Reyes apologizes; Niemann called up, Longoria next?
Update 7:22 p.m. With 3B Willy Aybar's health a question, it's worth noting that touted prospect Evan Longoria is not in the lineup tonight for Triple-A Durham (and INF Joel Guzman is), fueling speculation Longoria may soon get called up for his much-anticipated debut.
The Rays haven't confirmed anything yet - they were awaiting Aybar's MRI results before making any moves - but if Guzman was indeed the choice, he'd likely not be playing in the game in Durham tonight...
The Rays welcome the Orioles, fresh off a double-header last night in Texas, for a three-game set starting tonight at the Trop.
There were some pre-game news and notes:
*Reliever Al Reyes met with the assembled media for about 30 seconds prior to batting practice, apologizing to his team, the organization and fans for his involvement in a late-night incident in South Tampa last night. Manager Joe Maddon said it was an unfortunate, isolated incident, adding that he doesn't believe Reyes will be disciplined by the organization - and the reliever is available to pitch tonight.
*The Rays announced that RHP Jeff Niemann, a former first-round pick and one of the final cuts at camp, will start Sunday in place of the injured RHP Matt Garza. Niemann is scheduled to be here sometime tonight.
*Maddon said the club is still concerned over the status of 3B Willy Aybar, scratched from last night's game due to soreness in his left hamstring. The team was planning on putting him through a few tests today, and are awaiting results from a Friday MRI. There is the possibility he could land on the 15-day DL, which means touted prospect Evan Longoria could get the call...
*Ace LHP Scott Kazmir threw a second successful batting practice session, throwing 42-pitches to several hitters. If all feels well tomorrow, they'll stick with the plan to get him in an extended spring game on Tuesday.
Interesting setup for the BP session, with RF Rocco Baldelli taking the first cuts at Kazmir. On the first pitch, Baldelli hit a liner to left-center, which impressed Maddon. Maddon believes that was Baldelli's baseball activity as he's battled with a fatigue disorder, but there's no further update on Baldelli's rehab.
C Dioner Navarro, nursing cuts on his right hand, served as catcher for Kazmir in the batting practice session. He caught, but did not throw. Though, on a couple occasions, Navarro said he caught himself winding up to throw it back to Kaz. That, however, will have to wait.
With that said, here's the lineups:
-- JOE SMITH