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Upton, Aki injuries not considered serious

20

March

Rays centerfielder B.J. Upton left Thursday's game in the Indians in the first inning with a left tricep contusion suffered when he was hit by a pitch from Paul Byrd.

Upton underwent x-rays this afternoon and they were negative, with manager Joe Maddon saying he doesn't think the injury is "anything serious." The same goes with 2b Akinori Iwamura, who left the game in the third after feeling some back stiffness; Maddon said Aki noticed it during pre-game, but didn't make the coaching staff aware until after the game started.

Upton appeared to get hit in the left elbow, but he favored his left hand, grimacing in pain as he slowly walked to first base, with assistant trainer Paul Harker attending to him.

After a few moments on first base, Upton relented and walked off the field, and into the clubhouse, getting replaced by pinch runner Hector Gimenez. Said Maddon; "He'll be fine."

The injury comes at time when the Rays are already hit hard on the training table, with OF Rocco Baldelli and backup outfielder Ben Zobrist (broken left thumb) also unavailable. Ace LHP Scott Kazmir hasn't thrown in a week as he's taking his rehab from a left elbow strain cautiously.

With some of the outfielders out - and LF Carl Crawford and Cliff Floyd not making the trip - RF Jonny Gomes got some playing time in centerfield.

Upton was scheduled to play centerfield Thursday but was moved to designated hitter after manager Joe Maddon saw how heavy rain had made shallow centerfield "spongy." The grounds crew worked for hours in pre-game to squeegee and dry the surface with leaf blowers, to no avail. The Indians also scratched Grady Sizemore, possibly for a similar reason. 

-- JOE SMITH

joesmith@sptimes.com

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:34am]

    

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