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For starters, Rays vs. Royals; Longoria leaves game

Update 9:33 The Rays are saying Evan Longoria left Tuesday's game due to tightness in his left hamstring, saying he's "day-to-day."

Update 9:16 pm. Gabe Gross is on deck preparing to pinch-hit for Evan Longoria.

Longoria, who made his second straight start at DH due to soreness in his arm, was seen grabbing his left leg (hamstring?) after his last-at bat, grounding out in the sixth.

More details as they come.

Update 5:16 pm. Maddon said one reason Longoria is at DH again is that his throwing arm has been a little sore, so this gives him a little break (he was also DH on Sunday, and Monday off). But Maddon also emphasized it wasn't a serious thing, and it also helps the lineup with Pat Burrell still on the DL.

He said if Burrell was available, he probably wouldn't be resting Longoria at DH, but this gives him an opportunity to do so.

In other injury news:

*Maddon said they have been encouraged with the progress of LHP Scott Kazmir, saying his leg is feeling better, and that they've worked through some things mechanically. Maddon said they've set up a program for Kazmir to start working his way back to the Rays, which could include more bullpen sessions this week, maybe a simulated game.

They haven't gotten as far as a minor league assignment yet, but that's entirely possible. Kazmir told the Times Sunday he's come a long way in terms of putting everything together, and feels he's getting closer to coming back.

*DH Pat Burrell (neck stifness) is feeling better, with a better range of motion, and Maddon said Burrell will do some more hitting this week, from work off a tee in the cage, and moving it up from there to batting practice, and getting a better look early next week on a program to get him back here. 

With Burrell, Maddon also said a minor league assignment is possible, especially with him being out for so long.

Update 4 pm.  Evan Longoria, who is at designated hitter for the second straight game, said he's feeling fine physically, and that it's' just the Rays trying to make up for absence of DH Pat Burrell, and get at-bats for Willy Aybar.

The Rays, coming off a rare day off, open a three game series with the Royals tonight.

OF Matt Joyce gets the start in rightfield, and RHP Andy Sonnanstine is on the mound as he tries to bounce back from his recent struggles.

Rays lineup
Upton cf
Crawford lf
Longoria dh
Pena 1b
Aybar 3b
Zobrist 2b
Joyce rf
Navarro c'
Brignac ss

-- JOE SMITH, Times Staff Writer

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:47am]


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