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Afternoon update: Rotation decision Tuesday, relievers close



The Rays will wait until Tuesday to announce their decision on the final spot in their rotation, which is expected to go to Jeff Niemann.

He will be on the mound today vs. the Twins, but it's not a matter of the Rays seeing him pitch one more time as manager Joe Maddon having a chance to talk with the other pitchers.

Also to be set is the order of the rotation behind opening day starter James Shields. David Price is the likely No. 2 starter, but the Rays seem to be deciding between Jeremy Hellickson and Matt Moore for the third game, pondering the advantage of starting a lefty against the Yankees.

Among other items:

* Maddon said the decision on the final bullpen spot, which is between Burke Badenhop and Brandon Gomes, is also coming soon. They want to take one more look at Gomes, who has not yet regained his full velocity coming off off-season back surgery.

* B.J. Upton was feeling better today and was to take part in an extended workout in Port Charlotte, though no date is set for a return to games. SS Reid Brignac and OF Desmond Jennings are also progressing, though Maddon didn't sound committed to Jennings playing in the major-league game Tuesday, for which he is on the travel squad.

* Shields will pitch in a minor-league game on Tuesday rather than face the divisional opponent Red Sox, with Kyle Farnsworth starting.


[Last modified: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 12:40am]


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