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Rays spring opener on Wednesday, Blake Snell impressions, and links

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Believe it or not, the Tampa Bay Rays will take the field tomorrow to play an actual baseball game against an actual Major League team, the Washington Nationals.

RHP Jake Odorizzi will take the mound for the Rays, while RHP Tanner Roark gets the start for the Nationals.

Expect some, but not all of the Rays starters to get a few innings of action. The focus of Spring Training is to dust off the rust built from the offseason and get ready for the regular season, and the Rays players will have every chance to do so.

First pitch is at 1:05 ET. The game will not be televised.

Spring Training Coverage

Rays infielders Brad Miller and Tim Beckham field ground balls while James Loney and Logan Morrison get some work done over at first base.

Rays top pitching prospect Blake Snell signs a few baseballs for fans with his right hand even though he’s left handed. Those left handers I tell ya. They always have tricks up their sleeve.

Here’s some video of Blake Snell getting some work in from the mound. He seems effortless, but the ball is rocketing out of his hand at 98mph. 98!!! The kid is going to be something special.

Back in the day, when David Price and James Shields were the frontline starters of the Rays rotation, they would sit behind the pitchers mound during Spring Training, hand them baseballs, and give them wise words of veteran encouragement. Well, it looks like Chris Archer is carrying that tradition. Here he is with another top pitching prospect Jacob Faria. Really cool stuff.

Links

Jayson Stark (ESPN) writes about how Chris Archer is the latest, greatest grand marshal of Rays aces. This is a must read. I repeat. A must read.

Link: http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/page/springtraining_archer/tampa-bay-rays-chris-archer-journey-greatness

Marc Topkin (TBT) gives his input on how Blake Snell is drawing waves this Spring Training.

LINK: http://www.tampabay.com/sports/baseball/rays/top-rays-prospect-blake-snell-drawing-raves/2267246

Henry Druschel (SB Nation) tries to make sense of the Rays 2016 projections.

LINK: http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2016/2/29/11132618/rays-projections-pecota-steamer-zips?_ga=1.57582186.1924065095.1448409369

I’ll leave you with a heartwarming picture of the Rays stars having a little fun off the field and in front of the cameras.

Man, it is awesome to have baseball back.

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