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Did it work ....

The Devil Rays felt much better about themselves offensively after scoring a season-high 10 runs and getting 12 hits on Tuesday against the White Sox. But manager Joe Maddon said you can't say for sure that they are out of their weeks-long offensive slump until you see how they do over the next couple days. Hitting can be about confidence, however, and the Rays seemed to be feeling better about themselves.

The converse may be true about the bullpen though, as the Rays nearly had a meltdown of classic proportions. A 10-1 eighth-inning lead should pretty much mean the game is over, with the relievers coming in, throwing strikes and letting the batters get themselves out. But the four Rays who struggled through the 55-pitch eighth inning couldn't really do much right until closer Tyler Walker - whom Maddon didn't want to use in the eighth inning - came on to quiet down the Sox.

The bullpen may be a little bare for Wednesday's game, though Shawn Camp is fresh and could be among the first choices. The Rays could also use Doug Waechter, who is on temporary loan until returning to the rotation for a Saturday start.

Most of the pre-game buzz Wednesday had to do with Scott Kazmir's strong pitching performance on Tuesday, and with the presence of Bucs wide receiver Joey Galloway, who took batting practice with the Rays.

Jonny Gomes is back in rightfield for Wednesday's game, a sign that his once-sore right shoulder is feeling better. By using Gomes in right, Maddon is able to get switch-hitter Greg Norton into the lineup as the DH while keeping slick-fielding Travis Lee at first base.

Rocco Baldelli, out since late March with a strained left hamstring, played in an extended spring training game at the minor-league complex, and he played rightfield, which could be a sign of things to come when he does return. Of more immediate concern are plans to send him to Triple-A Durham early next week for a two- to three-week rehab assignment.

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


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