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The day after (again) ....

Not that he has a lot of other choices anyway, but manager Joe Maddon said he will continue to use Ruddy Lugo as his primary eighth-inning setup man despite consecutive poor outings. Maddon likes the way Lugo approaches the task and - the last two games aside - how he has done it. He also likes how Lugo doesn't let a bad outing deter him or dent his confidence, which are esstential charecteristics for a late-inning reliever. But that has to be balanced by Lugo's last two outings in which he has allowed eight of his last 10 batters to reach base.

Maddon tweaked the lineup a bit for Thursday's game against White Sox righthander Javier Vazquez, starting Russ Branyan in rightfield and sliding Damon Hollins to center in place of Joey Gathright, who made mistakes at the plate and in centerfield on Wednesday. Plus, Gathright is hitting .204.

The Rays start interleague play on Friday with a weekend series against the Marlins, having gone 3-15 against NL teams last year and 15-3 the year before. While interleague play is a big deal in places like Chicago and New York, it won't create much, if any, buzz at Tropicana Field.

OF Rocco Baldelli, out since late March with a strained left hamstring, played in another extended spring training game on Thursday with no problems. If all stays well, he will leave on Monday for a two- or three-week rehab assignment with Triple-A Durham.

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:30am]


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