Rays at A's, in the clouds
UPDATE, 3:15: Also of note, Cuban OF/1B Leslie Anderson will start his career on Monday with Class A Charlotte. Anderson, 28, had a career .320 average as a nine-year pro in Cuba and depending on how he progresses could be a September call-up for the Rays.
Also, J.P. Howell continues to progress in his recovery from left shoulder weakness and is scheduled to throw batting practice for the first time on Friday when the Rays return to the Trop, then progress to a simulated game and a minor-league assignment with plans for a late May/early June return.
Maddon also said OF Matt Joyce is making progress with the rehab of his elbow, but there is no timetable for his return.
UPDATE, 3:05: The Rays are looking to win another series today in Oakland, with James Shields on the mound. As expected, manager Joe Maddon has Willy Aybar at DH and in, what wasn't clear ahead of time, Dioner Navarro behind the plate.
The big concern for the Rays is their recent decline in offense. They have hit only .207 over their last eight games, though have managed to win five of them. Maddon said this morning his bigger concern is the increasing frequency in which the hitters are expanding their strike zones and swinging at bad pitches. Carlos Pena, whose average is down to .189 is chief among them, but Maddon said he hasn't considered dropping him out of the cleanup spot. Pena may, however, get a day off during the Anaheim series. Also, No. 3 hitter Ben Zobrist still doesn't have a home run. Maddon remains confident the overall offense will improve.
Even coming off the Saturday loss, the Rays still have the best road record, 13-2, since the 2002 Red Sox and Mariners.
The weather is kind of blah, with morning rains, heavy cloud coverage and the chance of a few more showers this afternoon, but nothing that should significantly disrupt the game.
DEVELOPING: Rays lineup: