Rays to open '09 with tough road stint

Rays to open '09 with tough road stint

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays will open the 2009 season against the Red Sox on Monday, April 6 at Fenway Park, thus beginning a brutal first month of the season.

After playing the Red Sox, the Rays will wrap up their first road trip with three games in Baltimore in advance of the home opener against the Yankees on Monday, April 13.

Following the three-game series with New York, the Chicago White Sox come to Tropicana Field on April 16 for a four-game weekend series. The Rays will then go on the road again with stops in Seattle, Oakland and Minnesota.

All told, the Rays play 15 of their first 22 games on the road.

The Red Sox come to town for the first time on April 30 for a four-game series through May 3. Succeeding trips will see them playing at Tropicana Field from Aug. 4-5 and from Sept. 1-3.

An early-season schedule quirk sees Tampa Bay go to New York for its first visit to the new Yankee Stadium in a two-game series on May 6-7, before heading to Boston for a three-game set from May 8-10. The Rays then have a day off on May 11 before heading to Baltimore to play another two-game set.

The Rays will head to Florida from May 22-24 for their first Interleague series and will host their first Interleague series from June 12-14 when the Nationals travel to Tropicana Field.

The club will then travel to Colorado for three with the Rockies before coming back across the country to New York for its first visit to newly built Citi Field for three with the Mets from June 19-21. The Rays head home to finish their Interleague schedule with three against the Phillies and three against the Marlins from June 23-28.

Aside from the first home series of the season, the Yankees will make two other trips to Tropicana Field. The first of those will be a three-game series from July 27-29 and the Rays will close the season at home against the Yankees, Oct. 2-4.

The Rays will be in Cleveland for Memorial Day, May 25; in Texas on the Fourth of July; and will be in New York on Labor Day, Sept. 7.

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