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For starters, Rays vs. Braves

15

June

Update 4:30 p.m. C Dioner Navarro said he's good to go now, with his stiff neck no longer bothering him. He said he took a cortisone shot Sunday, and after the off-day, felt a lot better.

He took early batting practice today and said he'll be in the bullpen during the game, adding he's ready to catch a nine-inning game if needed.

*RHP Rafael Soriano made a quick trip to the Braves clubhouse, visiting with some former teammates and manager Bobby Cox, who joked that with Soriano being perfect on the season, he hopes not to see him this series.

Soriano quipped back, "We'll see what happens."

Update 4:28 p.m. The Rays lineup looks pretty normal, with John Jaso back in the leadoff spot and behind the plate.

Rays lineup
Jaso c
Crawford lf
Longoria 3b
Pena 1b
Zobrist rf
Upton cf
Rodriguez 2b
Brignac ss
Price, lhp

The Rays will open a three-game series here tonight against the first-place Braves, and it looks like there's already some good news on the field for them.

C Dioner Navarro, who has been out with a stiff neck since Thursday, is on the field for early batting practice, a good sign he's feeling better. He's out there with Justin Ruggiano, Willy Aybar and Hank Blalock.

LHP David Price will start tonight for the Rays, facing a team in the Braves that he grew up watching.

There's already been some buzz around here with the news that Braves veteran third baseman Chipper Jones is expected to discuss his future with management today.

The Braves, having won 14 of their last 20, sound confident heading into this series.

"Obviously (the Rays are) one of the best teams in the other league," Braves right-hander Tim Hudson told MLB.com. "So yeah, it's going to be a good challenge for us. But I don't think we're a pushover either. If they think they're going to come in and walk all over us, they're going to have a little, 'Oh [no]' moment.

"I think everybody in here understands what kind of team we have and how good we are. I don't think there's a team in baseball that we can't beat."

But the Rays clearly have the Braves respect.

"I think they're one of the more intriguing teams to watch," Jones told MLB.com. "They've got the star power, a cast of solid players and it's all molded by (manager Joe) Maddon. I don't know him that well, but it seems like he's doing down there what Bobby has done here and what (Twins manager Ron) Gardenhire has done in Minnesota. That's a pretty lofty compliment, and he deserves it.

"He's got everybody on the same page down there. They've won an American League East title and put themselves in a position to compete for a World (Series) championship year in and year out. That's what we've all done around here."
 

[Last modified: Thursday, July 15, 2010 12:15am]

    

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