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Update, 6:25 p.m. Manager Joe Maddon said he had no updates on the trade situation and that he hadn't spoken to executive VP Andrew Friedman in several days. One player they apparently won's be getting is Mark Teixeira, who reportedly was traded to the Angels, and for Seminole High product Casey Kotchman.

Maddon did talk optimisitically about OF Rocco Baldelli, who continues to make an impressive comeback at Double-A Montgomery. "He's still reporting good,'' Maddon said.

Baldelli, out all season dealing with a rare muscle fatigue condition, is scheduled to play with the Biscuits through Friday, and is being used there in situations that he could be used in for the Rays - hitting against lefthanded pitchers as the DH, playing parts of games in rightfield, pinch-hitting and staying in a game.  "We are taking a good look at him right now and he has been responding very well,'' Maddon said. "Seems to be that the recovery is a little bit quicker. So we'll see.''

Maddon said Baldelli has become more of a factor than expected. "I could not have told you I would have thought he'd be doing this well at this particular juncture,'' Maddon said. "He's moved it along pretty quickly recently.''

Maddon said the biggest concern at this point is that Baldelli has a setback. And if he doesn't have any this week, the Rays seem to be seriously considering his return. "I think as he continues to progress this way we can start thinking that,'' Maddon said. "It's the old setback. If he can avoid the setbacks, I think we can continue to be optimistic that he's going to return, and I would have to say relatively soon.''

Maddon said Baldelli wouldn't need to move up first to Triple-A Durham. "He would come here whenever that moment is" and get readjusted to major-league pitching, Maddon said.

Update, 4:16 p.m.: Saturday's game, which features a post-game concert by LL Cool J, is already sold out. That's the earliest the Rays have sold out a game in a while, possibly all the way back to the 1998 inaugural game.

The Rays may have played well on Monday as manager Joe Maddon said, but they still lost, and will seek to reverse that tonight against though against another tough pitcher in Toronto ace Roy Halladay.

Having scored only 48 runs in their last 18 games, the Rays will try again tonight with the same lineup:
Iwamura, 2b
Upton, cf
Crawford, lf
Longoria, 3b
Pena, 1b
Floyd, dh
Navarro, c
Hinske, rf
Bartlett, ss
Garza, p

Also on Saturday, Plant City High product Kenny Rogers will start for Detroit that night, against Andy Sonnanstine.

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:37am]


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