheyev’s recovery from a lacerated wrist on Dec. 27 against New Jersey complete, never mind that he has not yet played in a game since. With his size, speed and finish, Mikheyev dominated through many of the scrimmages.

“You see it out there — he doesn’t make it easy on our D-men,” Leafs winger Kyle Clifford said. “I’m really looking forward to seeing him in an actual game because I think it’s only going to elevate from there.

“His work ethic is top-notch. He’s a really good fit with the guys he’s playing with. Those are the guys you need down the stretch, that play an all-around game.”

ROBERTSON: IN OR OUT?

We asked Keefe: Based on what you’ve seen through camp, do you expect 18-year-old rookie Nick Robertson to be in the lineup for the opener against Columbus on Aug. 2?

“We haven’t made any decisions on that yet,” Keefe said. “I think the exhibition game (on Tuesday against the Montreal Canadiens) will really help us refine things. I’ve really liked the progression he has shown.

“There’s other things at play here, his play and his development throughout all of this, but there’s also decisions to make on the other players, the ones that have been in our lineup and played for us up until the pause. We will make a decision based on all of those factors about what’s going to help us the best prepare to win Game 1.”

Robertson on Thursday played on the right side on the fourth line with veterans Jason Spezza and Clifford, knocking Frederik Gauthier to 13th-forward status. Pierre Engvall was at his usual spot on the third line with Alex Kerfoot and Kasperi Kapanen.

“Nick Robertson has made an impact,” Clifford said. “He’s a focused individual and you can tell he wants to be here and he wants to be a part of what we’re building. I really like his game, he has a really good shot and he’s tenacious on the forecheck, there’s no give-up in his game. It was fun to play with him.”

The physical, hard-nosed style used by the Jackets won’t be a factor in whether Robertson cracks the Game 1 lineup.

“I don’t think that that matters in this case for us,” Keefe said. “We’re trying to put the best team possible on the ice and make the right decisions for our group that’ll help us win, no matter who the opponent is.”

LOOSE LEAFS

With Keefe putting Zach Hyman and William Nylander back on Matthews’ wings, one of Robertson, Gauthier or Engvall will be the odd man out for Game 1. On defence, the pairs of Morgan Rielly-Cody Ceci, Jake Muzzin-Justin Holl and Travis Dermott-Tyson Barrie are set … One forward outside his top six has stood out, Keefe said. “I would say that Kappy would be the one,” Keefe said, referring to Kapanen. “If I look at his progression through the first three days of camp on to this, Kappy has really raised this level in terms of using his speed and getting on the puck and having second, third efforts on the puck. He’s a difference-maker for us when he does that.” … Holl played with a full visor a day after being cut for stitches on his face … Keefe broke character when he was asked if he has an idea of how long a leash he can give Frederik Andersen in a best-of-five series. “No, I don’t,” Keefe said after laughing. “Anytime you go into a series with any sort of strategy of what to do if things don’t work out for your goalie, you’re not setting yourself up for success. Our goalie is going to be ready to go.” … The name of the NHL club in Seattle, revealed on Thursday to be the Kraken, sat well with Matthews. “I like it, I think it’s great,” Matthews said. “I think it’s pretty awesome that Seattle’s going to get a hockey team. It’s a great sports city. The jerseys are a little flashy, but I think they’re pretty nice.” … Matthews said forward Nic Petan caught his eye this week. “Just seems like the puck is following him around out there, he’s had it quite a lot, making really good plays,” Matthews said … The Leafs will have a full day off on Friday before returning to practice on Saturday.

tkoshan@postmedia.com