ST. PETERSBURG -- As part of the Rays' 20th anniversary celebration, the club donned Devil Rays jerseys from the franchise's pre-2008 era, complete with purple and yellow trim, for Saturday's game against the Mariners. Along with the throwback uniforms, the team welcomed back former players from the Devil Rays era, including Tampa Bay natives Fred McGriff and Tino Martinez, who threw out the first pitch, as well as providing their likeness for a shared bobblehead giveaway.
"They are top of the list as the better players, the best players, that have come out of this area for good reason," said Rays manager Kevin Cash, who also grew up in the Tampa Bay area. "They both had tremendous careers and they're both tremendous people."
Martinez, who now works in player development for the Yankees, said he was honored to share a bobblehead with McGriff, who had been his friend and mentor since his high school days at Jefferson High in Tampa, Fla.
"He was already in the big leagues with the Blue Jays," Martinez said. "He'd always come back in the offseason and hit with us and he would always talk to me about hitting and playing first base, and what it takes to get through the Minor Leagues, all the time.
"For him to do that at such a young age for me, and then to play with him for a year, and now the bobblehead is pretty cool."
Over a decade later, the old Devil Rays uniform has even grown on Martinez.
"I like them," he said. "Nobody liked them back then. Now they like them because they are old and throwbacks. They are great. They are cool colors."
Martinez wasn't the only Tampa Bay native excited for Saturday's throwback uniform. Rays third baseman Christian Arroyo, who grew up a Rays fans, had one just like it when he was younger.
"It's honestly pretty cool," Arroyo said. "I got the chance to see them before the season and I was very excited for the chance to wear them. … I was always a big fan of the old unis."
Arroyo, who hit his first home run as a Ray on Friday night, became just the sixth player born in Tampa Bay to homer as a member of their hometown team.
Archer throws off mound
Rays starter Chris Archer threw off a bullpen mound Saturday for the first time since being placed on the 10-day DL on Sunday with a strained left abdominal muscle.
Archer (3-4, 4.24 ERA) reported no setbacks after throwing a 20-pitch session before Saturday afternoon's game. Archer is scheduled to throw a round of live batting practice Thursday and could rejoin the rotation at some point the following week.