Burrell hitting road to face Phillies
Spring Training bus rides provide way of bonding with teammates
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Pat Burrell downplayed the fact he will be on the bus Saturday morning when the Rays head to Clearwater, Fla., to play against his former team, the Phillies, at 1:05 p.m. ET.
"[Rays manager Joe Maddon] asked me if I want to go, and I said, 'Sure, I'd like to go,'" said Burrell of the game that will be shown on MLB.TV. "For just no other reason than the obvious. I don't want to make more of it than it is. I actually enjoy going on the road games."
Burrell remembered former teammate Jim Thome talking about how making the trips afforded him the opportunity to better get to know his new teammates.
"The ride home and stuff like that, you get a chance to hang out and a chance to get to know people," Burrell said. "That's hard to do when you get to a new team."
Burrell went on to say that he can't be the guy to choose which games he plays in during Spring Training.
"[Maddon is] going to try and put together the best formula he can come up with where guys get what they need," Burrell said. "He's come up to me several times, and I've said, 'Joe, it's up to you all. I'll do whatever you want. I'm fitting into your system. You make a decision and I'll do everything I can.' That's the way I look at it."
Burrell did say he was looking forward to Saturday's trip to Clearwater, where, according to Maddon, the designated hitter will be used despite playing in a National League park.
"Who knows what kind of reception [I'll receive from Phillies fans] and all that other stuff," Burrell said. "We'll see. I'm looking forward to it. It's a game. You can't hide the fact you've got some relationships with some people. And it's good to see guys, that's the way I'm looking at it."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.