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Aki excited, B.J. out again

Rays 3B Akinori Iwamura is careful to point out that he doesn't consider it a big deal to face Japanese pitchers in the major leagues because the other big-league pitchers are so good.

But after the second of three pre-game media sessions Tuesday, Iwamura seemed to acknowledge the hype being given to his meeting with Boston's Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Iwamura, who is 2-for-8 against Matsuzaka with a home run in previous meetings in Japan, said the hype made the showdown "a little bit unusual" and that he felt like the was "playing for the All-Star Game.''

Meanwhile B.J. Upton's return looks to be delayed again, this time because he has a fever and won't play tonight at Triple-A Durham, and manager Joe Maddon said it now seems unlikely Upton will make it back before the All-Star break which starts after Sunday's game. Upton has been out with a strained left quad since leaving the June 8 game.

"It's pretty much putting the kibosh on it,'' Maddon said.

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:31am]


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