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Rays-Yanks: Upton, Aki likely back Sunday



Update: 10:01 pm  The Rays, down 2-0 heading into the bottom of the ninth, nearly capped off a wild comeback.

Evan Longoria, in a marathon at-bat (10-plus pitches) ripped an RBI double to right-center to bring the Rays within 2-1. Then, Eric Hinske belted a drive that Maddon thought was gonna be a homer to center, but the wind caught it a bit and Yankees CF Gardner made the catch of the day to rob Hinske of at least extra bases (and a game-tying hit).

The Yankees win 2-1

Maddon raved about Sonnanstine, saying he made a very good case for himself joining the rotation with a "very, very impressive" performance (five scoreless innings, giving up just three hits to a tough group of Yankee regulars).

Update: 9:21 pm The score is still tied 0-0 in the eighth, with the Rays and Yanks continuing to sub out their regulars.

Update: 8:55 pm Sonnanstine finished a pretty strong outing, throwing five scoreless innings, giving up just three hits and two walks (with 2 Ks). He's put his best foot forward as Maddon said he could finalize the rotation by Saturday or Sunday.

RHP Grant Balfour, competing for the long bullpen spot with Scott Dohmann (among others), is now pitching.

Rays 0, Yankees 0

Update: 8:34 pm The Rays got a chance to face one of the game's best relievers in RHP Mariano Rivera, who pitched a scoreless fifth. Sonnanstine is still in for the Rays (Maddon said he planned to get him 50-75 pitches). And the game is still scoreless.

Update: 8:18 pm RHP Andy Sonnanstine is doing well in his start, getting through the first three innings unscathed. The game is tied 0-0, with Sonnanstine taking on the Yanks in the bottom of the fourth.

Update: 7:22 pm The Rays put runners in scoring position in the first, with Johnson singling and Crawford reaching on catcher's interference. But after Pena grounded into a double play - nearly beating the throw - Floyd struck out to end the threat.

Update: 7:00 pm In Maddon's pre-game chat, he said RHP James Shields did very well in his start today at the minor league complex. Starting for Durham against Scranton, Shields threw seven innings, giving up just one hit, one unearned run on two walks and seven Ks. 

CF B.J. Upton and 2B Akinori Iwamura, who each left Thursday's game early with injuries, said Friday afternoon they're doing better and could return to the lineup as early as Saturday against the Pirates.

But manager Joe Maddon said pre-game that he'll just hold them out an extra day until Sunday.

Upton, who was hit just above his left elbow with a pitch in the first inning, suffered a left triceps contusion, but said everything is fine. He said his hands were initially numb, since the ball struck around the ulnar nerve, but he figured out quickly that it wasn't a big deal.

Iwamura said his back felt a little stiff, but if today's game against the Yankees "was regular season, I'd (play)."

In other news updates, ace LHP Scott Kazmir said there's nothing new with his rehab from his left elbow strain. Though he planned to work inside today, including throwing into a sock and going for a run, he won't have a throwing session (other than playing catch). That makes it nine days since the last time he threw from the mound. Maddon said there's been some progress made, but there's still no timetable set.

With that, here's the lineup for tonight's game against the Yankees at Legends Field. Most of the Yankee regulars are here, including ARod, Jeter and Damon.

One thing to look at is tonight's starter, RHP Andy Sonnanstine, who is one of five candidates for three open rotation spots.


Johnson 2b

Crawford LF

Pena 1b

Floyd DH

Longoria 3b

Hinske RF

Bartlett SS

Weber CF

Paul C


Damon LF

Jeter SS

Abreu RF

Rodriguez 3B

Giambi 1b

Ensberg DH

Cano 2b

Moeller C

Cabrera 8

Rasner P

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:34am]


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