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Rays honor 2008 AL championship team

MLB.com @wwchastain

ST. PETERSBURG -- Akinori Iwamura went to the mound to throw the ceremonial first pitch before Saturday night's 2-1 Rays' loss to the White Sox.

Seconds later, Jason Bartlett -- Iwamura's old keystone partner on the 2008 Rays -- hauled in the toss, ending the pregame ceremony honoring the 2008 American League championship team.

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ST. PETERSBURG -- Akinori Iwamura went to the mound to throw the ceremonial first pitch before Saturday night's 2-1 Rays' loss to the White Sox.

Seconds later, Jason Bartlett -- Iwamura's old keystone partner on the 2008 Rays -- hauled in the toss, ending the pregame ceremony honoring the 2008 American League championship team.

View Full Game Coverage

Players and coaches were introduced prior to Saturday night's game, taking their place along the first-base line. Soot Zimmer, wife of late Rays special advisor Don Zimmer, was introduced first.

Highlighting the former players and coaches on hand for the festivities were Iwamura, Bartlett, Melvin (B.J.) Upton Jr., Scott Kazmir, Grant Balfour, Dan Wheeler and James Shields, who wore his White Sox uniform and will pitch against the Rays on Sunday.

Saturday night was the first time the club has honored the 2008 team since they raised the banners before the home opener on April 13, 2009.

Iwamura, whose bobblehead was distributed to fans prior to the game, traveled the farthest to get tot he ceremony, covering 7,500 miles during a 24-hour journey from Japan.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays since 2005.

Tampa Bay Rays