Sunday, July 16, 2017

'When Rickie says something, we listen:' Former Southern star Rickie Weeks a steadying influence for Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida — Inside the home clubhouse at Tropicana Field, it’s a night for good times. The sound system’s thump-thump-thump sets a fun-loving mood. Players for the Tampa Bay Rays, enjoying a victory, are making light-hearted conversation while mixing in occasional hijinks.

Over in the corner, it’s all business.

The team’s oldest player, Rickie Weeks Jr., is quietly sitting at his locker stall, slowly putting himself together, his back to the room.

Soon, he will slip away, barely making a sound.

“But when Rickie says something, we listen,’’ Rays pitcher Alex Cobb said. “He knows how to act like a pro. We respect him so much. Nobody has to say it. It’s just the truth.’’

To the untrained eye, Weeks appears to be a veteran with his best days long behind him, a name that once generated considerable buzz and All-Star votes. Now a first baseman who plays almost exclusively against left-handed pitching, the former Southern star batted .216 with two home runs and eight RBIs before landing on the disabled list.


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