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For starters, Rays vs Yankees, with no Pena



Update 12:44 p.m: Ben Zobrist said his stiff back feels "significantly better" today, and he hopes he can return Tuesday at the earliest, and Thursday at the latest.


Zobrist hasn't done any baseball activities on the field, or swung a bat, but doesn't think he'll need to land on the disabled list. He said if all goes well, he can try hitting off the tee Monday, and maybe be ready during the Twins series.

*Manager Joe Maddon said Carlos Pena (right foot soreness) felt less sore than he thought he would today, and while he won't be ready to play by tommorrow, he said decisions on whether to put Zobrist or Pena on the DL wouldn't come until Monday. "They're tweener injuries," he said.

*Maddon said they haven't decided what corresponding move to make Monday when top prospect Jeremy Hellickson makes his first big league start. What complicates matters, is that Hellickson will be a one-and-done start, just helping give rest to the Rays other starters. And anyone they send down couldn't immediately be called back up after Hellickson's outing.

*Sean Rodriguez will get his first start at first base. He said until Saturday, when he replaced Pena during the game, he hadn't played first base since the instructional leagues. Rodriguez said he tried borrowing Zobrist's glove, but it didn't feel right, so he used Willy Aybar's instead.

But Rodriguez said he feels comfortable at first base, and Maddon thought he handled himself well there.

Developing: The Rays will cap off a three-game series with the Yankees today, and Carlos Pena - who left Saturday's game with a sore foot - is not in the lineup.

Neither Pena or Ben Zobrist (back stiffness) has been spotted in the clubhouse. But neither has Dan Johnson, who was expected to get called up as a contingency plan in case the Rays put a player on the disabled list.

And no Alex Rodriguez in the lineup for the Yankees, so homer No. 600 may have to wait.

Rays lineup
Upton cf
crawford lf
Longoria 3b
Aybar dh
Rodriguez 1b
Bartlett ss
Shoppach c
Kapler rf
Brignac 2b
Shields rhp

[Last modified: Tuesday, August 31, 2010 12:15am]


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