At times, it was difficult to tell which was the expansion club when the defending World Series champion Florida Marlins traveled to St. Petersburg on Friday to play the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the first game of the Sunshine Series.
The youthful Marlins, shed of 12 players from their World Series roster and their accompanying high salaries, won, 2-1, and Craig Counsell, the only player in Florida’s lineup on the field last October, drove in the winning run with a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning.
Bubba Trammell hit the first homer in Devil Ray history.
Tampa Bay opened the major league portion of its spring schedule after beating Florida State, 6-3, Thursday.
Philadelphia center fielder Lenny Dykstra, 35, out for most of two seasons because of back surgery and an arthritic right knee, says he will need only 50 at-bats to determine whether his comeback from serious back and knee injuries will succeed or fail.
Dykstra said, thus far, he hasn’t felt any pain.
“I can still play,” he said. “I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised. I had some injuries that had to be taken care of and I’ve taken care of them.”
The Phillies, though, aren’t so sure. They traded second baseman Mickey Morandini to the Chicago Cubs for center fielder Doug Glanville.
In Death, Caray Remembered in Life
In a funeral Mass marked by more laughs than tears, Chicago said goodbye to baseball broadcaster Harry Caray on Friday by remembering him as a people-loving master of the microphone.
“He led more fans to the ballpark than any other announcer in the history of baseball,” declared Jim Dowdle, the Tribune Co. executive vice president who hired Caray 16 years ago to be the voice of the Cubs.
Cub greats Billy Williams, Ryne Sandberg and Rick Sutcliffe were among those crowded into Holy Name Cathedral along with White Sox old-timer Minnie Minoso, former Bears coach Mike Ditka, Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar and Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.
Several Cubs, including Manager Jim Riggleman and veterans Mark Grace, Sammy Sosa and Scott Servais, left Arizona to attend the funeral.
Back in Peoria, Ariz., the Seattle Mariners beat Chicago, 7-6, in their exhibition opener.
Caray, a veteran of 53 years in the broadcasting booth and a member of the baseball Hall of Fame, collapsed the night of Feb. 14 in a restaurant in Rancho Mirage, Calif. He never regained consciousness.