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Another bite of the apple?

Update, 6:19 The Rays just said they will have some type of annoucement at 6:45 p.m., but didn't say anything else.

RHP James Shields will be on the mound when the Rays seek a third straight win over the Yankees and try to hang on to first place in the AL East.

The Yankees, 19-21 and 4 1/2 games behind the Rays, held a 30-minute closed door meeting before batting practice. The Rays did too, but it was a previously scheduled session feature legendary boxing trainer Angelo Dundee, who was the guest of manager Joe Maddon. Boxer Hector Camacho, who is making a comeback, was also on the field and in the clubhouse.

The only real decision in the Rays lineup was playing Gabe Gross over Eric Hinske in rightfield. Maddon had two reasons - Hinske has struggled against Yankees starter Mike Mussina, and Gross gives the Rays better defense.

Also, C Dioner Navarro will get Thursday's afternoon game off, with Shawn Riggans scheduled to start. And SS Jason Bartlet and 2B Akinori Iwamura are each likely to get a day off on the upcoming road trip.

And the Rays agreed to let the Pirates keep RHP Evan Meek, in return for cash considerations. Meek had been a Rule 5 pick who was designated for assignment and after he cleared waivers the Pirates had to first offer him back to the Rays, who could have had him back for $25,000.

OF Nathan Haynes cleared waivers and the Rays are waiting to hear if he will accept an assignment to   Triple-A Durham.

Earlier Wednesday, the Rays announced they had reinstated RHP Al Reyes from the DL and designated for assignment RHP Scott Dohmann.

And, in a related matter, the Rays moved the announcement of the proposed stadium financing plan from noon to 3 p.m. and changed the location from Tropicana Field to St. Petersburg City Hall.

The lineups:

Iwamura, 2b
Crawford, lf
Upton, cf
Pena, 1b
Longoria, 3b
Floyd, dh
Navarro, c
Gross, rf
Bartlett, ss
Shields, p

Damon, lf
Abreu, rf
Jeter, ss
Giambi, 1b
Matsui, dh
Cano, 2b
Cabrera, cf
Ensberg, 3b
Molina, c
Mussina, p

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:35am]


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