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For starters, Rays vs. Royals, trying to win one

UPDATE, 11:39: There is some risk for the Rays in terms of late game moves by having both catchers in the lineup, but the idea was to include Arencibia's bat and also give Cabrera a day off. ... Talked with Don Wakamatsu, the Royals bench coach who was runner-up to Cash for the Rays job, and he said he enjoyed the process and felt the team made the right choice based on where they were. ... Rays are hoping to avoid their first season series sweep of more than six games.

DEVELOPING: Having been schooled again by the AL-best Royals on Saturday and losing for the sixth time, the Rays take this field this afternoon trying to avoid a season series sweep.

RHP Nathan Karns, coming off a rough start, will be on the mound for the Rays. LHP Danny Duffy, who has been pitching well, starts for the Royals.

Rays manager Kevin Cash expressed concern after Saturday's game about the heavy usage of his bullpen, as their starters have failed to get through five innings four times in the last five games, but no moves were planned.

Here are the lineups, with the Rays putting both catchers in the game, something Cash had said he is reluctant to do, as J.P. Arencibia is the DH: …

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For starters, Rays vs. Royals, trying to bounce back

UPDATE, 4:06: Cash said they have been talking about September call-ups, with a few expected on Tuesday (Sept. 1) and others after Triple-A Durham's season ends on Sept. 7. He said most will be players who were here earlier, though acknowledged that one possibility is LHP Blake Snell, who has had a tremendous run through the minor leagues. ... OF Brandon Guyer on Friday tied the team record in being hit by a pitch for the 18th time this season, and said it was the one that hurt the most.

DEVELOPING: After losing yet another close game, the Rays take on the AL-best Royals again tonight with RHP Jake Odorizzi on the mound.

The Royals are starting RHP Kris Medlen.

There is no batting practice today for the Rays due to a season-ticket holdewr event on the field.

Here are the lineups:

RAYS
Sizemore lf,
Nava rf,
Longoria 3b,
Jaso dh,
Forsythe 2b,
Cabrera ss,
Loney 1b,
Kiermaier cf,
Rivera c,
Odorizzi p

ROYALS
Escobar ss,
Zobrist 2b,
Cain cf,
Hosmer 1b,
Morales dh,
Moustakas 3b,
Perez c,
Rios rf,
Orlando lf,
Medlen p

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For starters, Royals vs Rays

Righthanded pitcher Erasmo Ramirez will be on the mound for the Rays.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Righthanded pitcher Erasmo Ramirez will be on the mound for the Rays.

The Rays lineup for tonight's series opener against the Royals, owners of the best record in the American League (78-49):

LF Grady Sizemore
RF Daniel Nava
3B Evan Longoria
DH John Jaso
2B Logan Forsythe
SS Asdrubal Cabrera
1B James Loney
CF Kevin Kiermaier
C Rene Rivera

RHP Erasmo Ramirez

And the Royals:

SS Alcides Escobar
2B Ben Zobrist
CF Lorenzo Cain
1B Eris Hosmer
DH Kendrys Morales
3B Mike Moustakas
C Salvador Perez
RF Alex Rios
LF Paulo Orlando

RHP Edinson Volquez

4:56 p.m. Through the Rays' PR department, OF Desmond Jennings has respectfully declined to discuss the status of his re-injured knee

5 p.m. Ben Zobrist just wrapped up his pregame press conference with bay area media, during which Tampa Bay Times beat reporter Marc Topkin presented him with the Rays' 2014 team MVP award re-named in Don Zimmer's honor.

Earlier in the afternoon, former teammate Evan Longoria said he expects Zobrist to receive a standing ovation from the Tropicana Field audience.

Zobrist's response? "I'm not expecting anything," he said. They've already given me everything that I could've asked for when I was here. …

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Jennings back to DL, Butler called up

The Rays put OF Desmond Jennings back on the DL today with a bruised left knee.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times

The Rays put OF Desmond Jennings back on the DL today with a bruised left knee.

The Rays put OF Desmond Jennings back on the DL today with a bruised left knee and called up OF Joey Butler.

Jennings played 10 games (hitting .353 with 1 homer and 5 RBIs) after coming off the DL following a 3 1/2 month absence due to a left knee injury that led to arthroscopic surgery. The new injury may not be related, as it is a bruise on a different part of the knee.

Manager Kevin Cash said the thinking in putting him on the DL was to give him 15 two weeks to rest rather than a few and try to play and maybe miss more time. Cash said they expect him to be back this season.

Jennings was not available for comment.

Butler was chosen because he has more experience in the outfield than Shaffer, who will also get the benefit of more consistent at-bats at Triple-A before his expected September call up.

 

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For starters, Rays vs. Twins, seeking to avoid a sweep

Drew Smyly, who was much better in his second start since coming off the DL than his first, will be on the mound for the Rays.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Drew Smyly, who was much better in his second start since coming off the DL than his first, will be on the mound for the Rays.

UPDATE, 5:20: The Rays went ahead and out Jennings back on the DL and called up Joey Butler. ... James Loney dropped his appeal and is serving his 1-game suspension tonight, conveniently against a lefty starter. .... Arencibia is starting tonight in part because Rivera is likely to play the next three days vs. the running Royals.

Rays lineup:
Guyer rf
Nava 1b
Longoria 3b
Forsythe 2b
Cabrera ss
Butler lf
Beckham DH
Kiermaier cf
Arencibia c
Smyly p

 

UPDATE, 3:22: Here is the Twins lineup:
Buxton cf,
Dozier 2b,
Mauer dh.
Sano 3b,
Plouffe 1b,
Hunter rf,
Escobar ss,
Suzuki c,
Robinson lf,
Milone p

DEVELOPING: After a second straight frustrating loss, the Rays will try to avoid being swept by the Twins tonight in the series finale.

LHP Drew Smyly, who was much better in his second start since coming off the DL than his first, will be on the mound for the Rays against Twins LHP Tommy Milone.

The Rays may have another roster shuffle today, with the possibility that OF Desmond Jennings will go back on the DL due to a bruise in the same left knee that sidelined him for 3 1/2 months. If so, expect either OF Joey Butler, OF Mikie Mahtook or INF Richie Shaffer to get called up. …

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Rays Jake Odorizzi makes a friend at All Children's

Rays RHP Jake Odorizzi and 3-year-old  Vance Upthegrove

CARLI TODD / TAMPA BAY RAYS

Rays RHP Jake Odorizzi and 3-year-old Vance Upthegrove

As part of a Rays Kids Spirit Day, RHP Jake Odorizzi and OF Desmond Jennings on Wednesday visited patients at All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg. Odorizzi and 3-year-old Vance Upthegrove, shown above, hung out and played video games.  Upthegrove has eight Rays signed baseballs, inscribed with everything from "Get Well Soon!" to "Turtle Power!"

 

 

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Rays place Casali on DL and call up Arencibia; Jennings day to day

Curt Casali, who has been one of the team's top home run hitters in the last month, is confident he will be out only 2-3 weeks and in no danger of missing the rest of the season.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Curt Casali, who has been one of the team's top home run hitters in the last month, is confident he will be out only 2-3 weeks and in no danger of missing the rest of the season.

After an MRI confirmed a left hamstring strain, the Rays placed C Curt Casali on the DL Wednesday and called up J.P. Arencibia from Triple-A Durham.

Casali, who has been one of the team's top home run hitters in the last month, is confident he will be out only 2-3 weeks and in no danger of missing the rest of the season.

Arencibia, 29, has spent parts of five seasons in the majors, with the Blue Jays and Rangerr, and most of this season with the Bulls, hitting 22 home runs with a .227 average, 65 RBIs and a .702 OPS.

Manager Kevin Cash said Rene Rivera initially will get "quite a bit" of the playing time behind the plate, but they will want to work in Arencibia to take advantage of his power.

OF Desmond Jennings, meanwhile, is considered "day to day" with a bruise on the same left knee that sidelined him for 3 1/2 months and required surgery. Though Tuesday's game was the first Jennings played on the Trop turf since rejoining the team, Cash said that was not a contributing factor in the his injury, which stemmed from sliding into second on Saturday in Oakland. …

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For starters, Rays vs. Twins, on Archer Day

Chris Archer, coming off his one-hit, complete-game shutout in Houston is matched up against Twins rookie Tyler Duffey.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Chris Archer, coming off his one-hit, complete-game shutout in Houston is matched up against Twins rookie Tyler Duffey.

Coming off Tuesday's tough loss to the Twins, the Rays take the field tonight with All-Star ace Chris Archer on the mound.

Archer, coming off his one-hit, complete-game shutout in Houston is matched up against Twins rookie Tyler Duffey.

The Rays will be without C Curt Casali, who was placed on the 15-day DL with a left hamstring strain and replaced by J.P. Arencibia, and OF Desmond Jennings, who is day to day with a bruised left knee.

Here are the lineups:

Rays lineups:
Nava rf
Sizemore lf
Longoria 3b
Jaso dh
Forsythe 2b
Cabrera ss
Loney 1b
Kiermaier cf
Rivera c
Archer p

Twins lineup:
Buxton cf
Dozier 2b
Mauer 1b
Sano DH
Plouffe 3b
Rosario rf
Escobar ss
Herrmann c
Robinson lf
Duffey p

 

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Loney silent on suspension

James Loney was suspended for one game and fined an undisclosed amount Tuesday for making contact with umpire Paul Nauert during a confrontation after being ejected from Saturday night’s game in Oakland.

AP photo

James Loney was suspended for one game and fined an undisclosed amount Tuesday for making contact with umpire Paul Nauert during a confrontation after being ejected from Saturday night’s game in Oakland.

Rays first baseman James Loney was not in a talking mood prior to today’s game against the Twins, but he is in the starting lineup. Loney was suspended for one game and fined an undisclosed amount Tuesday for making contact with umpire Paul Nauert during a confrontation after being ejected from Saturday night’s game in Oakland. Loney is appealing the suspension, which makes him eligible until the appeals process is complete.

“That’s more or less through James and his agent,’’ Rays manager Kevin Cash said of the appeals process. “We’ll wait to hear back from Major League Baseball in the coming days.

“We don’t want to play any games short, but really, one (game) is better than anything else.’’

If Loney’s suspension is upheld, either Logan Forsythe or Daniel Nava will take his place at first base.

“Nava played some first base on the road trip and looked comfortable,’’ Cash said. “If James does have to sit out a day then we’ll wait and see what that day is and who we put there.’’

Loney was adamant after the ejection that he did nothing wrong. He did not talk to reporters before taking batting practice today.

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For starters, Rays vs. Twins, with Karns on the mound

Nathan Karns will be on the mound for the Rays tonight.f

Getty Images

Nathan Karns will be on the mound for the Rays tonight.f

Here’s the Rays starting lineup tonight for the first of three games against the Minnesota Twins. James Loney is in the lineup while appealing his one game suspension after an ejection Saturday night.

1. Grady Sizemore, RF

2. Desmond Jennings, LF

3. Evan Longoria, 3B

4. John Jaso, DH

5. Logan Forsythe, 2B

6. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS

7. James Loney, 1B

8. Kevin Kiermaier, CF

9. Curt Casali, C

Nathan Karns, RHP

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James Loney gets 1-game suspension

James Loney's suspension was to start tonight but he has opted to appeal so it won't be served until a hearing.

Getty Images

James Loney's suspension was to start tonight but he has opted to appeal so it won't be served until a hearing.

Rays 1B James Loney has been suspended 1 game and fined an undisclosed amount as a result of making contact with umpire Paul Nauert during a confrontation following his ejection from Saturday's game.

Loney's suspension was to start tonight but he has opted to appeal so it won't be served until a hearing.

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For starters, Rays at A's, looking for a first-time sweep

UPDATE, 3:00: Loney remained adamant this morning that he did nothing wrong in getting ejected on Saturday, and was not concerned about potential disciplinary action for making contact. Cash said they would wait to hear from MLB in the next few days. ... The Rays have made 24 trips to Oakland over their 18 seasons and have never swept a series. so today could be the first. ... The Rays have played 5 straight one-run games for the first time since doing six in a row in September 2010. ... Cash said they feel strongly Alex Colome can continue his ascension as a high-leverage reliever but also continue to have confidence in RHP Brad Boxberger. ... Sounds like the Rays will look into the availabilty of Fernando Rodney, who was DFA'd by Seattle, but it is not a high priority.

UPDATE, 2:55: The Rays lineup has an extremely different look today, as OFs Desmond Jennings and Kevin Kiermaier are both getting the day off, John Jaso is hitting cleanup and playing leftfield, and James Loney has been dropped to seventh in the order in what manager Kevin Cash said was an attempt to get him going better. …

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James Loney says ejection unwarranted, ump needs to "just relax"

 Rays 1B James Loney was as demonstratively mad as he'd ever been on a major-league field after being ejected for his reaction to a strike three call in the sixth inning of Saturday's game. 

   An hour or so later, Loney was still upset about the decisions by home plate umpire Paul Nauert.

   First, Loney said the pitch, which he thought at the time was borderline, was definitely a ball. …

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For starters, Rays at A's, looking for another W

UPDATE, 7:21: Cash said he thinks Boxberger is handling his struggles well and has no plans to change how he is being used. ... Cash said they were prepared for the A's to use switch-pitcher Pat Venditte last night and weren't saving switch-hitter Daniel Nava for that slot but it worked out well.

A's lineup, with LH Sean Doolittle off the DL:
Burns cf
Crisp lf
Reddick rf
Canha 1b
Vogt dh
Lawrie 3b
Phegley c
Sogard 2b
Semien ss
Gray p

DEVELOPING: After hanging on through a perilous Brad Boxberger ninth inning for a 2-1 win on Friday, the Rays are back at it against the A's tonight.

RHP Erasmo Ramrez will be on the mound for the Rays, who have the difficult task of facing A's ace Sonny Gray. Ramirez has never beaten the A's in eight career appearances against Oakland, 0-6. 5.26.

The Rays are going with the same lineup as Friday:
Jaso dh,
Sizemore rf,
Longoria 3b,
Loney 1b,
Forsythe 2b,
Cabrera ss,
Jennings lf,
Kiermaier cf,
Casali c,
Ramirez p

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For starters, Rays at A's, with Smyly on the mound

Coming off RHP Chris Archer's one-hit, complete-game masterpiece against the Astros, the Rays are in Oakland tonight for a 10:07 game against the A's.

LHP Drew Smyly will be on the mound for the Rays tonight, hoping to improve on his initial return from the DL on Sunday when he allowed five runs and lasted only four innings. The A's are starting RHP Chris Bassitt.

The Rays announced that LHP Jake McGee underwent successful left knee surgery in St. Petersburg today, and is still expected to miss 6-8 weeks, making his return this season uncertain.

Here is the Rays lineup:

Jaso DH,
Sizemore rf,
Longoria 3b,
Loney 1b,
Forsythe 2b,
Cabrera SS,
Jennings LF,
Kiermaier cf,
Casali c,
Smyly p

 

A's lineup:
Burns cf
Canha 1b
Valencia 3b
Phegley c
Smolinski rf
Lawrie 2b
Butler dh
Crisp lf
Semien ss
Bassitt p

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