How do you celebrate a three-year contract extension worth approximately $6 million? If you're Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon, by purchasing a 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air hardtop.
Maddon recently bought the car and had it driven from Scottsdale, Ariz., to Port Charlotte, where it arrived Wednesday morning at the Charlotte Sports Park.
The car, christened "Bella" by Maddon's wife, Jaye, joins Maddon's other custom cars, a 1972 Chevy Chevelle convertible and a 1967 Ford Galaxy convertible.
"She was all for it," Maddon said. "My wife is kind of like a guy sometimes. She likes big, flat-screen TVs. She likes watching football on Sundays. She likes fast cars. She used to drink martinis. She's got a lot of man cave kind of qualities about her."
Moore throws again
LHP Matt Moore played catch at 75 feet Wednesday morning, a move that sent smiles around the Charlotte Sports Park. Moore was shelved Monday and Tuesday after suffering a mild strain of his mid-lower abdomen while throwing a bullpen session Friday.
"Everything was good," he said. "Everything has been great the last few days, too. It was just a reassurance that everything felt good and to go out there and throw and not have any pain."
Maddon said head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield will "accelerate" Moore's throwing today, but it's still a question when Moore will be allowed to throw a bullpen session. That will determine when he will pitch in a spring game.
Opener sold out
The Rays announced that only scattered single tickets remain for the April 6 season opener against the Yankees at Tropicana Field, and as a result, they are declaring the game a sellout.
"Wonderful," Rays owner Stuart Sternberg said. "It's great to be able to do it in February.
Sternberg said tickets for the remaining games of the three-game series with the Yankees are also selling well.
"It's the weekend. It's the Yankees. It's the opening series," he said. "There will absolutely be a spillover. There's a good demand on those games."
Shiners vs. Crushers
The lone intrasquad game of the spring is scheduled for 11 a.m. today inside the stadium.
The game is closed to the public, a move designed to prevent scouts from the other major league teams from watching as the Rays complete each inning by working on bunts and bunt defense.
All of the regular position players are in the lineups, with the exception of 1B Carlos Peña, CF Sam Fuld, C Jose Molina and DH Luke Scott.
The lineup for Cursi's Crushers (named after bullpen catcher Scott Cursi) is: Desmond Jennings LF, B.J. Upton CF, Matt Joyce RF, Jeff Keppinger 2B, Matt Mangini 1B, Elliot Johnson 3B, Stephen Vogt DH, Chris Gimenez C, Reid Brignac SS and Cesar Ramos P.
The lineup for Chico's Shiners (named after video coordinator Chris Fernandez) is: Sean Rodriguez SS, Brandon Guyer RF, Evan Longoria 3B, Ben Zobrist 2B, Juan Miranda 1B, Jose Lobaton C, Jeff Salazar LF, Robinson Chirinos C, Jesus Feliciano CF, Josh Lueke P.
Also scheduled to pitch are RHP Alex Cobb, RHP Matt Torra, RHP Marquis Fleming, LHP Alex Torres and RHP Matt Bush.
Major League Baseball is expected to announce today it will be adding two wild-card teams this season to the playoff format, a move that bodes well for the Rays. … LHP David Price is scheduled to start Saturday's Grapefruit League opener against the Twins in Fort Myers. RHP Jeremy Hellickson is scheduled to start Sunday against the Twins in Port Charlotte. The rest of the rotation is: RHP Wade Davis on Monday, RHP Jeff Niemann on Tuesday and RHP James Shields on Wednesday. … Sternberg demonstrated Wednesday on how to pitch while playing box baseball to reporters. Using a Spalding rubber ball, Sternberg made it bounce to the right, to the left and to a complete stop, just as he did on the streets of Brooklyn when he was a kid.