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For starters, Rays vs. Pirates



UPDATE, 9:13: The Rays just went ahead in the eighth when they loaded the bases on a walk and two bunt singles, and Evan Longoria was hit by a pitch - glancing blow, don't worry - to force in a run, making it 3-2. Now it's 4-2 as Chris Richard just drew a bases loaded walk from Donnie Veal.

UPDATE, 8:38: Jason Isringhausen struggled a bit, allowing two hits and a run, and the score is tied 2-2 going to the bottom of the sixth.

UPDATE, 8:18: Troy Percival just ripped through another impressive inning. It's 2-1 Rays going to the bottom of the fifth.

]UPDATE, 8:00: Niemann has given up back to back doubles and the score is now 2-1 in the fourth.

UPDATE, 7:50: Adam Kennedy hit a massive two-run homer in the third as the Rays lead 2-0. Jeff Niemann has pitched well, but has allowed three hits.

UPDATE, 4:44: Manager Joe Maddon indicated the Rays are making some cuts today, with an announcement likely after batting practice.
And reading between the lines of what he said, it won't be a surprise if LHP David Price is among them. Asked specifically about Price's status, Maddon said: "We're still working on everything. We're talking to some guys today, I'm going to continue to talk to some people we'll give you guys an announcement a little bit later.''

And asked again about Price, Maddon said: "Every player that's in this camp wants to stay here. You talk to different guys as you send them out and of course they all want to stay here. That's everybody's desire - you don't want to be a minor-league baseball player you want to be a big-league baseball player. And David is. David is going to be a big part of our future whenever it is going to begin. The clock already kind of started last year. I'm not worried about David Price. He's going to be a big cornerstone in regard to our success in the future.''


Matt Joyce is scheduled to make his first appearance of the spring in the outfield on Thursday, starting in centerfield against the Tigers, Maddon said.

 2B Akinori Iwamura is expected to make his first appearance of the spring on Friday, and Maddon said he's planning to play the starting infield together - 1B Carlos Pena, Iwamura, SS Jason Bartlett and 3B Evan Longoria - for the first time on Saturday. "A nice little reunion,'' he said.

CF B.J. Upton will continue his rehab with another minor-league appearance on Thursday.

RHPs Matt Garza and Grant Balfour and LHP Brian Shouse threw in a minor-league intrasquad game Wednesday morning and all did well, Maddon said. Garza threw about 90 pitches.

Maddon will start using the regulars deeper into games this weekend, with the idea that they play eight or nine innings twice before the Rays head to Philadelphia for the final April 3-4 exhibitions.

- - -  -

The Rays appear to be making some cuts today.

Here is the Rays lineup for tonight:

Bartlett, ss
Crawford, lf
Longoria, 3b
Burrell, dh
Aybar, 1b
Zobrist, cf
Gross, rf
Riggans, c
Kennedy, 2b
Niemann, p

And for the Pirates ....

McCutchen, cf
Wilson, ss
Vazquez, 3b
Adam LaRoche, 1b
Monroe, lf
Moss, rf
Pearce, dh
Diaz, c
Cruz, 2b
Karstens, p

No surprise, but Jose Tabata is not on the Pirates travel squad.


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


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