ST. PETERSBURG, FL-The Tampa Bay Rays will begin their 16th spring training and fifth in Charlotte County on Wednesday, February 13 when Manager Joe Maddon and his staff welcome pitchers and catchers to Charlotte Sports Park. The players will take the field at 10 a.m. All subsequent workouts will start at 9:30 a.m., including the first full-squad workout on Sunday, February 17, when the camp expands to 64 players, including 24 non-roster invites. For all spring training workouts, admission and parking are free.
This spring also marks the 100th anniversary of Major League Baseball in the Tampa Bay area. It was on February 17, 1913 that 36 members of the Chicago Cubs disembarked their Seaboard train No. 99 at Tampa Union Station to begin a 31-day training camp. Tampa Mayor D.B. McKay lured the Cubs from New Orleans by promising to cover the team's expenses up to $100 per player and while it was reported the city lost between $500 and $600, both sides were "well pleased" to the point where a five-year contract was signed just before the Cubs headed north the day after St. Patrick's Day.
Under Manager Johnny Evers, the Cubs played at Tampa's Plant Field and stayed at the nearby 500-room Tampa Bay Hotel. The only other team training in Florida in 1913 was the Cleveland Indians in Pensacola, so the Cubs trained anywhere 2-1/2 to 5 hours a day and played 10 games including six intrasquad games against the Yannigans (rookies) and one contest against the soldiers at Fort Dade on Egmont Key, a game the Cubs won 13-0. The Cubs first three games in Tampa were against the Havana A's, a team of barnstorming Cubans stars, and the Cubs swept the series winning 4-2, 12-4 and 17-1.
New Faces on the 40-man Roster
Signed as Free Agents (3): RHP Roberto Hernandez, INF/OF Kelly Johnson, 1B James Loney
Acquired in Trades (3): SS Yunel Escobar, LHP Mike Montgomery, RHP Jake Odorizzi
Free Agents (4): LHP J.P. Howell, INF Jeff Keppinger, 1B Carlos Peña, CF B.J. Upton
Trades (3): RHP Burke Badenhop, RHP Wade Davis, RHP James Shields
- Tuesday, February 12, Noon-Pre-spring training press conference at Charlotte Sports Park with Rays Manager Joe Maddon and Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman. Lunch will be provided by the Charlotte Harbor Visitor and Convention Bureau following the press conference.
- Wednesday, February 13, 10 a.m.-First workout, pitchers and catchers, following physical examinations.
- Saturday, February 16, 10 a.m.-2013 Rays Fan Fest at Tropicana Field. All Rays players and coaches are expected to attend.
- Sunday, February 17, 9:30 a.m.-First workout, full squad.
- Monday, February 18, 1 p.m.-Rays Charity Golf Tournament to benefit Rays Baseball Foundation at Ritz Carlton Golf Club, Sarasota. All Rays players and coaches are expected to attend.
- Thursday, February 21, 7:30 a.m.-Photo Day for Media Only - All players and coaches will be available for head-and-shoulders photos. Media planning to attend should notify the Rays Communications dept.
- Saturday, February 23, 1:05 p.m.-Grapefruit League opener (split-squad) vs. Pittsburgh Pirates at Charlotte Sports Park and vs. Boston Red Sox at JetBlue Park (Lee County).
- Saturday, March 30, 1:10 p.m.-Final Grapefruit League contest vs. Detroit Tigers at Tropicana Field.