Tampa Bay Rays opened their tenth spring training in Port Charlotte with pitchers and catchers holding their first workout Wednesday at Charlotte Sports Park. Wednesday may have been Valentine’s Day, but it was also special for something else baseball fans hold dear: The start of spring training in Charlotte and Sarasota counties. Pitchers and catchers of the Tampa Bay Rays, Baltimore Orioles and Atlanta Braves had their first official workout of 2018 in near-record February heat that weather experts say one would normally experience in mid-May. The Braves play in Orlando, but will make North Port their full-time exhibition season home in 2020. Full squads begin practice Monday, with the first games Feb. 23. The forecast calls for temperatures approaching 90 in the coming days. Welcome to summer, boys. Go to page 4 and 5 for schedules, statistics and a little history on the National Pastime. For more baseball: See today’s Viewpoint page. Also, watch for the special 16-page Spring Training section on Feb. 23.
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