For starters, Rays vs. Mariners
Update 5:20 p.m. Though the Rays are coming off a five-game losing streak, they were in good spirits today as they try to bounce back.
SS Yunel Escobar lightened the mood by wearing a sign that read - "We need to win" - around his neck, drawing some laughs. "That was funny," CF Desmond Jennings said.
The Rays got some good news on the injury front:
*RHP Alex Cobb said he expects to make his anticipated return to the rotation Thursday, saying he's both relieved and excited to get back on the same mound where he was struck in the head with a line drive June 15. It's been a longer-than-expected recovery, with a blister slowing his rehab process, but Cobb said he's feeling no symptoms, and will not feel any nerves stepping on the mound again. Cobb believes he can get back to the form he had earlier in the season, when LHP David Price said he pitched like one of the best pitchers in baseball.
Cobb said he's also exchanged text messages with Jays LHP J.A. Happ - who was struck in the head with a line drive at the Trop - sharing their stories and mutual concern over each other. Cobb is happy to hear Happ will be pitching this weekend at the Trop, and will always root for him.
*Maddon said he'll know more later today or tomorrow on LHP Matt Moore, who is expected to rejoin the rotation this weekend.
*CF Desmond Jennings said the fractured left middle finger is feeling better, with the swelling going down, and he was cleared on Monday to begin holding a bat. He expects to begin swinging the next couple days, and hopes to return to the lineup the day he's eligible, next Monday, "That's the plan."
*New LHP Wesley Wright, acquired from the Astros Monday, said he was surprised to get traded, having feelings of both sadness and excitement when he found out. Wright is pumped to join a pennant race. Wright, an Auburn fan, already made himself at home in the loose clubhouse by saying the battle cry of "War Eagles" to Jennings, a Bama fan.
Wright said one of his favorite memories in his career was pitching at the Trop in 2008 and striking out then-Ray Carl Crawford in a big moment. He hopes to be part of more with Tampa Bay. Maddon said Wright will mostly face lefties, but can pitch through righties, and could be a "very, very important" part of the pen going forward.
Update 5:18 p.m. The Rays lineup includes Ben Zobrist back on top.
Developing: The Rays, having returned home from a disappointing 0-5 west coast road trip, will open up a six-game homestand by hosting the Mariners tonight.
It's been another rough season for Seattle (54-63), and Tampa Bay is fortunate it won't face the Mariners top two pitchers, Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma.
RHP Chris Archer will start for the Rays, believing the right forearm tightness that cut his last outing short will not impact him tonight.
Should be getting some injury updates today, with RHP Alex Cobb expected to rejoin the rotation on Thursday, and both LHP Matt Moore and CF Desmond Jennings working their way back. RHP Jesse Crain (shoulder) is playing catch with head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield in the outfield now.
There will also be a new Ray in the house, as LHP reliever Wesley Wright joins the team after getting acquired from Houston Monday.
Lineups, and more, to come.