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2009 Tampa Bay Rays season

2009 Tampa Bay Rays season

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The Tampa Bay Rays
Tampa Bay Rays
The Tampa Bay Rays are a Major League Baseball team based in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Rays are a member of the Eastern Division of MLB's American League. Since their inception in , the club has played at Tropicana Field...

' 2009 season
2009 Major League Baseball season
The 2009 Major League Baseball season began on Sunday, April 5, 2009 with the Atlanta Braves defeating the 2008 World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies 4–1. The regular season ended on October 6, extended two days for a one-game playoff between the Detroit Tigers and the Minnesota Twins to...

was their 12th season of baseball
Baseball
Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each. The aim is to score runs by hitting a thrown ball with a bat and touching a series of four bases arranged at the corners of a ninety-foot diamond...

 on the Gulf Coast of Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

. The team attempted to defend their American League Championship
2008 American League Championship Series
-Game 1:Friday, October 10, 2008 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FloridaBoston won a pitcher's duel on a sac fly by Jed Lowrie in the fifth and an RBI double by Kevin Youkilis in the eighth. Starter Daisuke Matsuzaka was nearly unhittable in Game 1 of the 2008 ALCS. He held the Rays hitless...

 they won in the previous season. Although they missed the playoffs, they still finished with a winning record (84–78) – only the second in franchise history.

Offseason


For the most part, the Rays' main roster remained intact. Eric Hinske
Eric Hinske
Eric Scott Hinske is a Major League Baseball outfielder, first baseman, and third baseman currently an Atlanta Braves organization...

's contract expired at the end of the 2008 season
2008 Tampa Bay Rays season
The Tampa Bay Rays' 2008 season, the 11th season in franchise history, marked the change of the team's name from the "Tampa Bay Devil Rays" to the "Tampa Bay Rays", as revealed on November 8, 2007. The change in name also came with a change in logo and uniforms, with new team colors of Columbia...

, and the team did not exercise options on Rocco Baldelli
Rocco Baldelli
Rocco Dan Baldelli is a former Major League Baseball outfielder and designated hitter. Because of his excellent size and speed, and in reference to his hometown, he was nicknamed, "The Woonsocket Rocket," early in his professional career...

, Cliff Floyd
Cliff Floyd
Cornelius Clifford Floyd, Jr. is a former Major League Baseball outfielder.-Early years:Floyd was born to parents Cornelius Clifford Floyd, Sr. and Olivia Floyd. After spending 13 years as an only child, Floyd was joined by brother Julius...

 or Trever Miller
Trever Miller
Trever Douglas Miller is an American professional baseball pitcher who is a free agent.-High school:...

, making all four free agents. None were offered salary arbitration. In addition, Jonny Gomes
Jonny Gomes
Jonathan Johnson "Jonny" Gomes is an American professional baseball outfielder.-Early years:...

 was non-tendered on December 12, 2008, making him a free agent as well.

During the offseason, starting pitcher Edwin Jackson
Edwin Jackson
Edwin Jackson is an American professional baseball pitcher.-Early life:Jackson's father, Edwin Jackson, Sr., a military cook, was stationed in Germany at the time of his birth. Jackson is one of 27 major league players who were born in Germany...

 was traded to the Detroit Tigers
Detroit Tigers
The Detroit Tigers are a Major League Baseball team located in Detroit, Michigan. One of the American League's eight charter franchises, the club was founded in Detroit in as part of the Western League. The Tigers have won four World Series championships and have won the American League pennant...

 for corner outfielder and Tampa
Tampa, Florida
Tampa is a city in the U.S. state of Florida. It serves as the county seat for Hillsborough County. Tampa is located on the west coast of Florida. The population of Tampa in 2010 was 335,709....

 native Matt Joyce
Matt Joyce (baseball)
Matthew R. Joyce is a Major League Baseball outfielder for the Tampa Bay Rays.-Early life:Joyce began his career at North Brandon Little League in Brandon, Florida....

. Prior to that, the Rays also considered a trade with the Florida Marlins
Florida Marlins
The Miami Marlins are a professional baseball team based in Miami, Florida, United States. Established in 1993 as an expansion franchise called the Florida Marlins, the Marlins are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball's National League. The Marlins played their home games at...

 for corner outfielder Jeremy Hermida
Jeremy Hermida
Jeremy Ryan Hermida is an outfielder in Major League Baseball for the San Diego Padres. He bats left-handed and throws right-handed.-Early career:...

, but declined to make a deal. They also considered trading with the Minnesota Twins
Minnesota Twins
The Minnesota Twins are a professional baseball team based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They play in the Central Division of Major League Baseball's American League. The team is named after the Twin Cities area of Minneapolis and St. Paul. They played in Metropolitan Stadium from 1961 to 1981 and the...

 to re-acquire center fielder Delmon Young
Delmon Young
Delmon Damarcus Young is an American professional baseball outfielder with the Detroit Tigers of Major League Baseball. He is the younger brother of former major league outfielder and first baseman Dmitri Young. He was born in Montgomery, Alabama.Young is known for having a strong and accurate...

, whom they traded (along with Brendan Harris
Brendan Harris
Brendan Michael Harris Brendan Michael Harris Brendan Michael Harris (born August 26, 1980 in Albany, New York is a Major League Baseball utility infielder who is a free agent.Brendan grew up in Queensbury, New York and led the Spartans to the 1998 State Baseball Tournament. He graduated from the...

) to the Twins in the 2007–08 offseason for Matt Garza
Matt Garza
Matthew Scott Garza is a United States professional baseball pitcher with the Chicago Cubs of Major League Baseball.-Amateur career:He attended Washington Union High School and Fresno State.-Minnesota Twins:...

 and Jason Bartlett.

The Rays signed relief pitcher Joe Nelson
Joe Nelson
Joseph George Nelson is a Major League Baseball relief pitcher who is currently a free agent. He is known mainly for his "Vulcan" change up.-High school:...

 to a one-year, $1.3-million deal on December 30.

The Rays had discussions with free agents for a designated hitter
Designated hitter
In baseball, the designated hitter rule is the common name for Major League Baseball Rule 6.10, an official position adopted by the American League in 1973 that allows teams to designate a player, known as the designated hitter , to bat in place of the pitcher each time he would otherwise come to...

, including Jason Giambi
Jason Giambi
Jason Gilbert Giambi is an American professional baseball first baseman with the Colorado Rockies of Major League Baseball.He was the American League MVP in 2000 while with the Oakland Athletics, and is a five-time All-Star who has led the American League in walks four times, in on base percentage...

, Bobby Abreu
Bobby Abreu
Bob Kelly "Bobby" Abreu , nicknamed "El Comedulce" and also "La Luche", is a Major League Baseball left fielder for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim....

, and Milton Bradley. They also considered re-signing Baldelli as a full-time DH. However, on January 5, 2009, they signed ex-Phillie
Philadelphia Phillies
The Philadelphia Phillies are a Major League Baseball team. They are the oldest continuous, one-name, one-city franchise in all of professional American sports, dating to 1883. The Phillies are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball's National League...

 left fielder Pat Burrell
Pat Burrell
Patrick Brian "Pat" Burrell , nicknamed "Pat the Bat," is a Major League Baseball outfielder who is currently a free agent. He stands tall and weighs . He bats and throws right-handed...

 to a two-year deal worth $16 million.


On January 12, outfielder Gabe Kapler
Gabe Kapler
Gabriel "Gabe" Stefan Kapler is an American Major League Baseball outfielder.He has played portions of 13 seasons with the Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers, Colorado Rockies, Boston Red Sox, Milwaukee Brewers, and the Tampa Bay Rays...

 was signed to a one-year, $1-million deal.

On February 17, free agent infielder Adam Kennedy
Adam Kennedy
Adam Thomas Kennedy is an American Major League Baseball second baseman who plays for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He previously played for the Oakland Athletics, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Washington Nationals, Seattle Mariners and had two stints with the St. Louis Cardinals.-Early years:Kennedy...

 was signed to a minor-league contract and invited to spring training.

The only player who was eligible for salary arbitration that went to a hearing was catcher Dioner Navarro
Dioner Navarro
Dioner Favian Navarro Vivas is a Venezuelan professional baseball catcher, who is a free agent.-New York Yankees:In 2000, Navarro was signed by the New York Yankees as an amateur free agent...

. He lost his hearing on February 10, and was given $2.1 million for 2009; he sought $2.5 million. Two players avoided arbitration: shortstop Jason Bartlett, who signed a one-year contract just short of $2 million on January 20; and Willy Aybar
Willy Aybar
Willy Del Jesus Aybar is an infielder who currently plays for the Yuma Scorpions in the North American League. Aybar has previously played in Major League Baseball for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, and Tampa Bay Rays...

, who signed a two-year deal with an option for 2011 worth up to $4.5 million on February 18.

Matt Garza
Matt Garza
Matthew Scott Garza is a United States professional baseball pitcher with the Chicago Cubs of Major League Baseball.-Amateur career:He attended Washington Union High School and Fresno State.-Minnesota Twins:...

, Andy Sonnanstine
Andy Sonnanstine
Andrew Michael Sonnanstine is a relief pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays. Sonnanstine is a graduate of Wadsworth High School in Wadsworth, Ohio, and attended Kent State University...

, and B.J. Upton all had their contracts renewed, and the Rays signed 15 other players on February 25.

At the end of spring training, starting pitcher Jason Hammel was traded to the Colorado Rockies
Colorado Rockies
The Colorado Rockies are a Major League Baseball team based in Denver, Colorado. Established in 1991, they started play in 1993 and are in the West Division of the National League. The team is named after the Rocky Mountains...

 for pitching prospect Aneury Rodriguez
Aneury Rodríguez
Aneury Rodriguez is a Major League Baseball pitcher for the Houston Astros.Rodriguez signed with the Colorado Rockies as an international free agent in 2005. He was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays for Jason Hammel in 2009. Following the 2010 season, Rodriguez was selected in the Rule 5 draft by the...

. Jeff Niemann
Jeff Niemann
Jeffrey Warren Niemann is a Major League Baseball starting pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays.-College:...

 joined James Shields, Scott Kazmir
Scott Kazmir
Scott Edward Kazmir is an American professional baseball pitcher who is a free agent. Kazmir made his Major League debut with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2004 when he was only 20 years old and at one time held many of the franchise's career pitching records...

, Matt Garza
Matt Garza
Matthew Scott Garza is a United States professional baseball pitcher with the Chicago Cubs of Major League Baseball.-Amateur career:He attended Washington Union High School and Fresno State.-Minnesota Twins:...

 and Andy Sonnanstine in the starting rotation to begin the season, as David Price
David Price (baseball)
David Taylor Price is an American Major League Baseball left-handed starting pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays. Price was selected first overall in the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft by the Rays and made his major league debut in September 2008.Price pitched out of the bullpen during the Rays' run...

 was optioned to Triple-A Durham
Durham Bulls
The Durham Bulls are a minor league baseball team that currently plays in the International League. The Bulls play their home games at Durham Bulls Athletic Park located in the downtown area of Durham, North Carolina. Durham Bulls Athletic Park is often called the "DBAP" or "D-Bap". The Bulls are...

.

Organizational Changes


Quality control coach Tim Bogar
Tim Bogar
Timothy Paul Bogar is a former Major League Baseball infielder. Currently, Bogar is the third base coach for the Boston Red Sox.-Playing career:...

 was hired by the Boston Red Sox
Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox are a professional baseball team based in Boston, Massachusetts, and a member of Major League Baseball’s American League Eastern Division. Founded in as one of the American League's eight charter franchises, the Red Sox's home ballpark has been Fenway Park since . The "Red Sox"...

 to be their first base coach. Todd Greene
Todd Greene
Todd Anthony Greene is a former Major League Baseball catcher. In an 11 year career, he played for the Anaheim Angels , Toronto Blue Jays , New York Yankees , Texas Rangers , Colorado Rockies , and San Francisco Giants . He batted and threw right-handed. Greene allegedly received steroids from Dr...

 signed on to replace Bogar in Tampa Bay.

The Rays unveiled a new third jersey
Third jersey
A third jersey or alternate jersey is a sports team's alternate and/or throwback design for the previously established other two jerseys, the home and away outfits. Alternate jerseys are used in all four of the North American major professional sports leagues as well as college sports, semipro...

 to be used in 2009, which is a dark blue shirt with the Rays logo. The color is similar to the main color of their batting practice jersey, but without the different-colored panels on the sides. The manta ray
Manta ray
The manta ray is the largest species of the rays. The largest known specimen was more than across, with a weight of about . It ranges throughout waters of the world, typically around coral reefs...

 logo will not appear on the alternate jersey.

The team's spring training
Spring training
In Major League Baseball, spring training is a series of practices and exhibition games preceding the start of the regular season. Spring training allows new players to try out for roster and position spots, and gives existing team players practice time prior to competitive play...

 operations will move from St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg, Florida
St. Petersburg is a city in Pinellas County, Florida, United States. It is known as a vacation destination for both American and foreign tourists. As of 2008, the population estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau is 245,314, making St...

 to the rebuilt Charlotte County Stadium
Charlotte Sports Park
Charlotte Sports Park is a baseball stadium in Port Charlotte, Florida...

 in Port Charlotte, Florida
Port Charlotte, Florida
Port Charlotte is a census-designated place in Charlotte County, Florida, United States. The population was 46,451 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Punta Gorda Metropolitan Statistical Area.-History:...

. Previously, they used Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg for spring training, and the Vince Naimoli Sports Complex for extended spring training.

Charlotte County Stadium will also be home of their Advanced-A Florida State League
Florida State League
The Florida State League is a Class A-Advanced minor league baseball league operating in the state of Florida. They are one of three leagues currently operating in Class A-Advanced, the third highest of six classifications of minor leagues...

 minor league franchise, the former "Vero Beach Devil Rays", who will be renamed to the Charlotte Stone Crabs
Charlotte Stone Crabs
The Charlotte Stone Crabs are a minor league baseball team based in Port Charlotte, Florida. The team are currently members of the Florida State League and are the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays Major League Baseball team....

. In addition, their regular Class A franchise in the South Atlantic League
South Atlantic League
The South Atlantic League is a minor league baseball league based chiefly in the Southeastern United States, with the exception of three teams in the Mid-Atlantic States...

 will move from Columbus, Georgia
Columbus, Georgia
Columbus is a city in and the county seat of Muscogee County, Georgia, United States, with which it is consolidated. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 189,885. It is the principal city of the Columbus, Georgia metropolitan area, which, in 2009, had an estimated population of 292,795...

 to Bowling Green, Kentucky
Bowling Green, Kentucky
Bowling Green is the third-most populous city in the state of Kentucky after Louisville and Lexington, with a population of 58,067 as of the 2010 Census. It is the county seat of Warren County and the principal city of the Bowling Green, Kentucky Metropolitan Statistical Area with an estimated 2009...

, and become the Bowling Green Hot Rods
Bowling Green Hot Rods
The Bowling Green Hot Rods are a minor league baseball team in Bowling Green, Kentucky. They are a Class A team in the Midwest League, and have been a farm team of the Tampa Bay Rays since September 29, 2006...

. Their Appalachian League
Appalachian League
The Appalachian League is a Rookie-class minor league that began play in 1937 with one year of inactivity in 1956. From 1937 to 1962, it was a Class D League. Teams are located in the Appalachian regions of Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia and Tennessee...

 Rookie-class team, previously known as the "Princeton Devil Rays", will become known as the Princeton Rays, excising the "Devil" from the name and adopting the team colors and typeface after previously using the green-based color scheme from 2001, and the original typeface from 1998. The only minor league teams that will not change are the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits
Montgomery Biscuits
The Montgomery Biscuits are a minor league baseball team based in Montgomery, Alabama. The team is the Class AA affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays and plays in the Southern League. The 2004 season was the team's first in Montgomery...

 and the Short-A Hudson Valley Renegades
Hudson Valley Renegades
The Hudson Valley Renegades are a minor league baseball team, affiliated with the Tampa Bay Rays. The team is a member of the New York - Penn League, a Class A Short Season league. The Renegades play at Dutchess Stadium in Fishkill, NY....

.

The Rays will also open a second Rookie-class team in the Gulf Coast League
Gulf Coast League
The Gulf Coast League is a minor league baseball league which operates in Florida. It is a Rookie League, with a season running from mid-June to late August. The season is 60 games long and teams in the league are divided into three divisions, East, North and South...

, the Gulf Coast Rays, which will also play at Charlotte County Stadium.

Media changes


Fox Sports Florida will take over the entire television contract, the beginning of an eight-year exclusive contract, and will broadcast 75 games, with another 75 games broadcast on sister network Sun Sports
Sun Sports
Sun Sports is a Florida sports broadcasting network, with its headquarters in Orlando. Launched in 1988 as Sunshine Network, the station is now affiliated with virtually every cable company throughout the state of Florida and can be picked up by some satellite providers around the United...

. It is unknown how much of the schedule will be broadcast in HD. Some cable networks have not begun to air games that are on Sun Sports, because of a disagreement on what fees the networks will pay the station for the games. The companies still in dispute will not broadcast games airing on Sun Sports.

Dewayne Staats
Dewayne Staats
Dewayne Staats is the play-by-play commentator for the Tampa Bay Rays' television broadcasts . He is teamed with color commentary announcer Brian Anderson. He has previously worked with analysts Joe Magrane and Kevin Kennedy.-Biography:Growing up near St. Louis, Missouri in Wood River, IL, Staats...

 returned as the play-by-play announcer, but Joe Magrane
Joe Magrane
Joseph David Magrane is a former Major League Baseball pitcher and is currently a color commentary broadcaster for the MLB Network. He was teamed with play-by-play announcer Dewayne Staats from 1998 to 2008 as part of the Tampa Bay Rays television team.Magrane served as an analyst for NBC Sports'...

 moved to MLB Network
MLB Network
MLB Network is an American television specialty channel dedicated to professional baseball. It is primarily owned by Major League Baseball. Comcast, DirecTV, Time Warner Cable and Cox Communications have minority ownership of the new network, with MLB retaining a controlling two-thirds share...

. On February 16, it was made official that Kevin Kennedy
Kevin Kennedy (baseball)
Kevin Curtis Kennedy is a former manager in American Major League Baseball and a former television host for Fox Sports' baseball coverage. He was given the nickname "The Skipper" by Fox Sports due to his prior managerial career...

 would split time in the booth with Brian Anderson
Brian Anderson (pitcher)
Brian James Anderson is an American former Major League Baseball pitcher, who played 13 season for five teams, as well as a sports broadcaster and coach. Currently, Anderson is the color commentator on the Rays TV crew on Sun Sports....

, as well as Todd Kalas
Todd Kalas
Todd Harry Kalas is a television broadcaster for the Tampa Bay Rays. He is the son of the late longtime Philadelphia Phillies Hall of Fame broadcaster Harry Kalas.-Early life and career:...

, who is currently the Rays' pre-, post- and in-game host.

At least five games will appear as Saturday afternoon games nationally on MLB on Fox: May 9 at Boston
Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox are a professional baseball team based in Boston, Massachusetts, and a member of Major League Baseball’s American League Eastern Division. Founded in as one of the American League's eight charter franchises, the Red Sox's home ballpark has been Fenway Park since . The "Red Sox"...

, May 16 hosting Cleveland
Cleveland Indians
The Cleveland Indians are a professional baseball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. They are in the Central Division of Major League Baseball's American League. Since , they have played in Progressive Field. The team's spring training facility is in Goodyear, Arizona...

, May 30 hosting Minnesota
Minnesota Twins
The Minnesota Twins are a professional baseball team based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They play in the Central Division of Major League Baseball's American League. The team is named after the Twin Cities area of Minneapolis and St. Paul. They played in Metropolitan Stadium from 1961 to 1981 and the...

, June 20 at the New York Mets
New York Mets
The New York Mets are a professional baseball team based in the borough of Queens in New York City, New York. They belong to Major League Baseball's National League East Division. One of baseball's first expansion teams, the Mets were founded in 1962 to replace New York's departed National League...

, and August 29 at Detroit
Detroit Tigers
The Detroit Tigers are a Major League Baseball team located in Detroit, Michigan. One of the American League's eight charter franchises, the club was founded in Detroit in as part of the Western League. The Tigers have won four World Series championships and have won the American League pennant...

. The May 10 game at Boston aired on ESPN
ESPN
Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, commonly known as ESPN, is an American global cable television network focusing on sports-related programming including live and pre-taped event telecasts, sports talk shows, and other original programming....

's Sunday Night Baseball
Sunday Night Baseball
Sunday Night Baseball is the Major League Baseball exclusive game of the week that is televised Sunday nights at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN during the regular season...

, just the second time the Rays appeared on the premier primetime package. More games may be moved to national coverage during the season. The season opener at Boston on April 6 was scheduled to air on ESPN, but was postponed to the next day, April 7, and the rescheduled game was not picked up by ESPN. The July 5 game at Texas
Texas Rangers (baseball)
The Texas Rangers are a professional baseball team in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, based in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers are a member of the Western Division of Major League Baseball's American League, and are the reigning A.L. Western Division and A.L. Champions. Since , the Rangers have...

 aired on ESPN
ESPN
Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, commonly known as ESPN, is an American global cable television network focusing on sports-related programming including live and pre-taped event telecasts, sports talk shows, and other original programming....

's Sunday Night Baseball
Sunday Night Baseball
Sunday Night Baseball is the Major League Baseball exclusive game of the week that is televised Sunday nights at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN during the regular season...

.

620 WDAE was announced as the new radio flagship. Sister station 1250 WHNZ
WHNZ
WHNZ is an American radio station licensed to serve Tampa, Florida, USA. The station's broadcast license is held by Citicasters Licenses, Inc...

 had been the previous flagship station since 2005, but WDAE aired some Monday night games in 2008. Andy Freed
Andy Freed
Andy Freed is currently one of the radio play-by-play announcers of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team. He and Dave Wills have worked as the team's radio duo since 2005 and are currently signed through the 2013 season...

 and Dave Wills will return to do play-by-play with Rich Herrera serving as pre- and post-game host. All three will be in their fifth season with the team, after replacing the team's original radio announcers, Paul Olden and Charlie Slowes, after the 2004 season.

April


The Rays began their American League title defense on the road against division rival Boston
Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox are a professional baseball team based in Boston, Massachusetts, and a member of Major League Baseball’s American League Eastern Division. Founded in as one of the American League's eight charter franchises, the Red Sox's home ballpark has been Fenway Park since . The "Red Sox"...

. Before a pitch was even thrown, the Rays already had a franchise first. Their scheduled Opening Day
Opening Day
Opening Day is the day on which professional baseball leagues begin their regular season. For Major League Baseball and most of the minor leagues, this day falls during the first week of April. For baseball fans, Opening Day serves as a symbol of rebirth; writer Thomas Boswell once penned a book...

 was postponed due to inclement weather, making it the first time that the first game of the season for the Rays had been postponed. After dropping the rescheduled season opener the following day, the Rays ended up winning the next two games of the series. This was the first opening series win for the Rays since 2002, when they swept the Detroit Tigers
Detroit Tigers
The Detroit Tigers are a Major League Baseball team located in Detroit, Michigan. One of the American League's eight charter franchises, the club was founded in Detroit in as part of the Western League. The Tigers have won four World Series championships and have won the American League pennant...

 in a 3-game set.

The Rays came home after splitting their first two series, opening Tropicana Field
Tropicana Field
Tropicana Field is a domed stadium in St. Petersburg, Florida, which has been the home of Major League Baseball's Tampa Bay Rays since the team's inaugural season in 1998, when they were the Devil Rays. It has also served as the host stadium for the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl, an NCAA-sanctioned college...

 against the New York Yankees
New York Yankees
The New York Yankees are a professional baseball team based in the The Bronx, New York. They compete in Major League Baseball in the American League's East Division...

, and raising their American League East and AL Championship banners on April 13. B.J. Upton returned to the team having started the season on the disabled list. There was also a moment of silence held for Harry Kalas
Harry Kalas
Harry Norbert Kalas was an American sportscaster, best known for his Ford C. Frick Award-winning role as lead play-by-play announcer for Major League Baseball's Philadelphia Phillies...

, Phillies
Philadelphia Phillies
The Philadelphia Phillies are a Major League Baseball team. They are the oldest continuous, one-name, one-city franchise in all of professional American sports, dating to 1883. The Phillies are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball's National League...

 radio announcer and father of Rays television analyst Todd Kalas
Todd Kalas
Todd Harry Kalas is a television broadcaster for the Tampa Bay Rays. He is the son of the late longtime Philadelphia Phillies Hall of Fame broadcaster Harry Kalas.-Early life and career:...

, who died earlier in the day. The Rays won their home opener, 15–5.

Matt Garza
Matt Garza
Matthew Scott Garza is a United States professional baseball pitcher with the Chicago Cubs of Major League Baseball.-Amateur career:He attended Washington Union High School and Fresno State.-Minnesota Twins:...

 lost a bid for a perfect game
Perfect game
A perfect game is defined by Major League Baseball as a game in which a pitcher pitches a victory that lasts a minimum of nine innings and in which no opposing player reaches base. Thus, the pitcher cannot allow any hits, walks, hit batsmen, or any opposing player to reach base safely for any...

 in the 7th inning against the Boston Red Sox
Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox are a professional baseball team based in Boston, Massachusetts, and a member of Major League Baseball’s American League Eastern Division. Founded in as one of the American League's eight charter franchises, the Red Sox's home ballpark has been Fenway Park since . The "Red Sox"...

 when Jacoby Ellsbury
Jacoby Ellsbury
Jacoby McCabe Ellsbury ; born September 11, 1983) is an American professional baseball center fielder with the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball....

 hit an infield single. Retiring the first 18 batters, this was the furthest any Ray pitcher had taken a perfect game, as well as the first time any Ray pitcher had retired 18 batters consecutively.

Evan Longoria
Evan Longoria
Evan Michael Longoria is a Major League Baseball third baseman for the Tampa Bay Rays. Formerly, Longoria was a star infielder for the Long Beach State University baseball team, the Cape Cod League MVP, and the Big West Co-Player of the Year.He made his major league debut for the Rays in , and...

, with a .369 batting average, 6 home runs, a tie for the American League lead in RBI with 24, and a slugging percentage of .714, was awarded with the Player of the Month
Player of the Month
The Player of the Month Award is a Major League Baseball award named by each league every month of the regular season. The National League started recognizing the award on June 4, 1958. National League president Warren Giles conducted a poll of baseball writers in each Major League city and...

 award for the American League. This was the first time a member of the Rays had won the award.

The Rays finished the month 9–14, and were 5½ games behind first place. They had not won a series since the opening series in Boston. Their longest win streak was two, which occurred twice.

May


On May 3, Carl Crawford
Carl Crawford
Carl Demonte Crawford is an American professional baseball outfielder who plays for the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball. He bats and throws left-handed...

 set a team record and tied a modern day league record with six stolen base
Stolen base
In baseball, a stolen base occurs when a baserunner successfully advances to the next base while the pitcher is delivering the ball to home plate...

s. The last player to steal six bases was Eric Young while he was a member of the Colorado Rockies
Colorado Rockies
The Colorado Rockies are a Major League Baseball team based in Denver, Colorado. Established in 1991, they started play in 1993 and are in the West Division of the National League. The team is named after the Rocky Mountains...

 on June 30, 1996. It was only the fifth time since 1912 that a player had stolen that many bases, which was also the last year it had happened in the American League
American League
The American League of Professional Baseball Clubs, or simply the American League , is one of two leagues that make up Major League Baseball in the United States and Canada. It developed from the Western League, a minor league based in the Great Lakes states, which eventually aspired to major...

. After the game Crawford stated that he didn't know he had tied a record, or else he would have made an attempt for seven.

On May 15, the Rays trailed the Cleveland Indians
Cleveland Indians
The Cleveland Indians are a professional baseball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. They are in the Central Division of Major League Baseball's American League. Since , they have played in Progressive Field. The team's spring training facility is in Goodyear, Arizona...

 7–0 after the top of the 4th inning, but would rally to score eight unanswered runs over the remainder of the game to win, capped off by a walk-off home run
Walk-off home run
In baseball, a walk-off home run is a home run that ends the game. It must be a home run that gives the home team the lead in the bottom of the final inning of the game—either the ninth inning, or any extra inning, or any other regularly scheduled final inning...

 by B.J. Upton to lead off the bottom of the 9th inning. At the time, this was the largest come from behind win in franchise history, but remains the largest deficit overcome at home. Previously, the Rays had never won a game in which they had trailed by at least seven runs. They had come back from a six run deficit on five occasions.

Prior to a game against the Cleveland Indians
Cleveland Indians
The Cleveland Indians are a professional baseball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. They are in the Central Division of Major League Baseball's American League. Since , they have played in Progressive Field. The team's spring training facility is in Goodyear, Arizona...

 on May 17, Rays manager Joe Maddon
Joe Maddon
Joseph John Maddon is the Major League Baseball manager for the Tampa Bay Rays.He previously served as interim manager of the Anaheim Angels in both 1996 and 1999. He was also a long-time bench coach for the team.-Early life and career:Maddon attended Lafayette College, where he played baseball...

 incorrectly filled out a lineup card that listed Evan Longoria
Evan Longoria
Evan Michael Longoria is a Major League Baseball third baseman for the Tampa Bay Rays. Formerly, Longoria was a star infielder for the Long Beach State University baseball team, the Cape Cod League MVP, and the Big West Co-Player of the Year.He made his major league debut for the Rays in , and...

 and Ben Zobrist
Ben Zobrist
Benjamin Thomas "Ben" Zobrist is an American baseball player currently with Major League Baseball's Tampa Bay Rays. A switch-hitter who throws right-handed, he has exhibited a versatility to play most positions with the exception of pitcher and catcher. He has been the Rays' starting second...

 both as the third baseman. As the plan was to have Zobrist play the position at third base and have Longoria as the designated hitter
Designated hitter
In baseball, the designated hitter rule is the common name for Major League Baseball Rule 6.10, an official position adopted by the American League in 1973 that allows teams to designate a player, known as the designated hitter , to bat in place of the pitcher each time he would otherwise come to...

, having them both as the third baseman left the Rays without a player listed as the designated hitter in their official lineup card. As stated in part of Rule 6.10(b) in the official rulebook of the league, "It is not mandatory that a club designate a hitter for the pitcher, but failure to do so prior to the game precludes the use of a Designated Hitter for that game." Indians manager Eric Wedge
Eric Wedge
Eric Michael Wedge is a Major League Baseball manager and former catcher, and is the current manager of the Seattle Mariners. As a player, Wedge attended Northrop High School in Fort Wayne and played on the school's state champion baseball team in 1983...

 brought the error to the attention of the umpires at the beginning of the bottom of the first inning. Because there was no designated hitter, and since Zobrist had already taken the field as the third baseman, the Rays would have to use starting pitcher Andy Sonnanstine
Andy Sonnanstine
Andrew Michael Sonnanstine is a relief pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays. Sonnanstine is a graduate of Wadsworth High School in Wadsworth, Ohio, and attended Kent State University...

 as the third batter in the lineup where Longoria would normally bat. Longoria would enter the game later, in the seventh inning as a triple-switch when Sonnanstine was relieved from the game, moving Zobrist to right field in place of Gabe Kapler
Gabe Kapler
Gabriel "Gabe" Stefan Kapler is an American Major League Baseball outfielder.He has played portions of 13 seasons with the Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers, Colorado Rockies, Boston Red Sox, Milwaukee Brewers, and the Tampa Bay Rays...

 and shifting the pitcher's spot to seventh. Almost a week after the game, MLB umpiring vice president Mike Port
Mike Port
Michael D. Port is an American professional baseball executive. He was vice president, Umpiring for Major League Baseball from August 2005 through March 2011, when he left that position. He has been a front-office executive for three MLB clubs...

 stated that the umpires were wrong in allowing Longoria to come into the game at any point after it began. The Rays ultimately won the game, 7–5. Sonnanstine went 1-for-3 with an RBI double.

On May 22, the Rays placed Troy Percival
Troy Percival
Troy Eugene Percival is a retired Major League Baseball pitcher. He gained fame as a closer. During a 14-year baseball career, he pitched from 1995-2009 for four different teams, pitching primarily with the California/Anaheim Angels...

 and Scott Kazmir
Scott Kazmir
Scott Edward Kazmir is an American professional baseball pitcher who is a free agent. Kazmir made his Major League debut with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2004 when he was only 20 years old and at one time held many of the franchise's career pitching records...

 on the 15-day disabled list
Disabled list
In Major League Baseball, the disabled list is a method for teams to remove their injured players from the roster in order to summon healthy players.-General guidelines:...

, and called up infielder Reid Brignac
Reid Brignac
Reid Michael Brignac is a Major League Baseball shortstop for the Tampa Bay Rays.-Professional career:Brignac was drafted by Tampa Bay Rays in the second round of the 2004 Major League Baseball Draft out of St. Amant High School as a shortstop...

 and relief pitcher Dale Thayer
Dale Thayer
Dale Scott Thayer is an American professional baseball pitcher who is a free agent.-Draft:...

. The move left the Rays with four starting pitchers, suggesting another move may be made later on to fill the vacant starting role later on.

The Rays lost starting second baseman Akinori Iwamura
Akinori Iwamura
Akinori Iwamura is a Japanese Major League Baseball infielder, who is currently with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Japanese Pacific League...

 for the season to a leg injury that occurred on May 24 against the Florida Marlins
Florida Marlins
The Miami Marlins are a professional baseball team based in Miami, Florida, United States. Established in 1993 as an expansion franchise called the Florida Marlins, the Marlins are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball's National League. The Marlins played their home games at...

. While Iwamura was making an effort to turn a double play, Marlins infielder Chris Coghlan
Chris Coghlan
Christopher B. Coghlan is a Major League Baseball outfielder and second baseman for the Florida Marlins.-Career:Coghlan attended East Lake High School in Tarpon Springs, Florida...

 awkwardly slid into Iwamura's leg in an attempt to disrupt the throw to first base. Iwamura fell to the ground and had to be taken off the field on a cart. The next day after an MRI, it was announced that he suffered a torn ACL
Anterior cruciate ligament
The anterior cruciate ligament is a cruciate ligament which is one of the four major ligaments of the human knee. In the quadruped stifle , based on its anatomical position, it is referred to as the cranial cruciate ligament.The ACL originates from deep within the notch of the distal femur...

, "involvement" on the MCL
Medial collateral ligament
The medial collateral ligament of the knee is one of the four major ligaments of the knee. It is on the medial side of the knee joint in humans and other primates. It is also known as the tibial collateral ligament, or abbreviated as the MCL.- Structure :It is a broad, flat, membranous band,...

, in addition to torn ligaments in his ankle. Even before the announcement was made, hopes of a speedy recovery were not promising, as Iwamura was seen around the clubhouse on crutches "saying goodbye," and as Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett put it, "From what I heard, he's not going to be back soon." Bartlett himself would be put on the disabled list one day later, with a sprained ankle.

David Price
David Price (baseball)
David Taylor Price is an American Major League Baseball left-handed starting pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays. Price was selected first overall in the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft by the Rays and made his major league debut in September 2008.Price pitched out of the bullpen during the Rays' run...

, the team's first overall pick in the 2007 MLB Draft, made his season debut on the road against the Cleveland Indians
Cleveland Indians
The Cleveland Indians are a professional baseball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. They are in the Central Division of Major League Baseball's American League. Since , they have played in Progressive Field. The team's spring training facility is in Goodyear, Arizona...

 on May 25. After 100 pitches in 3⅓ innings, Price was taken out of the game.

On the same night as Price's first start of the 2009 season, the Rays jumped out to a 10–0 lead over the Indians, but were unable to win the game, as their opponents rallied for 11 unanswered runs. The Rays allowed 7 runs to cross the plate in the bottom of the 9th inning, ended by a walk-off 2-run single by Víctor Martínez. The Indians scored their last five runs with two outs, as the game's last six batters reached base. This having been the first of a 4-game set for the Rays on the road, the Indians eventually won every game in the series, extending the Rays' losing streak for road games against Cleveland to 17 games. The last time the Rays won in Cleveland was September 28, 2005.

At the end of May, the Rays were 25–28, 4th place in the division, and 5½ games out of first place. They were 5 games behind first place for the Wild Card.

June


On June 22, Akinori Iwamura
Akinori Iwamura
Akinori Iwamura is a Japanese Major League Baseball infielder, who is currently with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Japanese Pacific League...

 underwent surgery to repair the injuries suffered the month before. It was discovered that his ACL was only partially torn, meaning he would not require reconstructive surgery. Instead, an arthroscopic surgery was performed, and a report on the successful operation stated that he could return in 6–8 weeks.

On June 28, the Rays became the fastest team to hit 100 home runs and steal 100 bases in a single season, needing only 77 games. They were the fifth to do it before the all-star break, and the first since the Florida Marlins
Florida Marlins
The Miami Marlins are a professional baseball team based in Miami, Florida, United States. Established in 1993 as an expansion franchise called the Florida Marlins, the Marlins are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball's National League. The Marlins played their home games at...

 in 2003 to do so.

The Rays would go 19–7 in the month, improving their overall record to 44–35, and riding a seven game winning streak into July. They set a new franchise record for home runs in one month with 41. While not having gained much ground on the division lead, finishing the month 4 games behind, in the wild card race, they went into July only 1½ games behind.

Carlos Peña
Carlos Peña
Carlos Felipe Peña is a Dominican professional baseball left-handed first baseman. He played previously with the Texas Rangers, Oakland Athletics, Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays and Chicago Cubs.Although he was born in Santo Domingo and his family is from San Francisco de Macorís,...

 led the American League in home runs at the end of June with 23, which was third best in the entire league.

For the second time in the season, a Rays player was named the American League's Player of the Month. B. J. Upton
B. J. Upton
Melvin Emmanuel "B. J." Upton is a Major League Baseball center fielder for the Tampa Bay Rays. Upton is a graduate of Greenbrier Christian Academy....

, with a .324 batting average, 5 home runs, 22 RBI, 10 doubles, a .562 slugging percentage, a .395 on-base percentage, and league best 14 stolen bases, won the award this time.

July


Unfortunately the Rays' winning streak did not carry over into the next month. They lost their first four games in July, including being swept on the road by the Texas Rangers
Texas Rangers (baseball)
The Texas Rangers are a professional baseball team in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, based in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers are a member of the Western Division of Major League Baseball's American League, and are the reigning A.L. Western Division and A.L. Champions. Since , the Rangers have...

, and did not win until their first home game of the month. By the All-Star break, the Rays were 48–41. They were 6½ games behind first place in the division, and 3½ behind for the Wild Card.

Four Rays were selected to make the All-Star Game. Evan Longoria
Evan Longoria
Evan Michael Longoria is a Major League Baseball third baseman for the Tampa Bay Rays. Formerly, Longoria was a star infielder for the Long Beach State University baseball team, the Cape Cod League MVP, and the Big West Co-Player of the Year.He made his major league debut for the Rays in , and...

, after having to rely on the All-Star Final Vote
All-Star Final Vote
All-Star Final Vote is an annual Internet and text message ballot by Major League Baseball fans to elect the final player for each team that participates in the Major League Baseball All-Star Game after all other selections have been made and announced on national television. The first 33 players...

 to take the final spot on the roster in his rookie year in 2008, was elected as the starting 3rd baseman by the fans. Longoria had the third highest votes out of players in the American League, but did not participate in the game due to an infection in his finger. Making the All-Star roster by means of player voting, was Carl Crawford
Carl Crawford
Carl Demonte Crawford is an American professional baseball outfielder who plays for the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball. He bats and throws left-handed...

, his third selection, and Jason Bartlett, his first selection. As manager of the American League champions in the previous season's World Series
World Series
The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball, played between the American League and National League champions since 1903. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff and awarded the Commissioner's Trophy...

, Joe Maddon
Joe Maddon
Joseph John Maddon is the Major League Baseball manager for the Tampa Bay Rays.He previously served as interim manager of the Anaheim Angels in both 1996 and 1999. He was also a long-time bench coach for the team.-Early life and career:Maddon attended Lafayette College, where he played baseball...

 automatically became a manager of the American League All-Stars. Part of his job as manager was to select players for the team after the fans and players voted. One of Maddon's selections was the Rays' own Ben Zobrist
Ben Zobrist
Benjamin Thomas "Ben" Zobrist is an American baseball player currently with Major League Baseball's Tampa Bay Rays. A switch-hitter who throws right-handed, he has exhibited a versatility to play most positions with the exception of pitcher and catcher. He has been the Rays' starting second...

, which was his first selection to the midsummer classic.

The Rays would send a fifth player, making it the most they had ever sent to one All-Star Game, which was a record that had been set the previous season. Carlos Peña
Carlos Peña
Carlos Felipe Peña is a Dominican professional baseball left-handed first baseman. He played previously with the Texas Rangers, Oakland Athletics, Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays and Chicago Cubs.Although he was born in Santo Domingo and his family is from San Francisco de Macorís,...

, who had never been to the All-Star Game, was a nominee for the All-Star Final Vote
All-Star Final Vote
All-Star Final Vote is an annual Internet and text message ballot by Major League Baseball fans to elect the final player for each team that participates in the Major League Baseball All-Star Game after all other selections have been made and announced on national television. The first 33 players...

, a process in which fans choose one of five players in each league to take the final roster spots on the All-Star squads. Voting began after the initial All-Star rosters were announced. To help garner votes for Peña, the Rays started the "Vote for 'Los" campaign, having t-shirts made with Peña's face on them which players wore during batting practice. The Rays asked fans to bring their laptop computers to Tropicana Field and vote online during the game, as well as using advertisements, online commercials, fliers, merchandise, and even a video message from comedian Rob Schneider
Rob Schneider
Robert Michael "Rob" Schneider is an American actor, comedian, screenwriter, and director. A stand-up comic and veteran of the NBC sketch-comedy series Saturday Night Live, Schneider has gone on to a successful career in feature films, including starring roles in the comedy films Deuce Bigalow:...

. Despite all efforts, Peña would ultimately finish fourth in the voting. Brandon Inge
Brandon Inge
Charles Brandon Inge is an American professional baseball infielder for the Detroit Tigers of Major League Baseball. He bats and throws right-handed....

 of the Detroit Tigers
Detroit Tigers
The Detroit Tigers are a Major League Baseball team located in Detroit, Michigan. One of the American League's eight charter franchises, the club was founded in Detroit in as part of the Western League. The Tigers have won four World Series championships and have won the American League pennant...

 received the most votes to get the last remaining spot. Even though he didn't win, Peña said he was flattered and humbled to see how many were in support of him to make the All-Star Game. Peña would eventually make the team anyway as a replacement to Dustin Pedroia
Dustin Pedroia
Dustin Luis Pedroia is an American professional baseball second baseman with the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball. Pedroia has won several awards in Major League Baseball, including the 2007 American League Rookie of the Year and the 2008 AL MVP award...

, who would have been the starting 2nd baseman, as he pulled out due to a "serious family health matter" involving his wife.

Peña would also take part in the Home Run Derby
2009 Home Run Derby
The 2009 Major League Baseball Home Run Derby was the sport's 25th annual home run-hitting contest and took place on July 13, 2009, at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri, the host location of the MLB All-Star Game...

. In the first round, he hit 5 home runs, good enough for fourth place. Two other participants would do the same, and so a "swing-off" was needed to determine who would advance to the next round. In the tiebreaker, Peña would only hit one home run, and was eliminated after Albert Pujols
Albert Pujols
José Alberto Pujols Alcántara , better known as Albert Pujols , is a Dominican-American professional baseball player, who is currently a free agent...

 hit two.

Crawford was named MVP
Major League Baseball All-Star Game MVP Award
The Major League Baseball All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award is an annual Major League Baseball award given to the most outstanding player in each year's MLB All-Star Game. Awarded each season since , it was originally called the "Arch Ward Memorial Award" in honor of Arch Ward, the man who...

 of the All-Star Game, for taking a home run away from Brad Hawpe
Brad Hawpe
Bradley Bonte Hawpe is an American professional baseball outfielder and first baseman.-High school and college:...

 in the bottom of the 7th inning. Had Crawford not made the catch, Hawpe would have broken a 3–3 tie in favor of the National League. Crawford's grab turned out to be a major factor in the game, as the American League would go on to win 4–3.

On July 23, Mark Buehrle
Mark Buehrle
Mark Alan Buehrle is a Major League Baseball left-handed pitcher. He has pitched his entire baseball career for the Chicago White Sox, starting the opening game every season from 2002 to 2006 and again from 2008 to 2011....

 of the Chicago White Sox
Chicago White Sox
The Chicago White Sox are a Major League Baseball team located in Chicago, Illinois.The White Sox play in the American League's Central Division. Since , the White Sox have played in U.S. Cellular Field, which was originally called New Comiskey Park and nicknamed The Cell by local fans...

 threw a perfect game against the Rays. It was only the eighteenth example of a perfect game in Major League Baseball history.

On the road against the Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto Blue Jays
The Toronto Blue Jays are a professional baseball team located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Blue Jays are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball 's American League ....

 on July 25, the Rays were down 8–0 after four innings, and losing 9–1 entering the 7th inning. However the Rays would score eight runs over the next 3 innings to tie the game, including two solo home runs in the 9th inning. The game would enter extra innings, where the Rays would take a one run lead into the bottom of the 12th inning. Joe Nelson
Joe Nelson
Joseph George Nelson is a Major League Baseball relief pitcher who is currently a free agent. He is known mainly for his "Vulcan" change up.-High school:...

 would come in to pitch as the Rays' last remaining relief pitcher available. The Blue Jays would load the bases with one out, but could not capitalize. This became the largest come from behind win in franchise history for the Rays, a record previously set earlier in the season.

Finishing the month with an even 12–12 record, the Rays had an overall record of 56–47. Even with the fifth-most wins in the American League, they were 6 games behind for the lead in the division, and 4½ games behind for the wild card. They made no big moves on the July 31 trade deadline, though they were rumored to be interested in several players, including Victor Martinez and Cliff Lee
Cliff Lee
Clifton Phifer "Cliff" Lee is a Major League Baseball left-handed starting pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies. Lee has also played for the Cleveland Indians, the Seattle Mariners, and the Texas Rangers....

 of the Indians
Cleveland Indians
The Cleveland Indians are a professional baseball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. They are in the Central Division of Major League Baseball's American League. Since , they have played in Progressive Field. The team's spring training facility is in Goodyear, Arizona...

. Ultimately, Martinez would be traded to Boston
Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox are a professional baseball team based in Boston, Massachusetts, and a member of Major League Baseball’s American League Eastern Division. Founded in as one of the American League's eight charter franchises, the Red Sox's home ballpark has been Fenway Park since . The "Red Sox"...

, while Lee was sent to Philadelphia
Philadelphia Phillies
The Philadelphia Phillies are a Major League Baseball team. They are the oldest continuous, one-name, one-city franchise in all of professional American sports, dating to 1883. The Phillies are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball's National League...

.

August


On August 7, the Rays acquired catcher Gregg Zaun
Gregg Zaun
Gregory Owen "Gregg" Zaun is a former Major League Baseball catcher. He is the nephew of former MLB catcher Rick Dempsey. Zaun was a high school teammate of Mark Loretta...

 from the Baltimore Orioles
Baltimore Orioles
The Baltimore Orioles are a professional baseball team based in Baltimore, Maryland in the United States. They are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball's American League. One of the American League's eight charter franchises in 1901, it spent its first year as a major league...

 for a player to be named later. To make room for Zaun, the Rays designated another catcher, Michel Hernández
Michel Hernandez
Michel Hernandez is a Cuban professional baseball catcher for the Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball.-Professional career:...

.

On August 29, the Rays sent starting pitcher Scott Kazmir
Scott Kazmir
Scott Edward Kazmir is an American professional baseball pitcher who is a free agent. Kazmir made his Major League debut with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2004 when he was only 20 years old and at one time held many of the franchise's career pitching records...

 to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are a professional baseball team based in Anaheim, California, United States. The Angels are a member of the Western Division of Major League Baseball's American League. The "Angels" name originates from the city in which the team started, Los Angeles...

 in exchange for two minor league prospects and a player to be named later. Initially, there was confusion about whether or not a deal had been made, or if it had been in the works before falling through. Kazmir himself said he knew nothing about a trade, asking reporters who were questioning him if they were joking. The Rays would not confirm that a trade was being made, but a leak to the news by the Angels reportedly almost led the Rays to call it off because of their policy to notify the player first. The websites for ESPN and MLB reported in the afternoon that the trade had been completed, however MLB took down their report and replaced it with a story stating that the trade would not occur. Kazmir was in uniform for the Rays that night as they played the Detroit Tigers
Detroit Tigers
The Detroit Tigers are a Major League Baseball team located in Detroit, Michigan. One of the American League's eight charter franchises, the club was founded in Detroit in as part of the Western League. The Tigers have won four World Series championships and have won the American League pennant...

, but was not the starting pitcher in the game. After the conclusion of the game, it was confirmed by the Rays that Kazmir had been dealt. Drafted by the New York Mets
New York Mets
The New York Mets are a professional baseball team based in the borough of Queens in New York City, New York. They belong to Major League Baseball's National League East Division. One of baseball's first expansion teams, the Mets were founded in 1962 to replace New York's departed National League...

, the Rays acquired Kazmir in a trade considered to be one of the best in franchise history. In his six seasons with the Rays, Kazmir became the club's all-time leader in wins, strikeouts, and games started. He was also the team's record holder for ERA and strikeouts in a single season. In 2007, Kazmir led the majors in strikeouts with 239. He was also a two-time all-star, and the winning pitcher in the 2008 All-Star Game
2008 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 2008 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 79th midseason exhibition between the all-stars of the American League and the National League , the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was played at Yankee Stadium in The Bronx, New York, home of the New York Yankees, on...

. Andrew Friedman, the Rays' Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations, said that Kazmir's contract was not the primary reason that he was traded, but was an element in the decision.

A day after the Kazmir trade, the Rays activated Akinori Iwamura
Akinori Iwamura
Akinori Iwamura is a Japanese Major League Baseball infielder, who is currently with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Japanese Pacific League...

 from the disabled list.

Going 15–12 for the month, the Rays had a 71–59 record overall, assuring themselves of having at least the second best season in franchise history. The Rays had fallen behind the New York Yankees
New York Yankees
The New York Yankees are a professional baseball team based in the The Bronx, New York. They compete in Major League Baseball in the American League's East Division...

 for the division lead by 11½ games, but were still within reach of the wild card, trailing the Boston Red Sox
Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox are a professional baseball team based in Boston, Massachusetts, and a member of Major League Baseball’s American League Eastern Division. Founded in as one of the American League's eight charter franchises, the Red Sox's home ballpark has been Fenway Park since . The "Red Sox"...

 by only 5 games.

September/October


When rosters expanded on the first day of September, the Rays called up four players. Relief pitcher Jeff Bennett
Jeff Bennett (baseball)
David Jeffrey "Jeff" Bennett is an American professional baseball pitcher who most recently pitched in Major League Baseball for the Arizona Diamondbacks.-Milwaukee Brewers:...

, outfielder Fernando Perez
Fernando Perez (baseball)
Fernando Perez is an outfielder is an American professional baseball outfielder for the New York Mets of Major League Baseball.-Early life:...

, catcher Shawn Riggans
Shawn Riggans
-Career:Riggans was drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 24th round of the 2000 Major League Baseball Draft. He played nine games for the Devil Rays in 2006, including eight appearances as catcher and one as a pinch hitter. In 2008, Riggans became the backup catcher for the Rays, behind...

, and starting pitcher Andy Sonnanstine
Andy Sonnanstine
Andrew Michael Sonnanstine is a relief pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays. Sonnanstine is a graduate of Wadsworth High School in Wadsworth, Ohio, and attended Kent State University...

, with Sonnanstine scheduled to start for the Rays that night.

The Rays were struggling to keep up in the wild card race, but took a blow to their lineup on September 7 when Carlos Peña
Carlos Peña
Carlos Felipe Peña is a Dominican professional baseball left-handed first baseman. He played previously with the Texas Rangers, Oakland Athletics, Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays and Chicago Cubs.Although he was born in Santo Domingo and his family is from San Francisco de Macorís,...

, who was leading the American League in home runs, was hit on his fingers by a pitch during the first game of a doubleheader. It wasn't until after that first game that the Rays announced Peña had two fractured fingers and would be out for the remainder of the season. Peña said that it was a wonder that he didn't pass out from the pain of taking a fastball to the fingers, and that the X-ray of his middle finger looked like "a pencil snapped in half," but upon the realization of having to miss the rest of the year, "hurt more than the hit by pitch itself."

If losing Peña wasn't bad enough for the Rays, their losing streak at the time reached 11 games before it was snapped, although they never fell below a .500 record. On September 22, the Rays were officially eliminated from postseason contention, but would still finish with the second winning season in team history, winning their 82nd game of the season on September 30. They went 11–17 in the month of September.

B. J. Upton
B. J. Upton
Melvin Emmanuel "B. J." Upton is a Major League Baseball center fielder for the Tampa Bay Rays. Upton is a graduate of Greenbrier Christian Academy....

 became the first player in franchise history to hit for the cycle, doing so on October 2, against the New York Yankees
New York Yankees
The New York Yankees are a professional baseball team based in the The Bronx, New York. They compete in Major League Baseball in the American League's East Division...

. Upton hit a triple, a double, a home run, and a single, in that order, all before five innings were completed. He would later add another single to finish the night 5 for 5 with a career high 6 RBIs.

Though they were not successful in defending the division and league championships won in 2008, the Rays did finish the season 3rd place in the AL East with an 84–78 record. Average attendance, as well as overall attendance at Tropicana Field
Tropicana Field
Tropicana Field is a domed stadium in St. Petersburg, Florida, which has been the home of Major League Baseball's Tampa Bay Rays since the team's inaugural season in 1998, when they were the Devil Rays. It has also served as the host stadium for the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl, an NCAA-sanctioned college...

 increased again to become the highest since their inaugural season in .

Evan Longoria
Evan Longoria
Evan Michael Longoria is a Major League Baseball third baseman for the Tampa Bay Rays. Formerly, Longoria was a star infielder for the Long Beach State University baseball team, the Cape Cod League MVP, and the Big West Co-Player of the Year.He made his major league debut for the Rays in , and...

 was given a Gold Glove
Rawlings Gold Glove Award
The Rawlings Gold Glove Award, usually referred to as the Gold Glove, is the award given annually to the Major League Baseball players judged to have exhibited superior individual fielding performances at each fielding position in both the National League and the American League , as voted by the...

 award for third base in the American League on November 10. Longoria, who was the AL's 2008 Rookie of the Year, became the second player in Rays history to win a gold glove after first baseman Carlos Peña
Carlos Peña
Carlos Felipe Peña is a Dominican professional baseball left-handed first baseman. He played previously with the Texas Rangers, Oakland Athletics, Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays and Chicago Cubs.Although he was born in Santo Domingo and his family is from San Francisco de Macorís,...

, who won in 2008.

Game log

2009 Game Log

Batting


Note: G = Games played; AB = At Bats; R = Runs scored; H = Hits; 2B = Doubles; 3B = Triples; HR = Home Runs; RBI = Runs Batted In; AVG = Batting average; SB = Stolen Bases
Player G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI AVG SB
6 18 0 2 1 0 0 0 .111 0
16 59 11 23 3 0 2 5 .390 5
16 53 5 13 2 0 1 6 .245 0
17 70 10 20 4 1 0 9 .286 6
10 26 5 5 1 0 1 2 .192 1
2 6 0 2 0 0 0 0 .333 0
17 59 8 17 7 0 0 6 .288 5
3 10 1 1 0 0 1 1 .100 0
11 25 1 5 4 0 0 0 .200 1
15 61 11 23 8 0 5 16 .377 1
14 58 6 11 3 0 1 2 .190 0
17 67 11 17 3 0 39 21 .254 0
1 4 1 1 0 0 1 1 .250 0
10 37 6 7 2 0 0 1 .189 3
12 35 5 10 3 0 3 9 .286 1


Pitching


Note: W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; G = Games pitched; GS = Games started; SV = Saves; IP = Innings pitched; H = Hits allowed; R = Runs allowed; ER = Earned runs allowed; BB = Walks allowed; K = Strikeouts
Player W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER BB K
0 0 8.44 7 0 1 5.1 5 5 5 6 4
0 0 4.09 7 0 0 11.0 16 5 5 4 5
1 1 4.58 3 3 0 19.2 15 10 10 10 18
0 1 2.45 8 0 0 7.1 7 2 2 1 9
3 1 3.97 4 4 0 22.2 18 10 10 12 17
0 0 3.52 7 0 0 7.2 5 3 3 6 10
12 5 5.40 3 3 0 16.2 18 11 10 7 9
0 1 4.91 4 0 2 3.2 6 2 2 2 2
2 2 3.67 4 4 0 27.0 23 11 11 7 13
0 0 1.59 7 0 0 5.2 6 1 1 0 3
0 2 5.74 3 3 0 15.2 18 11 10 6 12
0 0 11.12 6 0 0 5.2 9 7 7 0 5


Roster

2009 Tampa Bay Rays
Roster
Pitchers Catchers
Infielders
Outfielders Manager
Coaches (third base) (hitting) (first base) (pitching) (bench) (bullpen) (senior advisor)

External links