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For starters, Rays vs. White Sox, in the home finale

Nathan Karns, impressive in his Rays debut, makes his second and last start today.

AP photo

Nathan Karns, impressive in his Rays debut, makes his second and last start today.

UPDATE, 12:20: Sean Rodriguez has rejoined the team following the death of his grandmother and is in the lineup at DH. ... OF Desmond Jennings said the sore left knee that has sidelined him for the final month of the season is "feeling better" but not enough yet to play so he won't be going on the final road trip to Boston and Cleveland.

Rays lineup:
Zobrist cf
Guyer lf
Longoria 3b
Myers rf
Forsythe 2b
Escobar ss
Loney 1b
Rodriguez dh
Casali c
Karns p

White Sox lineup, with no Paul Konerko:
Ramirez ss
Sanchez 2b
Abreu dh
Garcia rf
Viciedo lf
Danks cf
Semien 3b
Wilkins 1b
Phegley c
Danks p

DEVELOPING: The Rays wrap up the home portion of their schedule today with a 1:40 game against the White Sox.

The Rays' lack of success at home - only 36-44 - has been a key art of their overall failure this season, one which manager Joe Maddon says is mystifying.

RHP Nathan Karns, impressive in his Rays debut, makes his second and last start today. The White Sox are starting LHP John Danks.

RHP Brad Boxberger is expected back in the Rays bullpen after missing the last two games following the Thursday birth of his daughter, Ava. …

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For starters, Rays vs. White Sox, trying to salvage something

UPDATE, 5:12: Maddon said waking up today officially eliminated reinforced how much he doesn't like it, and has already started thinking about what they can do differently next year. ... RHP Brad Boxberger (baby) is expected back Sunday, INF/OF Sean Rodriguez (whose grandmother died)  has not told the team when he will be back.

Rays lineup:
Zobrist lf
DeJesus dh
Longoria 3b
Loney 1b
Franklin 2b
Joyce rf
Escobar ss
Kiermaier cf
Hanigan c
Archer p

DEVELOPING:  After Friday's loss made their elimination from the playoff race official, the Rays take the field tonight against the White Sox needing to win the first of their final eight games to extend their streak of winning seasons to seven.

And at 74-80, they have to win seven of the remaining eight to meet manager Joe Maddon's goal of finishing .500, becoming the first team to do after being at least 18 games under .500 during a season.

RHP Chris Archer will be on the mound tonight, taking on White Sox RHP Hector Noesi.

1B Paul Konerko, winding down his career, is not in the Chicago lineup:

Eaton cf
Ramirez ss
Abreu 1b
Gillaspie 3b
Garcia rf
Viciedo lf
Wilkins dh
Flowers c
Sanchez 2b
Noesi p

Rays lineup when available.

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For starters, Rays vs. White Sox

UPDATE, 5:08: With a loss today or an Oakland win, the Rays would be eliminated from the Wild Card race. They've only played 13 games since 2007 that didn't factor into the playoff picture.

Today's lineups:

Rays

Zobrist LF

Guyer DH

Longoria 3B

Myers RF

Forsythe 2B

Escobar SS

Loney 1B

Molina C

Kiermaier CF

Hellickson RHP

 

White Sox

Eaton CF

Ramirez SS

Abreu DH

Gillaspie 3B

Garcia RF

Konerko 1B

Taylor LF
Phegley C

Semien 2B

Quintana LHP

 

 

DEVELOPING: The Rays open their final home series of the season today with the first of a three-game set against the White Sox.

The Rays will start RHP Jeremy Hellickson (1-3, 3.63), who is still looking for his first home win of the season. And with his status up in the air for next year, it could be his last start as a Ray at Tropicana Field.

Chicago will start LHP Jose Quintana (8-10, 3.30).

Lineups and more when available.

 

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Zobrist wins MVP award now named for Zimmer

The Tampa Bay chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association announced the winners of its annual awards today, and that its MVP award had been named the Don Zimmer MVP award, in honor of the team's former senior advisor.

INF/OF Ben Zobrist was chosen the winner for the second time, also in 2009.

Zobrist finished first in the voting with 22 points, just ahead of LHP Jake McGee (20) and 3B  Evan Longoria (19).

RHP Jake Odorizzi was named the outstanding rookie, finishing ahead of OF Kevin Kiermaier, 41-31.

Longoria was named winner of the Paul C. Smith Champion Award, which is presented to the player who best exemplifies the spirit of true professionalism on and off the field.

Longoria became the third player to win all three of the chapter awards, joining Carl Crawford and James Shields.

Zimmer's widow, Soot, attended the afternoon banquet and presented the award to Zobrist.

 

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Rays, Lightning ranked most affordable by ESPN

The Rays and Lightning are tops in their sports in terms of affordability of tickets, parking and concession in ESPN The Magazine's new Ultimate Rankings of the 122 teams in MLB and the NFL, NHL and NBA.

The overall rankings, part subjective, part formulaic, include quality of coaching, ownership and players; stadium experience and fan relations; win and title possibilties. The Lighting are sixth, the Rays 35th and the Bucs 84th. To see the full chart, click here.

It is the fourth time in eight years the Rays were baseball's most affordable team, the first time for the Lightning. The Bucs were 17th among NFL teams.

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For starters, Rays vs. Yankees, seeking a sweep in Jeter's farewell

The Rays tonight will start Alex Cobb, who took a no-hitter into the eighth in his last start against the Yankees on Thursday in New York.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

The Rays tonight will start Alex Cobb, who took a no-hitter into the eighth in his last start against the Yankees on Thursday in New York.

UPDATE, 5:56: The Rays are seeking their sixth sweep alltime of the Yankees in a three-or-more game series, second this year. They haven't dont it at the Trop since April 2012. ... The rays witrh a win tonight will also be the first team to beat them at least 12 times in a season in consecutive seasons since the Orioles and Twins did so 1967-68.

UPDATE, 5:45: Yankees SS Derek Jeter is in the lineup for what will be his last game at the Trop. ... Rays manager Joe Maddon reiterated that rookie RHP Steve Geltz was not throwing at Jeter last night, and Maddon didn't seem too concerned about Girardi's comments that the Rays needed to learn how to throw inside, saying he assumes they were made out of frustration. ... Sean Barber replaced suspended Joe West on the umpiring crew and wiill work 3B, with Alan Porter going behind the plate and Marty Foster serving as crew chief.

Rays lineup
Zobrist ss
DeJesus dh
Longoria 3b
Loney 1b
Myers rf
Franklin 2b
Joyce lf
Hanigan c
Kiermaier cf
Cobb p

Yankees lineup:
Ellsbury dh
Jeter ss
McCann c
Teixeira 1b
Young lf
Gardner cf
Headley 3b
Suzuki rf
Ryan 2b
McCarthy p …

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Girardi says Rays need to learn how to pitch inside. However …

Yankees manager Joe Girardi is restrained while complaining about Rays relief pitcher Steven Geltz hitting Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter. [DIRK SHADD | Times]

Yankees manager Joe Girardi is restrained while complaining about Rays relief pitcher Steven Geltz hitting Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter. [DIRK SHADD | Times]

Joe Girardi has a conveniently short memory.

In the aftermath of Tuesday's benches-and-bullpen clearing standoff, the Yankees manager, upset and frustrated as his team's slim playoff hopes are all but extinguished, accused the Rays of not knowing how to pitch inside properly and suggesting they learn.

He pointed to how the Rays had hit five of his batters during the last five games between the teams and pontificated on their actions.

"Five times in four games (over the span of five) we've been hit,'' Girardi said. "Twice in the elbow, once in the leg, once in the chin. Ball at Gardy's head (Monday) night. Another ball at Chase's ribs last night. I'm all for pitching inside, but you've got to know how to pitch inside because it's extremely dangerous. ... I don't know what they expect. They hit five of our guys in four games. You don't think we're going to be pissed? ... We're not pincushions."

Also, Girardi said, "I'm tired of my guys getting hit and where they're getting hit. I'm tired of it. If you're going to pitch inside, learn to pitch inside. You pitch down in the zone; you don't pitch up. This is not practice; this is guys' livelihood."

But what he conveniently didn't acknowledge was that in the first 12 games the teams played this season, his Yankees pitchers - who surely must know how to pitch inside - hit eight Rays batters (while Rays pitchers hit only two Yankees).

And that for the season series, which concludes tonight, his Yankees pitchers have hit more batters than the Rays, 8-7. Over the last five years of play, the Yankees have "out-hit" the Rays 41-24.

Also, for this season overall, the Yankees pitchers have hit 62 batters, the Rays 53. …

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For starters, Rays vs. Yankees, on Derek Jeter Day

Derek Jeter, left, is in the Yankees lineup, playing shortstop.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times

Derek Jeter, left, is in the Yankees lineup, playing shortstop.

UPDATE, 5:18: Jeter is in the Yankees lineup, playing SS. ... Maddon said it's not official but "very unlikely" CF Desmond Jennings will play again this season. ... Alex Colome will be used out of the bullpen over the weekend and likely won't make his next start until the final weekend in Cleveland. Nathan Karns will get another start.

UPDATE, 5:15: The Rays are starting Nick Franklin, acquired in the David Price trade, at 2B tonight.

Rays lineup:

Zobrist LF,
DeJesus DH,
Longoria 3b,
Loney 1b,
Franklin 2b,
Joyce rf,
Escobar SS,
Kiermaier cf,
Hanigan c,
Odorizzi p

DEVELOPING: Before the Rays take the field tonight, they will honor retiring Yankees star SS Derek Jeter.

Expect some kind words, a few personalized gifts and a donation to Jeter's Turn 2 charity, with the ceremony set to start just before 7.

Once the game starts, the Rays will have rookie RHP Jake Odorizzi, their leading winner, on the mound against RHP Michael Pineda.

The Rays beat the Yankees Monday with a walkoff single by Ben Zobrist, their second 1-0 win in a four day stretch. It was also their major-league leading 21st shutout, most by an AL team in the DH era. …

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Jeter's time in Tampa started with tears

    ST. PETERSBURG - Retiring Yankees star Derek Jeter acknowledged Monday that his love affair with the Tampa Bay area got off to quite a rocky start.

    Jeter said that when he first started his pro career with the Tampa-based Gulf Coast League team in 1992 he would often end each day in tears wishing he could go home to Michigan.

      "Coming here being extremely homesick, struggling very badly, wondering if I made the right decision, crying every night - so my first memories here really weren't really weren't fond memories, so it's kind of ironic I live here now.  When I first came here I thought what am I doing here, I'm far away from home, and I couldn't wait to leave. But now this is home for me.''

       Addressing a large group of reporters - "I've never seen this many people here. ... Where you guys been?" - before his final series with the Rays, Jeter touched on a few other topics:

    * He "would love" to get into an ownership/decision-making role, but wouldn't bite when asked if he would be interested in doing so with the Rays.  "You're trying to get me in trouble,'' he said. "Is there a tampering rule the other way around? I haven't thought about anything specific.'' …

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No Jeter in Yankees lineup tonight

Derek Jeter is not in the Yankees lineup for tonight's game against the Rays.

Getty Images

Derek Jeter is not in the Yankees lineup for tonight's game against the Rays.

If you were coming to the Trop tonight to see Derek Jeter play against the Rays, be advised he is not in the Yankees lineup.

Jeter is hitless in his last 24 at-bats, also he played the Sunday night game in Baltimore, and he was struck on the left elbow by a pitch on Thursday.

Brendan Ryan is playing SS tonight for the Yankees, and Carlos Beltran is the DH.

The Rays are honoring Jeter before Tuesday's game, planning to give him a few gifts and a donation to his charity.

Today's Rays lineup:

Zobrist CF

Guyer LF

Longoria DH

Myers RF

Escobar SS

Forsythe 2B

Loney 1B

Rodriguez 3B

Casali C

Colome RHP


Yankees lineup:

Ellsbury CF

Gardner LF

Prado 2B

Teixeira 1B

Beltran DH

Headley 3B

Suzuki RF

Murphy C

Ryan SS

Capuano LHP

 

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For starters, Rays vs. Yankees and the beginning of Derek Jeter's farewell to the Trop

UPDATE, 4:58: Apparently Derek Jeter's news conference is about the only thing he'll be doing today.

Jeter isn't in the lineup as the Yankees begin a three-game series against the Rays tonight at Tropicana Field.

In actual Rays news, INF Nick Franklin - one of the parts the Rays landed in the David Price deal - joined the team today. Franklin isn't in the lineup today, but manager Joe Maddon said he plans to mix in Franklin at second base during the rest of the season.

Today's lineups:

Rays

Zobrist CF

Guyer LF

Longoria DH

Myers RF

 

Escobar SS

Forsythe 2B

Loney 1B

Rodriguez 3B

Casali C

Colome RHP

Yankees

Ellsbury CF

Gardner LF

Prado 2B

Teixeira 1B

Beltran DH

Headley 3B

Suzuki RF

Murphy C

Ryan SS

Capuano LHP

 

 

Developing: The Rays are back at Tropicana Field for the beginning of their final homestand of the series. The six-game set begins with three against the Yankees, starting tonight.

The Rays will start RHP Alex Colome (1-0, 2.79) against New York LHP Chris Capuano (1-2, 5.13). Yankees SS Derek Jeter is scheduled to address reporters about his last trip to the Trop at a news conference before the game.

 

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Rays to add 3: Colome, Franklin, Riefenhauser

UPDATE, 12:12: Maddon said Colome is likely to make two starts, but the Rays also want to see him out of the bullpen. Colome will be out of options next year and the Rays could use him in either role. With Colome and Nathan Karns, Maddon said the Rays will use "kind of" a six-man rotation. Each starter is likely to get two starts, with some wiggle room. ... Franklin will get to play, only at second base and primarily against right-handers. There will be a trickle down impact, with Ben Zobrist either playing more outfield or DH. ... Riefenhauser will pitch in relief.

DEVELOPING: With Triple-A Durham losing Saturday in the International League championship, the Rays are calling up three more players who will join them Monday in St. Petersburg: RHP Alex Colome, INF Nick Franklin, LHP C.J. Riefenhauser.

Colome will start Monday's game against the Yankees. He started the season suspended for a performance-enhancing drug violation, and was 7-6, 3.77 in 15 starts for the Bulls. He also made two appearances for the Rays. He last pitched Wednesday for the Bulls, lasting only 1 1/3 innings, allowing three hits and three runs. …

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For starters, Rays at Jays, with Archer changing up

Chris Archer will be on the mound for the Rays, encouraged by his coaches to experiment more with his changeup and different pitch sequences over his final starts as a building block for future success.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Chris Archer will be on the mound for the Rays, encouraged by his coaches to experiment more with his changeup and different pitch sequences over his final starts as a building block for future success.

UPDATE, 12:07: Maddon said his bullpen usage over the final two weeks will be determined on a daily basis as he doesn't want to use McGee and Boxberger too much down the stretch but will do so with the chance to win a game. .... Loney is out of the lineup due to the matchup with Buehrle but will be back in there Monday vs. Yankees LHP Chris Capuano.

Rays lineup:
Zobrist dh
Guyer lf
Longoria 3b
Myers rf
Forsythe 2b
Escobar ss
Rodriguez 1b
Hanigan c
Kiermaier cf
Archer p

Jays lineup:
Reyes ss
Bautista rf
Lind 1b
Encarnacion dh
Navarro c
Rasmus cf
Valencia 3b
Goins 2b
Gose lf
Buehrle p

DEVELOPING: After a sloppy loss on Saturday, the Rays are back on the field at Rogers Centre this afternoon trying to win the series from the Jays.

RHP Chris Archer will be on the mound for the Rays, encouraged by his coaches to experiment more with his changeup and different pitch sequences over his final starts as a building block for future success.

The Jays, still battling for a wild-card spot, moved up LHP Mark Buehrle, who is typically tough against the Rays, to start today.

Lineups when available.

 

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For starters, Rays at Jays, chasing knucklers

UPDATE, 12:29: The Rays are listing Monday's starter vs. the Yankees as TBA, so there would be a good chance RHP Alex Colome will come up from Triple-A to step in there.

Here are today's lineups, with a reminder there is no local TV for the Rays today:

Rays
Zobrist 2b
DeJesus dh
Longoria 3b
Loney 1b
Myers rf
Joyce lf
Escobar ss
Kiermaier cf
Molina c
Hellickson p

Jays
Reyes ss
Bautista rf
Lind 1b
Encarnacion dh
Valencia 3b
Thole c
Pillar lf
Goins 2b
Gose cf
Dickey p

DEVELOPING: After beating the Blue Jays 1-0 on Friday night behind RHP Nathan Karns' impressive Tampa Bay debut, the Rays are back on the field early today at the Rogers Centre.

RHP Jeremy Hellickson will be on the mound for the Rays, facing the Jays for the third time in his last five starts,

The bigger challenge is for the Rays hitters, as they take on knuckleballing nemesis R.A. Dickey, who limited them to two hits over seven innings on Sept. 2. They have had success at times against Dickey, whose overall record vs. the Rays is 5-5, 4.16 in 16 games.

Lineups when available.

 

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For starters, Rays at Jays, trying to bounce back

UPDATE, 6:08: Maddon said he was eager to see Karns, who had a season of vast inconsistency at Triple-A Durham this year, and would be pleased if he got the Rays through six innings, and anything beyond. ... Maddon spoke again about the disappointment and frustration of not being in the playoff race. ... The Jays have switched to LH Mark Buehrle as their Sunday starter rather than RH Marcus Stroman,

Jays lineup:
Reyes ss
Bautista rf
Encarnacion 1b
Lind dh
Navarro c
Valencia 3b
Pillar lf
Goins 2b
Gose cf
Happ p

UPDATE, 6:02: The Rays have Ben Zobrist in CF as they go with eight right-handed hitters against Happ tonight.

Rays lineup:
Zobrist cf
Guyer lf
Longoria 3b
Myers rf
Loney 1b
Escobar ss
Forsythe 2b
Hanigan c
Rodriguez dh
Karns p

DEVELOPING: After a staggering loss in New York on Thursday, when Alex Cobb took a no-hitter into the eighth and they lost 5-4 on a walkoff homer in the ninth, the Rays are in Toronto tonight to open a three-game series.

This is the second trip north of the border in three weeks for the Rays, and their third series with the Jays over that time, having been swept last week at the Trop. …

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