Burrell receives World Series ring
New Rays DH travels to Philly to take part in ceremony
BOSTON -- Pat Burrell's whirlwind trip to Philadelphia ended at approximately 5:20 p.m. ET on Wednesday when he walked onto the field at Fenway Park to join his Rays teammates for batting practice.
Burrell played for the Phillies in 2008 and played an integral role in the team becoming National League champions before defeating the Rays in five games in the World Series. Prior to Wednesday afternoon's Braves-Phillies contest in Philadelphia, the Phils handed out championship rings to the players who won the title.
Burrell, who signed a two-year, $16 million deal with Tampa Bay in January, was given the green light from Rays manager Joe Maddon to attend the ceremony -- calling it a once-in-a-lifetime event -- and Burrell took advantage of the opportunity.
Burrell flew from Boston to Philadelphia on Wednesday morning for the ceremony that took place at 3 p.m.
The ceremony saw everybody receive their rings before concluding with the Phillies' starting lineup from Game 5 of the World Series being awarded their rings, starting with pitcher Cole Hamels and following in reverse order through leadoff hitter Jimmy Rollins. During this sequence, Burrell, wearing a natty-looking suit and tie, received his ring and a nice ovation from the fans.
"The fans have been so incredible to me up there," Burrell said. "It's just one of those things -- it's a little uncomfortable talking about it, because it's a new year and it's over.
"I think for me and everybody on that team, it was a pretty special day to be a part of, and I'm fortunate I had the opportunity to be there, because it very easily could not have worked out."
Once the players left the first-base line, Burrell headed for the nearby Philadelphia airport, where he boarded a chartered jet that took off for Boston. The flight went smoothly and the biggest obstacle he faced was traffic while riding in a cab from the airport to Fenway Park, but as Burrell noted, "It all worked out well."
Maddon recognized the special occasion.
"I know it was a big moment for him," Maddon said. "Getting to know him in this short period of time, he's just such a good guy, and I can see why they loved him so much over on that side."
Maddon opted to use Burrell as the designated hitter against left-hander Jon Lester on Wednesday night, and Burrell went 0-for-3, but the Rays took a 7-2 win.
"I thought it would be best to have him go through what he did today, be all pumped up, come here tonight and play, and then possibly give him off tomorrow," Maddon said.
Maddon plans to use Willy Aybar as the DH for the getaway game against the Red Sox on Thursday afternoon.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.