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Lots going on ...



The net result of the flurry of moves today is that the bullpen just got a little less experienced, with Scott Dunn taking the place of the Jesus Colome, who was released, and the lineup got considerably weaker, with SS Julio Lugo going on the 15-day DL and the Rays signed veteran utility man Tomas Perez to share time at shortstop with Nick Green, rather than call-up top prospect B.J. Upton. Perez showed up during batting practice and Dunn, who is 27 but has pitched in only three major-league games, was expected to be in Baltimore by game time. The Rays said they just wanted to ""go in a different direction'' by releasing Colome, but there is no question he has frustrated team officials for years with his inconsistent pitching and frequent complaints that his arm hurts. Since being acquired from Oakland in July 200, Colome has gone 11-22 with five saves and a 4.73 ERA in 186 games for the Rays.

Manager Joe Maddon and executive vice president Andrew Friedman both tried to downplay the impact on the team of making this many changes this early in the season, by saying it's just part of the game. But Friedman admitted, ""This is definitely not the way we drew it up.''

With Lugo out, Maddon apparently will stick with Carl Crawford in the leadoff slot. The rest of Thursday's lineup has Jorge Cantu at second, Aubrey Huff at third, Jonny Gomes at DH, Travis Lee at first, Russell Branyan in right, Josh Paul catching, Joey Gathright in center and Nick Green at short.

The Rays also made a small trade that could pay off big down the road, acquiring righthanded pitcher Marcos Carvajal from Seattle. Carvajal, 21, pitched last season with the Rockies as a Rule 5 draft pick, then was traded to Seattle. The Rays will send him to Double-A for now, but expect him to eventually pitch in the big leagues. They gave up minor-league pitcher Jose De La Cruz.

The post-game comments Wednesday were interesting in that several of the hitters, most visibly Jorge Cantu, made it clear that they too blame the pitching for the team's first two losses. Cantu said: ""We're trying everything we can offensively to get us going, but we didn't have that support so far in these two games from our pitching. It needs to get better.''' Starter Seth McClung, on the other hand, shrugged off his poor effort as a "bad day at work.''

The Rays were to fly to Toronto after Thursday's game, then open a weekend series against the Blue Jays on Friday. And though it will be cold in Toronto, at least the Rogers Centre roof can be kept closed.

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


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