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For starters, Rays vs. A's

The Rays will get a boost today in the return of pitcher Alex Cobb, who missed over a month with an oblique strain.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

The Rays will get a boost today in the return of pitcher Alex Cobb, who missed over a month with an oblique strain.

Update 2:43 p.m.  Manager Joe Maddon said he's keeping struggling Evan Longoria at the No. 2 spot for now to continue to take pressure off him. Maddon wants him to not try to "drive the bus" and just be a passenger, working his way back.

Longoria, for his part, was out early again to hit in RHP Jeremy Hellickson's live BP.

*Hellickson (elbow surgery) said he was actually nervous this morning, knowing he'd face hitters for the first time since last year's ALDS. But Hellickson said he felt good after his 35 pitch session, mixing in some fastballs, changeups and curveballs. Hellickson plans to throw another live BP Sunday, and hopes to advance to simulated game next week. Still hoping to return before end of June.

*INF Ben Zobrist (disclocated thumb) said his recovery is going well, and he plans to return next Friday in Boston. Zobrist took ground balls today pre-game, saying it felt good, and was able to do more than he thought he would. Zobrist is looking to get some at-bats in some rehab games for Class-A Charlotte early next week, and would be "surprised" if he's not back next Friday.


Rays lineup
DeJesus dh
Longoria 3b
Joyce lf
Myers rf
Loney 1b
Jennings cf
Figueroa 2b
Escobar ss
Molina c
Cobb rhp

A's
Crisp cf
Jaso c
Donaldson dh
Moss 1b
Cespedes lf
Lowrie ss
Reddick rf
Callaspo 3b
Sogard 2b
Gray rhp

 

Developing: The Rays, coming off a strange 3-2 loss last night to the A's, will try to avoid a sweep in a matinee today at Tropicana Field.

Reminder today's game is not on TV, only on 620-AM, or follow my updates on Twitter @TBTimes_JSmith.

Tampa Bay threw a combined one-hitter Wednesday night, but lost for the first time in franchise history when doing so. The Rays have lost four straight, and 11 of 15, to drop nine games under. 500.

They will get a boost today in the return of RHP Alex Cobb, who missed over a month with an oblique strain. Cobb is expected to bolster an injury-plagued rotation, and will be opposed today by A's starter Sonny Gray.

RHP Jeremy Hellickson will take another big step in his recovery from elbow surgery, throwing a simulated game at the Trop around 1:45 p.m. He's been encouraged by his progress, hoping to return before the All-Star break.

Considering the twist manager Joe Maddon gave the lineup Wednesday - batting Wil Myers first and Evan Longoria second - it'll be interesting what he decides to do today.

Late last night, OF Kevin Kiermaier was sent back to Triple-A Durham, despite having made another good impression.

Lineups, and more, to come.

[Last modified: Thursday, May 22, 2014 2:49pm]

    

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