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Thursday, Jul 31, 2014
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Rays Notes: Maddon embraces inner hippie for road trip

Published:   |   Updated: May 12, 2014 at 11:46 AM

— Tonight, the Rays head to Seattle, the hometown of Jimi Hendrix, and a “Woodstock’’ theme road trip. It’s the 30th themed road trip since Rays manager Joe Maddon conceived the idea in 2008 as Tampa Bay heads west to face the Mariners, then the Los Angeles Angels.

Hendrix is the tie-in to Woodstock, a seminal American event that drew approximately 400,000 people and took place from Aug. 15-18, 1969, on a farm in White Lake, N.Y.

Rays players dressed in 1969-style peace-and-love clothing, many getting their garb from “Squaresville,’’ a throwback store in Tampa. Rays radio announcer Andy Freed wore a T-shirt with the bird “Woodstock,’’ a character from the Peanuts comic strip.

No Rays player was alive during Woodstock and many didn’t grasp the meaning of the road trip.

“I think I kind of know what it was about,’’ RHP Jeremy Hellickson said.

Maddon himself was 15 and living in Hazelton, Pa.

“I was oblivious,’’ Maddon said. “It came right after the (Apollo 11) moonwalk, correct? I think I was still absorbed in the moonwalk. And I was doing two-a-days for high school football, getting pounded every day, so I just wasn’t following it on the “Nightly News” with Huntley and Brinkley.

“But I have the documentary on my iPad right now. I didn’t realize Richie Havens started it up and how good he was. He was fantastic. I think Crosby, Stills and Nash said it was their second or third gig ever. I mean, this was absolutely amazing stuff. I’d love for our guys to know more about it.’’

Excuse-me swing

Cleveland’s three-run second inning was fueled by Nyjer Morgan, who was jammed on a check swing with two runners on base. It dribbled down the third-base line. RHP Chris Archer raced over to field it, then stepped back, waiting for it to roll foul.

It never did, hugging the line for a softly hit RBI single that tied the game.

“Whether I’m successful or not, at no point do I point to one play,’’ Archer said. “You’re going to have guys who line out and get robbed of home runs. You’ve going to have other guys who don’t hit it past the pitcher’s mound and get a base hit. It happens.

“I believe in harmony and balance. If I continue to do the things I’ve done to get me to this point in my career, I’ll be fine.’’

Ramos back to the hill

LHP Cesar Ramos (1-1, 2.96 ERA) makes his 11th appearance and sixth start tonight in facing the Mariners. He has filled the void in the starting rotation since the season-ending injury to Matt Moore.

On Wednesday against the Orioles, Ramos went a career-long 52⁄3 innings.

“I’m just trying to do my part and help the team,’’ Ramos said. “Whatever I can do is what I’m going to do. We don’t see it like that (trying to keep things stabilized until injured pitchers return to the lineup). We’re just trying to win games.’’

Odds and ends

The Rays are 12-3 this season when their starter goes six innings and 4-19 when he doesn’t. … The Rays are 8-9 all-time on Mother’s Day. The most infamous performance was 2010, when Oakland’s Dallas Braden beat the Rays with a perfect game. … Hellickson, who threw four or five curveballs during a 40-pitch bullpen session on Saturday, said he felt fine on Sunday, giving him major optimism. Hellickson, recovering from offseason elbow surgery, said he expects to be ready some time in June. … RHP Alex Cobb (oblique strain) will throw a simulated game to extended-spring players today at the Charlotte Sports Complex. If all goes well, he will pitch Saturday in a rehab start for the Charlotte Stone Crabs against the Clearwater Phillies. … LF Matt Joyce homered in the first inning, ending a 30-inning homerless streak at home for the Rays. … The Rays won’t meet the Indians again until the regular season’s final series in Cleveland on Sept. 26-28. The Rays are now 17-9 against the Indians at Tropicana Field since 2008.

Joey Johnston

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