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Rays acquire OF Hudson for Triple-A depth

The Rays acquired OF Kyle Hudson from Texas (for future considerations) to provide some outfield depth at Triple-A Durham.

Hudson, 25, played briefly for Baltimore last season after a September call-up. He hit .296 and stole 41 bases in the minors, splitting his season between Class A Frederick, Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk.

He is a 5-11, 175-pound lefthanded hitter who was a fourth-round pick in 2008.


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Video: Salazar on chance to make team

OF Jeff Salazar on his chances to make the Rays roster.

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Feliciano, Rhymes sent out; Salazar remains

Jeff Salazar became the current leader for the Rays final roster spot when Jesus Felciano and Will Rhymes were reassigned after Saturday's game. Manager Joe Maddon said Salazar is the "last man standing," but is not necessarily on the team, pending another acquisition. Also still an option is prospect Brandon Guyer.Full Story

Brignac's special guest


Toka and T.J. Andrews, with Reid Brignac. Photo by Marc Topkin.

T.J. Andrews, a soon-to-be 12-year-old, was a special guest of SS Reid Brignac on Saturday, marking the one-year anniversary of a horrible accident in which he lost four fingers on his left hand in an explosion.

Andrews met Brignac when he was hospitalized in Tampa last year following the April 1 accident and has remained in touch. He and his mom, Toka, are attending today's game and Sunday's.

Andrews, who still plays Little League after learning to throw righthanded, said spending the anniversary at the ballpark was a good thing.

"I like that,'' he said. "It's a pleasure that they let me come out here.''


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Maddon in his "custom" shorts

When Rays manager Joe Maddon didn't follow the rest of the team in wearing shorts for Saturday's pre-game workout, veteran RHP James Shields took matters into his own hands., trimming Maddon's baseball pants.


Photos by Marc Topkin.




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Niemann not expecting to miss regular-season start

RHP Jeff Niemann said the large bloodied blister on the tip of his right middle finger is "a small annoyance" but should not cause him to miss his first regular-season start on April 11 or 12.

Niemann said the blister first surfaced after his last start on Monday at Fort Myers, and he came directly back to the Port Charlotte complex so the trainers could start draining it, but it has been slow to heal. On Tuesday, he said it was "kind of swollen up, kind of infected almost like I couldn't really even move my finger.''

Niemann has been playing catch with the finger taped, and hopes to throw off the mound on Sunday, but obviously doesn't have the feel for the ball he had during the spring. The healing process can require patience.

"The new skin is really soft, it's essentially a scab right now, so anytime I try to throw the last thing we want to do is have it crap or rip again, because that would just kind of put us back at square one,'' he said. "And because this is like a really big one compared to what we usually have to deal with, we just have to be kind of careful with it.'' …

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For starters, Rays vs. Red Sox, with Davis starting

UPDATE, 11:07: The Red Sox sent a lineup with only a few recognizable names, which likely would not meet the MLB rule to include four regulars. Maddon said he had no problem with it, but the rule is designed for the benefit of the fans, who pay for the tickets. Former Rays C Kelly Shoppach is the biggest name in the lineup.

Sox lineup:
Ciriaco SS
Spears 2B
McDonald LF
Gomez 1B
Shoppach C
Repko C
Butler DH
Nava RF
Hee 3B
Ohlendorf rhp

UPDATE, 9:06: The Rays changed plans and will have Wade Davis start today, and even though it will be a short relief-style outing, you do wonder if it's a hedge against Jeff Niemann's blister getting worse.

And here is the lineup:
Jennings cf
Scott dh
Longoria 3b
Zobrist rf
Pena 1b
Joyce lf
Keppinger 2b
Lobaton c
S-Rod ss
Davis p

BREAKING: The Rays have a late report time today as they host the Red Sox in a game on Sun Sports and 620-AM radio.

With RHP Jeff Niemann sidelined by a blister, the Rays are planning a bullpen game, with closer Kyle Farnsworth expected to start.

RHP Wade Davis, who lost out to Niemann for the final spot in the rotation, is scheduled for his first appearance out of the bullpen today.

Lineups shortly.


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Video: Marc Topkin's daily recap

Times beat writer Marc Topkin with his daily recap.

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Video: Moore on spring start

Rookie LHP Matt Moore on his six-inning outing vs. the Pirates on March 30.

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Rays play to 3-3 tie with Pirates

Rookie LHP Matt Moore worked six solid innings - allowing one run on three hits - as the Rays played to a 3-3 tie with the Pirates.

The game was called after nine innings because the Pirates didn't have any more pitching.

The Rays trailed 1-0 on the homer Moore allowed to Casey McGehee, then went up 3-1 on a bases-clearing double by C Jose Molina.

Reliever Bure Badenhop gave it right back, allowoing a two-run homer to Matt Hague.

Non-roster RHP Romulo Sanchez had another solid inning, drawing praise from manager Joe Maddon.


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Bush placed on restricted list

The Rays moved RHP Matt Bush off the 40-man roster and onto the restricted list today. Bush remains jailed on DUI charges related to the March 22 SUV accident. The Rays now can add a player to the roster.Full Story

Niemann to miss start due to blister

Jeff Niemann will skip his scheduled start against the Red Sox due to a blister.

Niemann recently won the final spot in the rotation over Wade Davis, but isn't scheduled for his first regular-season start until April 11 or 12. At this point, the Rays are saying they don't expect the blister to be an issue then, though they are not certain when he will resume throwing. The Rays are saying only that the blister is on his right hand.

The Rays will use the bullpen to work Saturday's game, with Kyle Farnsworth the likely starter. Wade Davis will see his first action out of the bullpen.

Also, manager Joe Maddon said RHP Fernando Rodney is still swollen and sore from being hit by a line drive on Wednesday and there is no date for his return to the mound but he should be ready to start the season.



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Thursday: Chat live with Marc Topkin, 12:30

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For starters, Rays at Pirates, part 5

UPDATE, 1:15: The Rays went down quickly in the first. There's no Rays TV or radio today. For updates, follow on Twitter on @TBTimes_Rays.

UPDATE, 8:16: Rays lineup:

Jennings cf
Scott dh
Longoria 3b
Zobrist rf
Pena 1b
Joyce lf
Keppinger 2b
Molina c
Brignac ss
Moore p

BREAKING: The Rays are headed off to Bradenton to play the Pirates for the fifth and final time of the spring.

So far, that's been a good thing for the Rays as four of their eight exhibition wins are against Pittsburgh.

Rookie LHP Matt Moore, named to the No. 4 spot in the rotation, is expected to start and work deep into the game for the Rays, though he has been battling a cold all week.

Most of the regulars are expected to make the trip and play.

Lineups shortly.


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Video: Joe Smith on the Rays-Phillies game

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