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For starters: Rays vs. Orioles

The Rays (29-22) begin a three-game series tonight with Baltimore tied with the Orioles (29-22) atop the AL East. Both teams are reeling. The Rays were swept three games by the Chicago White Sox at Tropicana Field while the O's have lost five in a role and are without right fielder Nick Markakis, who will miss 3-4 weeks with a fractured right wrist.

Rays third baseman Evan Longoria is on pace to return before the July All-Star break, manager Joe Maddon said. Longoria will accompany the team on their upcoming six-game road trip to New York for a three-game series against the Yankees and Miami for a weekend series against the Marlins June 8-10.

"He's doing a lot of work right now,'' Maddon said. "The big thing when you go out for the rehab is that you can play nine innings and be able to stand out there and feel comfortable. You can cut the bases and it doesn't hurt. I'm not worried about the bat, hitting or fielding ground balls. He's doing a lot of that stuff now. So the big thing would be, "how does my leg feel by being out there for three hours standing around. That part of the rehab shouldn't be that long.''

Meanwhile, leftfielder Desmond Jennings played in a rehab assignment in Class-A Charlotte Thursday and with the triple-A Durham Bulls Friday. He is expected to rejoin the team in New York for Tuesday's game against the Yankees.

Here is the starting lineup for the Rays against the Orioles tonight:

Carlos Pena, 1B

B.J. Upton, CF

Matt Joyce, RF

Ben Zobrist, 2B

Luke Scott DH

Sean Rodriguez, 3B

Hideki Matsui, LF

Jose Molina, C

Elliot Johnson, SS

Pitcher David Price (6-3, 2.71).






[Last modified: Sunday, July 1, 2012 12:39am]


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