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For starters, Rays vs. Red Sox



UPDATE, 4:06: Ray Sadler hit a ball over the leftfield boardwalk for a two-run homer as the Rays expanded their lead to 14-7.

UPDATE, 3:59: Non-roster OF Jon Weber is having a huge day, following up his three-run double with a three-run home run in the eighth as the Rays have taken a 13-7 lead.

UPDATE, 3:32: While Grant Balfour was talking in the clubhouse, the Sox scored three in the seventh to close within 9-5. Balfour said his arm was a bit bruised and tight, but he did not expect there to be anything serious wrong or any major disruption in his pitching schedule.

UPDATE, 2:47: The Rays announced Balfour has a right arm contusion that is not serious.

UPDATE, 2:41
Shields sent all went well and felt well as he threw 22 pitches, and lobbied pitching coach Jim Hickey for a third inning, which was declined. Grant Balfour also made his debut, and took a line drive off the right forearm with no apparent injury. The Rays lead 4-2 in the sixth.

UPDATE, 1:32: Rays have scored three runs off Boston knuckleballer Tim Wakefield in the second inning, taking advantage of an error by LF Jeff Bailey and a double by Chris Richard. Rays lead 4-1. Shields is done for the day, with Brian Shouse taking over.

UPDATE, 1:27: James Shields worked quickly through his first two innings, allowing two hits and a run that scored on a groundout following a wild pitch. The Rays scored in the first without a hit as Jason Bartlett was hit by a pitch, stole second then went to third and scored on groundouts.

UPDATE, 11:41: Upton did well, surprising himself by hitting a few balls out of the park, said he remains optimistic about being ready to start the season. Troy Percival threw a 35-pitch batting practice sesssion, said everything went well, and that he, too, will be ready for opening day. As for Matt Joyce, sounds like there won't be any official word until Sunday.

UPDATE, 10:14: B.J. Upton is taking batting practice with the full team for the first time, another step in his recovery from left shoulder surgery. Manager Joe Maddon says there is still no specific timetable, with the plan is for Upton to ready at, or shortly after, the start of the regular season.

Also, RHP Wade Davis makes what "most likely" will be his last exhibition start on Sunday, with the team sticking with its plans to send him back to minor league camp despite what has been an impressive showing this spring.

And Maddon said Matt Joyce actually is feeling pretty good, but he needed to talk to head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield for a full update.

Also, here is the Red Sox lineup:
Ellsbury, cf
Lowrie, 3b
Carter, 1b
Wilkerson, rf
Bailey, lf
McAnulty, dh
Bard, c
Green, 2b
Diaz, ss
Wakefield, p

UPDATE, 9:07:
Not sure where this is headed but it doesn't sound encouraging as OF Matt Joyce, sidelined all spring with a right calf problem, said he's seen four or five doctors and there's going to be some type of announcement on his condition in the next couple days.

- - - -

The Rays have another one of those spring training meetings this morning, this one with the Baseball Assistance Team. As they waited, many were watching teammate Akinori Iwamura playing in Japan's WBC game. Here is the lineup posted in the clubhouse, with starter James Shields, and reliever Grant Balfour, set to make their spring debuts:

Bartlett, ss
Crawford, lf
Kapler, rf
Gross, dh
Kennedy, 2b
Zobrist, cf
Riggans, c
Richard, 1b
Olmedo, 3b
Shields, rhp

Also, it looks like relievers Joe Nelson and Dan Wheeler will make their spring debuts on Monday.

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


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