NEW YORK -- While the timing might not have been right after getting swept in a three-game series against the Yankees, the annual rookie initiation that followed Thursday night's loss provided some much needed comic relief for the Rays.
When the Tampa Bay rookies -- a group that included rookie manager Joe Maddon, rookie bench coach Bill Evers and rookie trainer Paul Harker -- arrived back inside the visiting clubhouse at Yankee Stadium, they found their clothes missing and replaced by different outfits.
Maddon and Evers got off light with slacks, shirts and coats that would have made NBC's Earl look fashionable, while 13 rookie players weren't so lucky -- they were suited in drag.
Among the more fashionable were Ruddy Lugo and Edwin Jackson, who were dressed to look like Tinkerbell. Juan Salas had on a French maid's outfit, Delmon Young dressed like a nurse, James Shields a police woman complete with handcuffs and Ben Zobrist a preppie school girl.
Among the more amusing comments heard was that of Jason Hammel, who wore a short dress decorated with the likeness of a $100 bill. When the right-hander slipped into the dress, he said: "Does anyone want to zip me up?"
Veteran catcher Josh Paul, who was believed to be one of the perpetrators of the fashion event, was asked about the purchasing of the dresses, but offered only: "I don't know anything about it."
Smiling broadly at the large contingent of rookies, Paul barked: "Hustle up boys, we've got autographs to sign."
On the way to the bus, the rookies were required to stop and sign autographs for fans. All of the players seemed to take the prank in good spirits.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.