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For starters, Rays vs. Mariners



Update 5:29 p.m. DH Luke Scott is headed for the 15-day DL with an oblique strain, though both he and the Rays hope that it will be a minimum stay.


"He's been swinging the bat great," manager Joe Maddon said. 

Scott's absence creates more opportunity for DH/OF Hideki Matsui, who will start at DH tonight. LHP Cesar Ramos has been recalled to bolster a bullpen that has been taxed this week, including the 14-inning win Friday. Ramos can work multiple innings.

*Maddon said OF Sam Fuld (right wrist surgery) is progressing well, and could rejoin the team during the Baltimore series. He will be re-evaluated after this weekend's Durham series.

*RHP Jeff Niemann threw his first bullpen session since breaking his right fibula, saying he felt great in a 25-pitch session (all fastballs). Niemann said the key was being able to push off his right leg, which he did at 50-75 percent, and was encouraged with how it all went. Niemann will throw another bullpen in a couple days, and is still looking at a return potentially sometime in August.

*Maddon acknowledged that this year's bullpen is "as good as it's been," in his tenure with the Rays.

*Here are the lineups

Rays lineup
Upton cf
Pena 1b
Zobrist 2b
Keppinger 3b
Joyce rf
Matsui dh
Jennings lf
Lobaton c
Rodriguez ss
Cobb rhp

Mariners lineup
Ackley 2b
Suzuki rf
wells lf
jaso c
seager 3b
saunders cf
smoak 1b
peguero dh
kawasaki ss
vargas lhp

Developing: The Rays, coming off their marathon, 4-3 win in 14-innings Friday night, will go for their third straight win tonight at Tropicana Field, hosting the Mariners again with Gavin DeGraw performing afterwards.

Rookie RHP Alex Cobb will get the start, saying he's made the necessary minor tweaks in his mechanics that cost him in his last outing, when he threw 50 percent of his pitches for strikes in just 3 1/3 innings.

It'll be interesting to see how DH Luke Scott feels today, considering he left last night's game in the 10th with back tightness. He had missed 17 games last month due to back tightness, but insists this injury is completely different and "minor."

The Rays bullpen has been used quite a bit this week, with both Fernando Rodney and J.P. Howell likely down tonight after each working two innings last night.


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[Last modified: Monday, August 20, 2012 12:39am]


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