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For starters, Rays vs White Sox, going for a sweep with Damon back



UPDATE, 4:31  Johnny Damon said his bruised left ring finger feels better, and he's excited to return to the lineup. He admitted he'll have to deal with some pain tolerance to start, but manager Joe Maddon said he should be good to play on back-to-back days.


*3B Evan Longoria (oblique) hit off the tee for the first time since the injury and was encouraged, saying it was a huge improvement over last week. He's still on the same timetable for a late April return.

*1B Casey Kotchman makes another start at first base - having hit .375 in the five games he's started - with Maddon saying he's playing so well (including defensively), making it difficult to take him out of the lineup. Part of him playing so often, however, is that Dan Johnson has missed two games with a sore left wrist, but he's feeling better now.

*Matt Joyce, who has multiple hits in six of his last nine games, said he's feeling confident at the plate, having made some adjustments in spring in terms of shortening his swing. Maddon said the fact Joyce has gone the other way, to leftfield, has really been a factor as well.

UPDATE, 3:15: Johnny Damon is back in the Rays lineup for the first time since Sunday.

Here is the lineup:
Fuld lf
Damon dh
Joyce rf
Lopez 3b
Zobrist 2b
Upton cf
Kotchman 1b
Jaso c
Brignac ss
Niemann p

DEVELOPING: The Rays will go for their first ever four-game sweep of the White Sox tonight, having taken the first three games at Tropicana Field.

It's been a great series for Tampa Bay, which has led every inning but one, and have won eight of its last nine games. With a win, and the Rays algo go over .500 for the first time this season.

RHP Jeff Niemann will get the start on the mound, hoping to right himself after some early struggles this season. A key will be some mechanical adjustments, which help him to keep that downward angle on his pitches. RHP Gavin Floyd will pitch for Chicago.

3B Evan Longoria (oblique) is out here early on the field doing some rehab work with assistant athletic trainer Paul Harker, doing some agility drills, and using a harness for resistance training.

White Sox lineup
Pierre lf
Vizquel 2b
Quentin rf
Konerko 1b
Dunn dh
Rios cf
Pierzynski c
Ramirez ss
Teahen 3b
Floyd p


[Last modified: Saturday, May 21, 2011 12:15am]


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