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Rays hold moment of silence for Don Zimmer, who felt lucky to be 'part of this game'

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - The Tampa Bay Rays held a moment of silence for Don Zimmer before Thursday's game against Miami.

The Rays will also have a ceremony for their team senior adviser before Saturday's game with Seattle.

Zimmer spent 66 years in pro baseball and died Wednesday at 83. He had been in a Florida rehab centre since heart surgery in mid-April.

Tom Zimmer, Don's son and a San Francisco Giants scout, issued a family statement thanking all of those who "rooted so hard" for "Pop's recovery."

"What a great life he has had," the statement said. "The game goes on without him now, but he surely would have expressed once again that 'I was so lucky to be part of this game for a lifetime.'"

Tom Zimmer called his father's final few years a "huge struggle."

"In baseball terms he battled the best he could but simply was running out of gas," he said. "These last eight weeks, he was just too weakened to survive anymore and we are grateful the suffering has ended. We will miss him terribly, but will have a lifetime of memories."

There is no funeral or other memorial service planned. In lieu of flowers, the family asked donations be made to either the National Kidney Foundation or the Baseball Assistance team.

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