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David Brown

Autograph alert! Pat Burrell is signing by the visitor's dugout!

David Brown
Big League Stew

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Pat the Bat is back in Clearwater.

For the first time since taking off in free agency, Pat Burrell roamed the Phillies spring complex in another team's uniform.

Burrell, bred to be a Phillie, is now swimming with the Rays.

Burrell, now Tampa Bay's designated hitter after signing for two seasons at $16 million in the off-season, seemed in a great mood and repeatedly accommodated fans from both sides (that I noticed) who said hello and/or sought autographs.

This is a shot I got during one of the several times he went over to sign for folks calling his name at Bright House Field.

Would he answer to "Mr. The Bat"? Nobody called him that, so I don't know.

Did you know that Burrell is especially popular with the ladies for some reason?

"We miss you, Pat!" at least one female rooter shouted out as he signed baseballs, pictures and cards near the Rays dugout before taking batting practice.

"Thank you," Burrell replied.

Just enough words, along with the deed, to get the job done.

Pat Gillick just bounced the ceremonial first pitch. The game is starting; let's do a game thread! Or not.

UPDATE: Burrell tipped his helmet after a nice ovation before his first at-bat. He then popped out and was booed. KIDDING.

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