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Ready for Delmon, Twins



UPDATE, 3:55 pm The Rays win 7-1 after LHP David Price closes the Twins out with a 1-2-3 ninth.

The Rays are now 8-3 and prepare to host the Yankees Wednesday at Progress Energy Park.

The big star of the day? INF Elliot Johnson, who went 3-for-5 with a homer and two RBI.

UPDATE, 3:02 pm RHP Jae Kuk Ryu, whose name was badly mispronounced by the PA announcer, comes in to pitch for the Rays in the top of the eighth. The Rays are up 5-0 thanks to the pinch-hit homer from Evan Longoria in the top half of the inning.

LHP David Price is warming up a little bit, so we may see him serve as a closer in this one.

UPDATE, 2:55 pm Evan Longoria entered in the eighth as a pinch hitter for Gomes and quickly delivered. Longoria hit an 0-1 pitch over the wall in left center, off the scoreboard, for his first homer of the spring.

He hit it off RHP Juan Rincon

Rays 5, Twins 0

UPDATE, 2:37 pm Kurt Birkins got into a bit of a jam in the sixth, with runners on first and second, but struck out Craig Monroe to end the threat.

Joe Nathan is in to pitch for the Twins.

Rays 4, Twins 0

UPDATE, 2:28 pm Dioner Navarro hits a two-out homer in the sixth to add to the Rays lead.

Kurt Birkins is in to pitch for the Rays, following Shields' five innings of scoreless work.

Joel Guzman has moved from leftfield to third base. Richard is at first, with Perez and Weber in the outfield.

Rays 4, Twins 0

UPDATE, 2:19 pm Shields comes out for the fifth inning and retires the side.

As Maddon said in pre-game, Shields "is ready to go. He's ready."

Looks like Kurt Birkins is warming up in the Rays bullpen and could start the sixth.

Rays 3, Twins 0

UPDATE, 2:11 pm Aybar knocks in his second run of the day, on a single in the fifth. But he gets caught in a rundown between first and second and gets tagged out.

Rays 3, Twins 0

UPDATE, 2:08 pm Shields wrapped up a strong, four-inning performance. The righthander, scheduled to throw opening day if Kazmir isn't ready, scattered four hits over four innings, battling his way out of brief spurts of trouble.

Now, it'll be interesting to see when top pick LHP David Price gets to make his second spring appearance. He could be throwing two innings today, its just a matter of when.

Rays 2, Twins 0

UPDATE, 1:43 pm The Rays get on the board in the third. Elliot Johnson started the rally with a leadoff single, played well by Young in LF to keep it a single. Aybar then doubled in Johnson to give the Rays a 1-0 lead. After a Gomes walk, Eric Hinske rips a single to rightfield, scoring Aybar.

There was a throw home by Craig Monroe ...........but it was offline and Aybar strolled home (collision-free).

Rays 2, Twins 0

UPDATE, 1:30 pm Shields gets himself out of another jam in the second. With runners on first and third and one out, Shields struck out Brian Buscher. On the same play, C Dioner Navarro threw out Jaosn Kubel trying to steal second for an inning-ending double-play

Rays 0, Twins 0

UPDATE, 1:14 pm In his first at bat against his former team, Delmon Young grounded out to Willy Aybar at third base.

It should be noted that Young hustled down to first base before getting thrown out

For RHP James Shields, he gave up a leadoff double but settled down from there, getting the next three out.

Rays 0, Twins 0 (top second)

UPDATE, 1:07 pm Former Ray Delmon Young, starting in LF for the Twins, makes a putout in the first inning on a fly ball by Jonny Gomes.

But the biggest catch came on a blooper down the rightfield line by Eric Hinske. Twins RF Craig Monroe raced to near the line for a diving, inning-ending grab.

Coming up this inning is Span, Punto and Young.

UPDATE, 1:00 pm As the game gets started, a few updates from pre-game meeting with Joe Maddon.

Maddon said LHP Scott Kazmir is still scheduled to throw live batting practice Thursday, and the target date for his first spring start could be Sunday against the Tigers....With SS Ben Zobrist out a month with a broken left thumb, Maddon said it opens up opportunities for others. Zobrist said this morning he hopes to be ready opening day, but Maddon said INF Andy Cannizaro is a leading candidate to fill that backup role if need be.

Maddon did say that the whole Yankees squabble stemming from the home-plate collision Saturday is over. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s long [put to] bed. They said what they wanted to say and we said what we wanted to say. It’s about philosophical differences, and I would never, ever try to tell another team or another manager what to do or how to do it. ... For me, it’s over.

UPDATE, 11:38 PM INF Ben Zobrist said to hold off on that idea he's headed for the disabled list. Zobrist had a hefty cast on his broken left thumb Tuesday morning but said he thinks he could be ready for the March 31 opener. The cast comes off in about two weeks, and Zobrist expects to quickly get back up to speed, planning to spend the down time staying in shape and working on fundamentals. Meanwhile, INF Andy Cannizaro, who would be the likely replacement, said he is ready for any opportunity and will do what he can to help the team.

The Rays lineup for Tuesday's game against the Twins doesn't have too many big names as most of the frontliners are staying back in St. Petersburg.

But the Twins lineup features one significant piece, former Ray Delmon Young, who bats third in front of Justin Morneau.

Johnson, 2b
Aybar, 3b
Gomes, dh
Hinske, 1b
Guzman, lf
(John) Rodriguez, cf
Navarro, c
Brignac, ss
Ruggiano, rf
James Shields will start, with top pick LHP David Price among the scheduled relievers.

Span, cf
Punto, 2b
young, lf
morneau, 1b
monroe, rf

kubel, dh
redmond, c
buscher, 3b
everett, ss

Livan Hernandez will start for the Twins.


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


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