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Spring Training Fan Guide: Devil Rays

Spring Training Fan Guide: Devil Rays

Of all the commutes that ballclubs must make for Spring Training, the Rays have the easiest one of all, heading just one mile east from Tropicana Field to Progress Energy Park, Home of Al Lang Field.

As Rays fans prepare for the trip to check out the club up close at camp, here are some questions and answers that should help:

When do the Rays arrive at camp?
The Rays' pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on Feb. 16, with the position players following on Feb. 21. The first full-squad workout is Feb. 22.

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When do games start?
The Rays open their 30-game Grapefruit League schedule on March 2, when they host the division-rival Yankees at Progress Energy Park.

Other highlights of the home schedule include visits on March 10 and 13 from National League MVP Ryan Howard and the Phillies, a pair of games against the defending American League Central champion Twins on March 5 and 22, and a meeting with the reigning AL champion Tigers on March 12.

After a week on the road, the Rays wrap their Spring Training slate on March 31, when they host the NL East champion Mets at Tropicana Field.

The Rays have two exhibition games at Progress Energy Park, on March 22 against the Twins, and March 23 against the Reds.

How do I get tickets?
Individual tickets for games at Progress Energy Park, home of Al Lang Field, are on sale via the Rays' official Web site at www.devilrays.com, at the Tropicana Field Box Office, the Devil Rays Dugout at WestShore Plaza, all Ticketmaster locations, and via Ticketmaster Phonecharge. The numbers to call are 727-898-RAYS in Pinellas County and 813-282-RAYS in Hillsborough County. Advanced tickets will not be sold at Progress Energy Park, Home of Al Lang Field.

Progress Energy Park holds 6,759 fans, including about 300 on the berm along the right-field line and 150 along the left-field line, always popular spots for families. The stadium also has some seating in the shade, as well as a fully stocked concession stand on the outer concourse.

How do I get to St. Petersburg?
If you're coming from the north or the south of St. Petersburg, I-275 is the best route to take to the Rays' complex or Progress Energy Park. There are many non-stop flights from all over the country into Tampa International Airport, which has easy access to I-275.

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The Raymond A. Naimoli Baseball Complex is located at 7901 30th Ave. North. From I-275, take the 22nd Ave. North exit (No. 12) and proceed 5.4 miles to 80th St. North. Make a right on 80th St. North and proceed a half-mile to the complex, which is located on the right where 80th St. North intersects with 30th Ave. North.

To get to Progress Energy Park from Tampa, take I-275 to Exit 9 and follow that east to the ballpark.

How can I watch the team work out?
There is no admission to see the Rays work out at the Raymond A. Naimoli Baseball Complex. Detailed rosters of the Major Leaguers will be available for no charge; the Minor Leaguers will report to the complex in early March.

Before the start of the Grapefruit League schedule -- while the Major League team is still working out at the complex -- the players hit the field at 9:30 a.m. ET. Workouts last until early afternoon. Once the games begin, the Rays will take batting practice until 11:20 a.m. before home day games and up until 5:20 p.m. before home night games.

Where can I get some autographs?
If they're finished with their work for the day, you might catch players heading back to the clubhouse. Once games start, the seats down the right-field line and around the home dugout and on the first-base side are prime autograph spots. Players can sometimes be caught heading to the parking lot.

What else is there to do in St. Petersburg?
There is plenty to do in St. Petersburg, from visiting the Salvador Dali Museum to the many beaches and restaurants. Visitors can also travel north to Clearwater or east to Tampa to find hundreds of shops, restaurants and hotels.

For more information on St. Petersburg, visit the city's Web site, www.stpete.org

When do the Devil Rays open the regular season?
On April 2, the Devil Rays will open their season against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium in New York at 3:05 p.m. The home opener at Tropicana Field takes place on April 6 against the Blue Jays at 7:10 p.m.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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