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Four injured Rays may return from DL by next week

TORONTO — By the time the Yankees come to Tropicana Field next week, the Rays could have a significantly different look.

DH Cliff Floyd, INF Ben Zobrist and RHPs Gary Glover and Al Reyes could all be off the disabled list, manager Joe Maddon said in his most positive medical report of the season.

"They're all coming together at the same point almost," he said. "We'll have to (do) a whole bunch of things all at once possibly."

The most significant addition will be Floyd, who played in just four games (going 5-for-15 with two homers) before having right knee surgery April 11.

He played in extended spring training games Monday and Tuesday and reported no problems with his first back-to-back duty, hitting a home run Monday and running well Tuesday, and could be activated over the weekend without going on a minor-league rehab.

"My big concern is the knee itself," Maddon said. "If he gets enough at-bats and sees enough pitches and thinks he's okay, I'm fine with that."

Zobrist, out since spring training with a fractured left thumb, has been playing regularly in extended spring. He could start a four-day rehab assignment as soon as tonight with Class A Vero (which plays in Lakeland), then be off Sunday, have the pins removed from his thumb Monday and be activated that night.

To make room for Floyd and Zobrist, the Rays are likely to dispatch Nathan Haynes and Andy Cannizaro. Fitting Glover and Reyes back into the bullpen will be a little tougher.

Glover, reluctantly on the DL with shoulder tendinitis, checked out fine as a series of tests showed "nothing severely wrong." He will start playing catch today and "pretty much" should be ready by the weekend.

Reyes, out since April 16, had a setback last week with what the Rays called biceps tendinitis. But he could be back on the mound by Friday and might need only a couple of bullpen sessions, and maybe one game appearance, to be ready as well.

t may be tough to create another.

Having all four players active, Maddon said, would get the Rays "back to what we thought we'd look like originally."

MORE HELP?: If the Rays want to consider a further upgrade in rightfield, they have options.

Three veteran outfielders became available in the last few days, and the one who could be of most interest to the Rays is Jason Michaels, designated for assignment by Cleveland. Michaels, 32, is a right-handed hitter, which would be a plus because the Rays are left-hander heavy, and can play all three outfield positions. He is a Tampa Jesuit product.

Also available are Jacque Jones (from Detroit) and Brad Wilkerson (from Seattle).

CONSTANT BATTLE: LHP Scott Kazmir throws a bullpen session today in hopes of resolving the mechanical flaws that marred his season debut Sunday. Kazmir, who said his arm felt "wonderful," planned to watch video on Tuesday and thinks it will be an easy fix before his next start Saturday. "I feel like it's some minor thing at the end," he said.

MISCELLANY: If Rule 5 draftee RHP Evan Meek clears waivers today, the Rays have 72 hours to work out a deal with the Pirates or get him back. … Carlos Pena ended a seven-game hitting streak with a four-strikeout performance. … Maddon said CF B.J. Upton, who was 2-for-4. looked "more at ease" in swinging, with no issues from his left shoulder. … The Rays and the St. Petersburg branch of the NAACP will offer a $2,500 Monte Irvin scholarship to a male and female minority college student. See … Double-A Montgomery LHP James Houser served a three-game suspension for hitting a batter on Friday but will make his next start tonight.

Four injured Rays may return from DL by next week 05/06/08 [Last modified: Friday, May 9, 2008 5:33pm]
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