Ready for Lou, Cubs; suspensions pending
Update, 7:15 It looks like the Rays will have 2B Akinori Iwamura in the lineup for most of the next week, as he is set to appeal his three-game suspension that was to start Wednesday, with a hearing scheduled for June 24 or 25.
That is important because the Rays could be without SS Jason Bartlett during that stretch, as his wife is expected to give birth any day. At the latest, she would have labor induced on the 25th, manager Joe Maddon said. Being without both Iwamura and Bartlett, even for a game or two, would be severe hardship, and could force the Rays to call up another middle infielder.
RHP Edwin Jackson is also expected to appeal his suspension, which was to start Thursday, which will allow him to make his next start as scheduled on Saturday, and then perhaps drop his appeal and serve his five days.
One thing that is for sure is that LF Carl Crawford will return to the lineup on Wednesday, having served his four games.
Lou Piniella felt at home today at the Trop, as the former Rays manager reflected on his time in Tampa Bay, and being back.
And, of course, he delivered some classic lines.
When a horde of about 30 media members, tv cameras circled him in the visiting dugout, Piniella was asked if the following was similar to the early Devil Rays days.
"When I left, the crowd was about this big," Piniella quipped.
Piniella was then asked, since he said you can learn a lot from losing - and it can make you a better manager.
"Like I said when I was here, I didn't want to get too damn smart."
And when asked about what reception he expected to receive from the Trop crowd?
"I don't know," he said. "I've left enough tickets, so there should be a few cheers, anyway."
The Rays welcome the Cubs for a three-game series, and Piniella is joined by another ex-Ray manager having his own homecoming, Larry Rothschild.
Here are the lineups: