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For starters, Rays vs Jays; Pena plans to play Friday



Update 4:17 p.m. The Rays lose 6-3 to the Jays.

Manager Joe Maddon said they played "great" the first six innings, but struggled the final three (when they gave up six runs). Hammel was impressive in his four innings, and Carlos Hernandez came out well after two.

There were some good defensive plays, two of which by Evan Longoria, who also had two doubles. The offensive star was Carl Crawford, who had two triples and said he finally feels "explosive" again.

Update 3:38 p.m. RHP Chad Orvella came in for the ninth, making his second appearance of the spring after missing the entire 2008 season with shoulder surgery.

Orvella has given up two runs, including an RBI single, and now the Rays are down 6-3.

Update 3:21 p.m. The Jays have made a comeback, scoring two in the seventh and two in the eighth. RHP Winston Abreu is in now, with the Jays threatening with a runner on third.

Jays 4, Rays 3

Update 2:37 p.m. Rays up 3-0 in the sixth, heading down to clubhouse to chat with Hammel.

Update 2:22 p.m. Crawford just hit his second triple of the game, this time it was a liner to right-center, which got past a charging centerfielder and went nearly to the wall.

Longoria followed up with his second double of the game to knock Crawford in.

3-0 Rays in the bottom of the fifth.

Update 2:14 p.m. LH Carlos Hernandez, another pitcher trying to compete for the fifth spot in the rotation, just walked onto the mound for the fifth inning.

The lefty, who is pitching in the major leagues this spring for the first time in three years following shoulder surgery, was impressive in the Rays exhibition opener last week, and is also scheduled to get a start on Friday.

Update 2:00 p.m. Longoria has made two of the best defensive plays today so far.

One inning after making a nice sliding catch on a popped-up bunt, Longoria leaped to snag a Brian Jeroloman liner, then doubled off Scott Rolen at second to end the inning.

Jason Hammel actually came out for the fourth - probably since he hadn't thrown a ton of pitches in the first three - and has now tossed four scorless innings (three hits).

Rays are up 2-0 still.

Update 1:50 p.m. Burrell just crushed a long line drive to leftfield, which on many other not-so-windy days would have been a homer. The fly ball was caught at the wall, but it scored Crawford on the sacrifice fly.

Rays up 2-0 after three innings.

Update 1:45 p.m. The Rays just got on the board in the bottom of the third, thanks to an RBI triple by Carl Crawford.

Crawford seemed back to his typical speedy self legging out the triple on a liner down the rightfield line, having said his offseason conditioning program worked out pretty well. Crawford's hit knocked in Jason Bartlett, who continued his strong spring at the plate with a double down the leftfield line.

Rays up 1-0.

Update 1:43 p.m. Hammel finished up three strong innings, and local product Jesse Litsch threw two scorless frames for the Jays.

Update 1:31 p.m. RHP Jason Hammel has thrown a clean two innings so far, and his throwing the ball well. He's coming out for a third.

The Rays had an offensive threat going in the first, with Evan Longoria ripping a double down the leftfield line, and Pat Burrell drawing a two-out walk. But Ben Zobrist was barely thrown out after almost beatin gout an infield single.

Update 1:16 p.m. We're underway here at Charlotte Sports Park. No rain, but clouds overhead and a chill in the air.

RHP Jason Hammel, vying for the fifth starter spot, had a 1-2-3 inning to open the game.

The Jays countered with local product RHP Jesse Litsch, an ex-Ray bat boy and Dixie Hollins standout.

Update 11:42 a.m. Manager Joe Maddon said the plan right now is for 1B Carlos Pena to play in Friday's game in Bradenton against the Pirates.

Pena said he's been getting antsy to play, but is glad they're taking their time so he can be fully healed from abdominal surgery.

Also, the starting pitchers for the next few days will go Hammel (today), Davis (monday), Niemann (Tuesday), Talbot (Wednesday), Hernandez (Friday)

The Rays went out to stretch, but only lasted a couple minutes as the dark clouds turned to steady rain at Charlotte Sports Park.

They'll do some pre-game work in the cage, and eventually plan to play the Jays. As long as Mother Nature complies.

Most of the Rays regulars are in the starting lineup, with Pat Burrell getting a start in rightfield.

RHP Jason Hammel, vying for the fifth spot in the rotation, gets the start, and LHP Carlos Hernandez is also slated to pitch.

Bartlett, ss
Crawford, lf
Longoria, 3b
Burrell, rf
Zobrist, 2b
Navarro, c
Kapler, dh
Ensberg, 1b
Perez, cf

Hammel, rhp

Lydon, cf
Adams, 2b
Lind, dh
Rolen, 3b
Lane, lf
Jeroloman, c

Loewen, rf
Cooper, 1b
McDonald, ss

Litsch, rhp


[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:45am]


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