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Rays readying for possible party



Update 6:09 pm: CF B.J. Upton, who missed 10 games with strained left quadriceps, made his return Saturday in the fifth inning as a pinch-hitter. Batting with the bases loaded and one out, Upton grounded into an inning-ending double play.

But Upton took the field in the next inning, back in his usual spot in centerfield. Manager Joe Maddon has said he expects Upton to return to the starting lineup Sunday.

Buzz is already building at Tropicana Field, with fans lined up as the gates opened.

CF B.J. Upton is still not back in the lineup, though he is expected to be available to pinch-hit.

The Tampa Bay chapter of the BBWAA will present its annual awards before the game - the Paul C. Smith Champion Award, the Outstanding Rookie and the MVP.

LHP Scott Kazmir, who made the bold statements on the first day of spring training that the Rays were good enough to be in the playoffs, will be on the mound today.

The Rays lineup:

Iwamura, 2b
Bartlett, ss
Pena, 1b
Longoria, 3b
Floyd, dh
Navarro, c
Gross, rf
HInske, lf
Perez, cf
Kazmir, p

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:39am]


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