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For starters, Rays vs Tigers; Davis debuts, and Jackson returns



Update 12:40 p.m. Upton did some running on the field pre-game, testing his sprained left ankle, saying it felt "so-so," with the goal of him being ready to start Monday's night game in New York.

Update 12:15 p.m. Manager Joe Maddon said CF B.J. Upton's sprained left ankle is feeling better, and there's a chance he could start one of Monday's doubleheader games in New York.

*Maddon also talked about LHP J.P. Howell, whose struggles continued Saturday night. Maddon said part of it is that Howell has been used so much the past two seasons, and so he's going to monitor his workload the rest of the way, making sure any arm fatigue doesn't lead to bigger problems. Howell is not available tonight.

Howell said he feels physically fine, but said everybody is battling fatigue this time of year. He did say when fatigue comes up, it impacts his mechanics.

But with the case of Howell and RHP Grant Balfour, Maddon pointed out it's also been a case of them not getting ahead of hitters as much, which has led to some issues.

*Maddon said 3-to-4 guys will possibly play in both games of the doubleheader tommorrow, with Reid Brignac starting one game at shortstop.


The Rays will finish off their three-game series with the Tigers - and their 1-4 homestand - with a Sunday matinee here at the Trop, which features an intriguing pitching matchup.

RHP Wade Davis, one of the Rays top prospects, will make his much-anticipated major league debut. His counterpart, Tigers RHP Edwin Jackson, faces his former team for the first time since getting traded in the offseason for OF Matt Joyce.

Jackson said he's looking forward to pitching against the Rays, saying it's like high school all over again, since he'll be facing so many friends.

For Tampa Bay, a win would be big, considering they lost seven of their last 10, and head out on a tough road trip tonight to New York, Boston and Baltimore, hoping to keep their wild card hopes alive. They've missed out on opportunities the past two nights to make up a game on Boston, which lost two straight, and are six games back.

Rays lineup:
Bartlett, ss
Crawford, lf
Zobrist, rf
Pena, 1b
Burrell, dh
Longoria, 3b
Iwamura, 2b
Navarro, c
Perez, cf
Davis, p

Tigers lineup

Granderson, cf
Santiago, 2b
Guillen, lf
Cabrera, 1b
Huff, dh
Ordonez, rf
Inge, 3b
Laird, c
Everett, ss
Jackson, p


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[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:51am]


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