06/16/10 8:11 PM ET
Rays announce Draft signings
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
Bartlett returns to starting lineup
ATLANTA -- Jason Bartlett returned from the disabled list from a strained right hamstring and was in the Rays' starting lineup Wednesday night.
Even though Bartlett did not get to play at designated hitter for Triple-A Durham as scheduled on Tuesday night due to a rainout, he did play shortstop Monday night, which allowed him to get a pretty good test.
Bartlett said the Gwinnett team tried a double steal "and it caught me off guard at first," which made him have to react quickly without thinking. They also tried to pick him off of second base, and he got back to the base fine.
"I wondered how it was going to feel when I slid," Bartlett said. "I was fine."
As is custom when a Major Leaguer joins a Minor League team, Bartlett sprung for the pregame spread.
"I got them a couple of good ones, I think they enjoyed it," Bartlett said. "Barbecue and some subs. I couldn't top Shop [catcher Kelly Shoppach, who rehabbed with Durham earlier in the season]. I guess Shop bought them something every day."
Rays manager Joe Maddon plans to be sensitive to Bartlett returning from the disabled list. He feels comfortable with any combination of Bartlett, Sean Rodriguez, Reid Brignac and Ben Zobrist playing shortstop and second base.
Zobrist helping out in hometown community
ATLANTA -- Ben Zobrist lives in Nashville in the offseason, so he was in tune to the flooding that occurred in the city in May. Among the stories he heard about in the aftermath was that of Ishmael Arnold.
The 11-year-old boy had just fled his house with his family due to the water coming in when he realized he'd forgotten his bag of baseball equipment and returned to retrieve it.
Arnold is a pitcher/third baseman in the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program in Nashville, Tenn. Zobrist helps out with the RBI program in the offseason and got in touch with Arnold and his family and had them as his special guests prior to Wednesday's game against the Braves.
Zobrist took Arnold for a tour of the Rays' clubhouse, introduced him to players and played catch with the youngster. Afterward he gave Arnold a bat, a ball, a new glove and a Rays hat.
Three catchers just right for Rays
ATLANTA -- Dioner Navarro is ready to catch, but manager Joe Maddon won't rush him back from the stiff neck that he incurred a week ago. The team is now carrying three catchers, which is the most they have carried at any one time during Maddon's tenure as Rays manager.
Maddon said he liked having three catchers, particularly given the composition of the trio, which includes Navarro, Kelly Shoppach, and John Jaso, noting that two of the catchers were "really offensive catchers," and that having three catchers "won't lock us down, because we have such versatility in other areas."
Father's Day watch party
ATLANTA -- The Rays will host a free Watch Party for the Rays against the Marlins 1:10 p.m. ET game on Sunday at the Tampa Bay History Center, 801 Old Water Street (formerly St. Pete Times Forum Drive) in Downtown Tampa at Channelside.
The party will begin at 12:30 p.m. and run through 5 p.m. and will include live pregame and postgame radio broadcasts with Rich Herrera, interactive outdoor games, kids crafts, Raymond appearance, opportunity to register to win VIP-for-a-Day Father & Child Experience (at the St. Petersburg Times tent) and free Tampa Bay History Center admission for dads with one paid admission.
Sunday's game will be shown on a giant LED screen outside in Heroes Plaza, adjacent to Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park at the Tampa Bay History Center. Fans may bring lawn chairs, blankets, food and beverage (alcohol will not be permitted).
Parking will be available in the St. Pete Times Forum East Lot which is located on the north side of the History Center or the Channelside Parking Garage or the Channelside Surface lot.
More artists announced for concert series
ATLANTA -- The Rays have added Friday postgame concerts that include Tantric following the Rays vs. D-backs game on June 25 at 7:10 p.m. ET, Vanilla Ice will perform following the Rays vs. Indians game on July 9 and Grammy-Award winning group Los Lobos will play following the Rays vs. Yankees game July 30. Following all Friday home games, Rays fans will have the opportunity to watch the concerts from the field.
At all Friday home games, themed as Friday Fests presented by Captain Morgan, the first 10,000 fans will receive a collectible T-shirt presented by the St. Petersburg Times. Friday Fests also include drink and food specials, including the Captain Morgan Blue Storm, special prize giveaways, postgame parties and a new feature known as the Center Field Shuffle, in which all fans will be allowed to walk across the field and exit through the center-field gate.
The Rays also announced that fans with single-game tickets for July 10, which originally included the Go-Go's postgame concert, canceled by the band last week, may exchange them for tickets of equal value for any remaining 2010 Rays regular season home game based on availability. Exchanges may be made at the Tropicana Field Box Office or at the Rays' Tampa Store and all tickets must be exchanged prior to July 10, 2010 at 7:10 p.m.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.