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For starters, Rays vs. Twins, 1:05 p.m.



Update 12:24 p.m. Rays manager Joe Maddon said there could be some news on potential roster moves later today or early tommorrow, but "not yet." he indicated executive VP Andrew Friedman has been looking at outside options, but they also could be internal ones.

*RHP Jeff Niemann will start for the Rays tommorrow against the Future Rays, with LHP Matt Moore, LHP J.P. Howell and RHP Wade Davis pitching against the big-league club. Maddon said the reasoning was more out of protection for his hitters, having his pitchers throw to them, as opposed to Class-A pitchers who may not be as comfortable in that environment.

Developing: The Rays will wrap up their Grapefruit League schedule today with one last trip to Fort Myers, their ninth meeting with the Twins.

Nearly the entire Tampa Bay bullpen will be appearing today, with the focus on RHP Fernando Rodney, who is pitching for the first time since bruising his right forearm on a line drive last Wednesday. LHP Jake McGee, RHP Burke Badenhop, RHP Kyle Farnsworth and RHP Joel Peralta are also on the trip.

RHP Jeremy Hellickson will make his final tuneup start before the regular season. There are several Rays regulars going, including DH Luke Scott and Sean Rodriguez and Reid Brignac, who are both still competing for the starting shortstop job.

In injury updates, RHP Jeff Niemann said the blister on his right middle finger is no longer an issue, and he's ready to pitch Wednesday at the Trop in his final tuneup. "It's almost normal."

C Jose Lobaton is back and in the lineup. He arrived late yesterday morning to tend to his fiancee, who has battling a kidney infection. She's fine now, he says, and he's ready to go.

Rays lineup vs Twins:

Scott dh
Johnson 3b
Rodriguez 2b
Joyce lf
Lobaton c
Brignac ss
Salazar cf
Wunderlich 1b
Morrison rf
Hellickson p


-- JOE SMITH, Times Staff Writer

[Last modified: Thursday, May 3, 2012 12:40am]


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