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Rays conclude spring training, ready for Sunday’s opener

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The regular season can’t get here quickly enough for the Tampa Bay Rays. Not after the way that Spring Training concluded. The Rays didn’t win either half of a split squad doubleheader Friday, falling 9-4 (in a game they led 3-0) to Detroit and tying Atlanta 2-2. Tampa Bay finished the spring 12-13. It has Saturday off before opening against Toronto on Sunday afternoon. In its defeat on Friday, the Rays got three innings out of Matt Moore, who left…

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Rays’ Chris Archer not aggressive enough in 2nd defeat

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If Chris Archer is preparing for a lack of support, he’s in midseason form already. Archer’s spring training record fell to 0-2 Monday after a 5-0 loss to the Atlanta Braves. Archer gave up only two runs, and one of those was unearned, in absorbing the loss. “The past two games I’ve started a little slow in the first inning,” Archer said. “I think I’ve been a little too passive. I’m not a passive pitcher. I have to be extremely…

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Toytown Braves park on hold pending St. Pete City Council decision on Rays deal

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Building a stadium for the Atlanta Braves to use for Spring Training is likely hinged on what St. Pete City Council decides on the long-looming Tampa Bay Rays issue. The Braves are interested in playing ball in St. Pete during training season, but Pinellas county commissioners are in a pickle over whether or not to support plans to build them a facility at the Toytown lot that used to be a landfill. Here’s the deal. Building a sports complex for…

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MLB backs Rays in tug-of-war with Braves over Toytown

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If the battle for Toytown turns into a feud between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Atlanta Braves, Major League Baseball has let it be known who’s side it is on. The ongoing struggle to get the Rays a new stadium is “the most pressing need,” baseball said. “Major League Baseball is committed to working with the Rays to secure a new ballpark in cooperation with the Tampa Bay region,” the statement said. “This can only happen with the support…

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Braves wouldn’t be enough consolation if Rays leave

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A lot of us grew up as fans of the Atlanta Braves. A lot of us saw our first major league baseball games there. We can still recite the old lineups. Orlando Cepeda and Felix Millan and Sonny Jackson and Clete Boyer. Rico Carty and Felipe Alou and Hank Aaron and Bob Didier. Phil Neikro and Pat Jarvis and Ron Reed and George Stone. It was the only team in the South, and as such, it was the team that…

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Rays come from behind one more time to defeat the Atlanta Braves

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For the Tampa Bay Rays, it is not how a game begins. It is how it ends. The Rays, escape artists that they are, are starting to develop a gift for the comeback. Despite a rough start, falling behind by three runs and playing poorly, the Rays came from three runs down once again. It was the third game in the last four where they have rallied despite a three-run deficit, and their overall 24th comeback of the year. This…

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This time, it is Kevin Kiermaier’s bat that sparks Rays to victory

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You admire him for his arm. You have seen Kevin Kiermaier throw the danger off of the base paths, and you have nodded at the performance. He has a fine arm, an arm that opposing baserunners should fear. And for the Tampa Bay Rays, that is a strong enough weapon. And you have cheered him for his glove. You have seen Kiermaier chase down would-be doubles and steal them from the air, and you have cheered the sight. He has…

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