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Rays ready to start their 27th season with a lot of new faces

Rays ready to start their 27th season with a lot of new faces

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - On the Eve of Opening Day, the Tampa Bay Rays went through a dress rehearsal right down to practicing the post game victory handshake. This team is ready and excited for the official start of a new season.

"It's first day of school vibes thing," Brandon Lowe said. "It's the same kind of thing. I was talking to my wife earlier. I said I have to get my outfit ready for tomorrow."

Opening Day is going to be extra special for Zach Elfin as he will be given the ball to make his first Opening Day start for a team that he grew up cheering for.

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"It's an honor for me personally," Elfin said. "I grew up a Rays fan, and I love the organization. The simple fact of them trusting me to throw on the first day of the season means the world to me and my family. We're all excited and looking forward to it."

The Rays have a lot of new faces on this year's roster. A half a dozen players are making the Opening Day roster for the first time in their careers. After watching this team go through Spring Training, there is one new face that has stood out to Brandon Lowe.

"One of the guys I was very impressed with," Lowe said. "Just the way that he played. The ways he handled himself. The way he went through early work. The way he played the games was Richie [Palacios]. Got him in a trade. Didn't really know much about him. Came in and introduced himself. He's been an unbelievable teammate so far. Just excited to see what he can do for us for the time that he's with us. Whether that's the whole season or what not. I'm excited to see the guy play."

"When I hear good news about my teammates supporting me, obviously it gives me all the confidence in the world," Palacios said.

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Jose Caballero will be the Rays' starting shortstop. The Rays traded Luke Raley to Seattle for him, knowing they needed a solid replacement for Wander Franco. Caballero is appreciative of this opportunity.

"I'm just happy about myself, happy that I made this big step in my career and happy to join this group of guys," Caballero said.

Baseball is back for a new season and it gets underway Thursday afternoon at Tropicana Field.

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