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Zobrist says it was "painfully obvious" Quintana threw at him

Tampa Bay Rays 2B/RF Ben Zobrist said it was "painfully obvious," White Sox LHP Jose Quintana was trying to throw at him in the fourth inning Tuesday, an event that led to Quintana getting ejected and both dugouts warned.

“It was two feet behind me,” Zobrist said. “I was just smirking, like, ‘You think pitchers can hit their spots, they miss by quite a bit sometimes.’”

Zobrist believed it had something to do with White Sox C A.J. Pierzynski getting hit in the back by a pitch from RHP Alex Cobb the previous inning. Zobrist had taken issue with Pierzynski for his slide into second base in Tuesday's game, when he said the veteran catcher clipped him in the left ankle with his cleat in an attempt to break up a double play.

“I didn’t think there was a play at first base and I was on the very back of the bag and he went out of his way to come take his cleat on my ankle,” Zobrist said. “I just let him know I didn’t think it was necessary.”

However, manager Joe Maddon said he didn't direct any of his players to retaliate Wednesday, and Cobb said his plunking of Pierzynski wasn't on purpose.

"I was just trying to go fastball in and yanked it a little bit," Cobb said. …

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Photo Gallery: White Sox 4, Rays 3


Images of the Tampa Bay Rays' loss to the Chicago White Sox

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Video: Rays post game

Ben Zobrist on wild pitch.

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White Sox LHP Quintana tossed, both dugouts warned in 4th inning

White Sox LHP Jose Quintana was ejected from Wednesday's game in the fourth inning after throwing behind Rays rightfielder Ben Zobrist.

Home plate umpire Mark Wegner then warned both benches, with tempers apparently flaring.

The back-and-forth seems to stem from an incident in Tuesday's game, when White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski slid hard through the second base bag, where Zobrist was. Rays RHP Alex Cobb hit Pierzynski with a pitch in the back in the third.

So when Quintana threw a pitch behind the legs of Zobrist in his fourth-inning at-bat, home plate umpire Mark Wegner quickly tossed Quintana. Zobrist appeared to laugh it off, while Pierzynski and White Sox manager Robin Ventura argued with Wegner.

The game was delayed until White Sox RHP Nate Jones could warm up and enter to pitch.



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For starters: Rays vs. White Sox

The Rays will try to avoid a sweep from the White Sox today in a matinee at Tropicana Field.

RHP Alex Cobb will be on the mound, trying to win his third consecutive start since getting called up from Triple-A to replace injured RHP Jeff Niemann.

DH/OF Hideki Matsui, who hit a two-run homer in his Rays debut Tuesday, is not in the lineup today against LHP Jose Quintana.

In injury news, OF Desmond Jennings (left knee sprain) passed his final test -- running the bases and sliding today -- and will start a rehab assignment Thursday in Port Charlotte, and then move on to Durham Friday. Jennings said he hopes to rejoin the Rays Tuesday in New York.

Rays lineup
Pena 1b
Upton cf
Joyce lf
Zobrist rf
Scott dh
Rodriguez 2b
Sutton 3b
Molina c
Johnson ss
Cobb rhp

White Sox lineup
De Aza cf
Beckham 2b
Dunn 1b
Konerko dh
Rios rf
Pierzynski c
Viciedo lf
Ramirez ss
Hudson 3b
Quintana lhp

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Grantland's Pierce: Rays are 'the most fun team in baseball'

"More than a few baseball teams behave as though, sometime in February, a federal court in either Florida or Arizona has sentenced them to play 162 baseball games and to home confinement in America's luxury hotels," Charles P. Pierce writes for, a website on sports and American culture featuring some of the country's top sportswriters. "Since the Soviet Union fell, there are no more miserably unhappy places on earth than unhappy baseball clubhouses."

Not so for the Rays, who Pierce calls a "giddy caravan of goofballs without an apparent care in the world" — a first-place giddy caravan of goofballs, he notes. …

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Video: Hideki Matsui post game

Hideki Matsui on his first Rays game.

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For starters, Rays vs White Sox, with Matsui in lineup

The Rays had a busy afternoon, with DH/OF Hideki Matsui joining them at Tropicana Field, and the veteran is in the starting lineup in leftfield against the White Sox.

Nearly 30 members of the Japanese media surrounded the dugout for an hour and a half, awaiting Matsui's first pre-game appearance on the field, with the Rays welcoming him to the clubhouse afterwards with their typical celebration as if he hit a walk-off homer

Matsui said he was very happy to get the call, and is ready for whatever role the Rays have for him. Manager Joe Maddon said Matsui will bounce around between DH, the outfield and as a pinch-hitter, with his professionalism and leadership expected to be a boost in the clubhouse.

Matsui, 37, had signed a minor league deal with the Rays April 30 with no guarantees of making it back to the majors. He reported to extended spring training, and played 13 games for Triple-A Durham, riding buses and all, saying it was "great experience." Matsui said he didn't have a timetable for how long it took, saying it was just a matter of getting into some games. …

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Rays make Matsui move official; Vogt optioned to Triple-A Durham

The Rays made it official Tuesday, selecting DH/OF Hideki Matsui from Triple-A Durham, and optioning C Stephen Vogt to make room.

Matsui, 37, is going to join the Rays today at Tropicana Field for their game against the White Sox, and could be in the lineup as Chicago is starting RHP Philip Humber.

Matsui, who signed a minor league deal with the Rays April 30, first reported to extended spring and then played 13 games for Triple-A Durham, hitting .170 with no homers and four RBI.

Matsui, a two-time All-Star, could share time at DH with Luke Scott, play some corner outfield or serve as a pinch-hitter off the bench.

To make room on the 40-man roster, OF Brandon Guyer (left shoulder surgery) was placed on the 60-day disabled list.



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Reminder: Chat with Gary Shelton today at 12:30

Want to talk about the Rays' series against the White Sox? The expected callup of Hideki Matsui? The Bucs' offseason workouts? The Kellen Winslow trade/Dallas Clark signing? The NHL or NBA playoffs? Whatever's on your mind, join Times sports columnist Gary Shelton for a live chat today, from 12:30-1:30 p.m. Can't make it? Leave a question in the "Comments'' area below, then check back afterward to replay the chat.

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Hideki Matsui set to join Rays Tuesday, wear No. 35

UPDATE, 11:04: Matsui has worn No. 55 his entire career, but that number is taken with the Rays (by Matt Moore) so Matsui is expected to wear No. 35. And that was his choice. .. Also, unless there is another undisclosed injury issue, the most likely candidate to be send down to make room for Matsui is OF/C Stephen Vogt, a lefty hitter who has hardly been used during his latest recall. To make room on the 40-man roster, it would seem the Rays would move OF Brandon Guyer, who is having season-ending shoulder surgery on Thursday, from the 15- to the 60-day disabled list.  --- Marc Topkin

BREAKING: Matsui Mania is coming to Tropicana Field.

The Rays are expected to call up designated hitter/outfielder Hideki Matsui from Triple-A Durham, with the veteran left-handed hitter scheduled to join them for Tuesday's game against the White Sox.

Tampa Bay will make a corresponding roster move Tuesday.

Matsui, 37, signed a minor league deal with the Rays April 30 with no guarantees he’d make it back to the majors. Matsui, a two-time All-Star and former World Series MVP, reported to extended spring in Port Charlotte before playing 13 games for the Bulls, hitting .170 with no homers and four RBI. …

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Video: Matt Moore postgame.

Matt Moore on Monday's loss to the White Sox.

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Photo gallery: White Sox 2, Rays 1


Images of the Tampa Bay Rays' loss to the Chicago White Sox

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Rays lose 2-1 to White Sox

Despite a strong outing by rookie lefthander Matt Moore, the Rays lost 2-1 to the White Sox Monday before a Memorial Day crowd of 22,227 at Tropicana Field.

The Rays simply couldn't crack White Sox lefty Chris Sale, who stole the show by setting a Tropicana Field record with 15 strikeouts, a career-high. He allowed just three hits over 7 1/3 innings.  

Moore delivered arguably his best start of the year, allowing just two runs and four hits over a season-high seven innings. Moore did give up the lead in the sixth, on a mammoth two-run blast by White Sox first baseman Adam Dunn.

Catcher Jose Lobaton, activated from the disabled list before the game, knocked in the Rays only run, an RBI single in the fourth inning. Rays manager Joe Maddon put out a very different lineup, resting Matt Joyce, Luke Scott and Carlos Pena (who entered the game in the 7th). Joyce and Scott both pinch-hit in the ninth, but to no avail.

The Rays fell to 28-20, and will face the White Sox again Tuesday at the Trop.



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For starters, Rays vs. White Sox

The Rays return home from an eventful - and emotional - weekend in Boston to start a three-game series with the White Sox.

They made a move before the game, activating C Jose Lobaton (sore right shoulder) off the disabled list, and optioning C Chris Gimenez to Triple-A Durham. Lobaton, who was put on the DL April 15, said he was excited to be back, considering he was thinking originally it'd just be a week, and "felt" like a year. Lobaton said he's been throwing well, and while he was struggling a little offensively at Triple-A Durham, he feels good. He will be the designated hitter today.

Maddon said they just need to get Lobaton out there often so he can be more consistent with the bat. Maddon said Gimenez did really well in his stint with the Rays, he just has to work on more situational hitting aspects down with the Bulls. …

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