Crawford thanks Rays fans with half-page newspaper ad

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The act has become a little too predictable — and maybe even expected — but it’s still pretty cool.

Carl Crawford took out a half-page ad in the Sunday edition of the St. Petersburg Times to thank Rays fans and the Tampa Bay community for their “support over the years.”

Crawford also bought lunch for the 150-member staff at Tropicana Field a couple of weeks ago.

The do-everything outfielder inked a seven-year, $142 million contract with the Red Sox in early December and is looking to make nice before bolting out of town for a division rival.

He was thanked by the readers and writers at DRaysBay earlier this winter with a full-page ad in the Tampa Bay Times.  All is well, at least until Crawford hits a bases-loaded triple to capture the American League East crown for the Red Sox somewhere around early October of this new year.

Giants tab Madison Bumgarner to start Opening Day

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Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area reports that the Giants, to the shock of absolutely no one, have tabbed Madison Bumgarner to start on Opening Day, March 29 in Los Angeles against the Dodgers. He’ll pitch opposite Clayton Kershaw.

This will be the fifth consecutive season in which Bumgarner has started on Opening Day for the Giants. His five total Opening Day starts is still way behind the club record held by Juan Marichal, who started 10 Opening Days, including six consecutively from 1964-69.

Bumgarner, 28, missed nearly two months in the first half last season due to a dirt bike accident. He still managed to have a great season, compiling a 3.32 ERA with a 101/20 K/BB ratio in 111 innings.