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For starters, Rays vs A's

The Rays, boasting the best record in baseball, are coming off a sweep of the Mariners and will host the A's to begin a three-game series tonight at Tropicana Field.


LHP David Price will be on the mound, having won his last three starts and seeming to get into a groove.

CF B.J. Upton returned to the lineup tonight and will start in center, having left Wednesday's game early with quad tightness.

Manager Joe Maddon said the lineup was helped picked by the Tampa Chamber of Commerce at their lunch today. They are 1-0, having already picked a winner last year against the Twins.

Former Rays RHP Grant Balfour and OF Jonny Gomes, now with the A's, said they were excited to be back to see old friends and teammates. Balfour's wife, Angie, his 11-month old daughter, Raegan and two dogs are living in his Clearwater place, so the return to the area is extra special.

Most of the talk pre-game was about the freak knee injury to Yankees legendary closer Mariano Rivera, who hurt himself while shagging fly balls in batting practice. Rivera told the New York media today he plans on coming back. Maddon said he doesn't expect anyone to stop shagging fly balls because of this incident, saying it's part of the game, with pitchers doing it to keep in shape and stay in the game.

Maddon on Rivera: "I think he's the player most responsible for their success over the last 15 years."

In other pre-game news, the Rays promoted former first-round pick OF Josh Sale from extended spring to Bowling Green.

Rays lineup
Jennings lf
Upton cf
Pena 1b
Joyce rf
Scott dh
Zobrist 2b
Rhymes 3b
Molina c
Rodriguez ss
Price lhp

A's lineup
Weeks 2b
Pennington ss
Reddick rf
Cespedes cf
Gomes dh
Inge 3b
Suzuki c
Kaaihue 1b
Taylor lf

[Last modified: Sunday, June 3, 2012 12:40am]


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