Rays ready for (regular-season) finale
The Rays are preparing for the final game of the season that isn't really the end, and their biggest questions remains who they will play - the Twins or White Sox.
That could be decided today, if the Twins win and the White Sox lose. In any other combination, the answer won't come until at least Monday, when the White Sox and Tigers would play a makeup game at 2 p.m. in Chicago. And depending on what happens then, the White Sox and Twins could have a one-game playoff on Tuesday afternoon in Chicago for the right to play the Rays.
The Rays are treating today's game somewhat like a spring training game. Manager Joe Maddon polled the regulars to see who wanted to play, and ended up resting C Dioner Navarro, SS Jason Bartlett (who's had a bit of a cold)and 1B Carlos Pena.
Starter James Shields will work only an inning or two, and then the relievers who want a tuneup will follow. Rookie John Jaso is making his first start behing the plate.
Also, LF Carl Crawford had another positive batting practice session before Sunday's game and will further test his surgically prepared right hand Monday in an instructional league game at 1 p.m. at the Naimoli minor-league complex in St. Petersburg. Crawford is optimisitic about returning to the lineup for Thursday's playoffs opener.
The Rays announced they will have workouts at 1 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday at the Trop.