Late arrival not a problem for Rays
Delayed flight to Baltimore turns into team bonding venture
BALTIMORE -- The Rays got to Baltimore on Sunday night -- eventually.
According to the itinerary, the team was supposed to arrive in Baltimore at 8:30 p.m., but there were problems with the plane that delayed the charter's takeoff, which got them into Baltimore at 11:45.
The pilots on the charter actually drove from St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International Airport to pick up another plane, which they flew across the bay to pick up the stranded team.
Many times such a delay will leave team members fairly cranky, but for the most part, the players seemed to take it in stride.
"We had TVs on the second plane so it wasn't that bad," Carl Crawford said. "Just had to wait a little while to take off; it wasn't that bad. ... Just had to wait a few extra hours, we didn't have anywhere else to go. Ain't nothing to do [in Baltimore] anyway. I don't think anybody was really upset -- maybe if we were going somewhere different."
Jeff Niemann pointed out the season is still young, so "no one's really flustered yet."
"[The season is] still pretty fresh," Niemann said. "Everybody played cards, really got the games going. So it really didn't affect us at all. If anything, it was a team bonding experience."
Sonnanstine settling in nicely in Rays' 'pen
BALTIMORE -- Andy Sonnanstine has now made two relief appearances this spring after losing out to Wade Davis in his bid to claim the fifth spot in the starting rotation.
Both of his appearances have been two-plus innings, with his most recent outing coming Sunday against the Yankees when he finished the game, going two innings and allowing only a solo homer to Nick Swisher.
In observing the adjustment period for Sonnanstine from starter to reliever, Maddon said the quicker the 27-year-old right-hander manages to get loose will determine a lot in regard to how he is used.
"That would be the thing that gets him into more juicy moments," Maddon said, "knowing that I can get him up and get him in quicker, as opposed to having to warm him up like a starter.
"As we move this thing along, I have a lot of faith in him against certain hitters. I don't care if they hit third or fourth in the lineup. He's done some good work against some really good hitters in the middle. We'll see how this goes along. [Lance] Cormier and he have some similar qualities, so it might be a situation where we can bounce them both back and forth to not get them overworked."
Yanks, Rays discuss the Trop
BALTIMORE -- In Sunday's finale against the Yankees, Evan Longoria got a base hit that ricocheted off the catwalk, much to the consternation of the Yankees, who teed off on Tropicana Field afterward. Among the more noteworthy comments came from Yankees catcher Jorge Posade, who quipped, "nice stadium."
"There's not much we can say," Posada said. "Whatever they're going to call, whatever they saw. It's not a baseball stadium. You can't have balls going all over the place. Really. That's sad."
Rays manager Joe Maddon smiled when asked about the Yankees' comments.
"Tell them we're trying to get a new yard ourselves," Maddon said. "If they want to contribute in any way, we'll take it. We're all for a new ballpark, tell them, we're not trying to hide that.
"Listen, we'll take all kinds of donations. Any Major League team that wants to contribute to the new ballpark, we'll be happy to accept."
Derek Jeter and Posada both live in Tampa. Jeter is building a mammoth house on Davis Island, which Maddon can see while making his daily bicycle ride along Bayshore Boulevard.
"Heck, we could just build it on Jeter's property," Maddon said.
Milestones for C.C.
BALTIMORE -- Carl Crawford got his first triple and second stolen base in Sunday's game against the Yankees. The three-base hit was the 93rd of his career, tying Hall of Famer Joe Medwick for 14th most triples (since 1900) before the age of 29. The steal gave Crawford, who will turn 29 on Aug. 5, 364 for his career, which tied him with Willie Wilson for the ninth most before the age of 29.
Jimmy Rollins is the active leader in triples with 96, Johnny Damon is next at 95 and Crawford ranks third.
Juan Pierre is the active leader in stolen bases with 461 and is followed by Omar Vizquel (389), Damon (374), Crawford, and Luis Castillo (363).
BALTIMORE -- The Rays were 7-for-7 in stolen-base attempts in the just-concluded series vs. the Yankees after going 1-for-4 in the season-opening set against the Orioles.
The Rays stole 194 bases in 2009, 45 more than any other club (The Angels had 149). They became the sixth AL team since World War II to lead the Major Leagues in steals over successive seasons. Under Maddon (since 2006), the Rays have stolen 609 bases, one shy of the Mets for the most in the Major Leagues over the last five seasons.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.