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For starters, Rays vs. Red Sox

17

September

Update 5:25 p.m. INF Sean Rodriguez said his fractured right hand had healed enough for a doctor to clear him to hit this morning, and he went through soft-toss and batting practice in the cage. Rodriguez hopes to be able to hit pre-game batting practice Tuesday, and manager Joe Maddon said Rodriguez could get a start in the near future.

*OF Sam Fuld got good news on his right hamstring, saying an MRI Monday morning revealed just a "moderate strain." Fuld said it was feeling better Monday, so he was "pretty encouraged," but just did treatment Monday. He said a meeting later that night with another team doctor could help give him a better idea on when he can do more baseball activities, but it appears he's still a few days away from returning.

*Maddon said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine hasn't contacted him or apologize for his comments weeks ago that Maddon always arrives for home games at 4 p.m. Maddon said that wouldn't be necessary, as he found the situation "humorous." For the record, Maddon showed up today at 3:03 p.m. and that's with getting a bike ride in as well.

*Maddon believes the Red Sox, whose September collapse last year helped propel the Rays to the postseason, will have some extra motivation to knock Tampa Bay out this time around, saying they'll have their "fangs out."

Update 5:20 p.m. The Rays lineup does not include 3B Evan Longoria, whom manager Joe Maddon said felt a little "heavy-legged" after the trip. Maddon said Longoria is available to pinch-hit or play defense later, and will likely play the rest of the series against the Red Sox.

Rays lineup
Jennings lf
Upton cf
Zobrist ss
Joyce rf
Scott dh
Keppinger 3b
Pena 1b
Roberts 2b
Molina c
Cobb rhp

Red Sox lineup
Ciriaco 3b
Ellsbury cf
PEdroia 2b
Ross rf
Loney 1b
Saltalamacchia dh
Lavarmway c
Podsednik lf
Iglesias ss
Cook rhp

Developing: The Rays, having tumbled to a disappointing 1-5 road trip, return to Tropicana Field to open a seven-game homestand against the Red Sox tonight.

Manager Joe Maddon acknowledged the AL East title is likely out of reach, as they are five behind the Yankees with 16 to play. But the Rays do have a shot at the second wild card, though they trail the Orioles by four games.

This would provide a big opportunity this week, with four games against a last-place Red Sox team and the Blue Jays at the Trop. But you've got to think - considering what happened last September - Boston would love nothing more than to spoil Tampa Bay's playoff chances.

RHP Alex Cobb, who is on an impressive roll, will start tonight for the Rays.

Lineups and more to come

-- JOE SMITH

joesmith@tampabay.com

 

[Last modified: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 12:39am]

    

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