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Rays activate Floyd from DL

ST. PETERSBURG — DH Cliff Floyd's "longest four weeks" are over.

The Rays activated Floyd after Friday's game, four weeks to the day after surgery on his right knee.

To make room, they designated for assignment OF Nathan Haynes, who had played sparingly since the acquisition of Gabe Gross.

The Rays have 10 days to trade, release or pass Haynes, who is out of options, through waivers to get him to Triple-A Durham.

Floyd has missed 30 games since a strong start, when he went 5-for-15 with two homers and five RBIs in the first four games. Floyd, who was eager to get back, had an impressive workout Friday afternoon.

"I'm in a rush," Floyd said. "I want to get back. I'm just anxious to get back with my boys and sit on the bench and be part of the team. … I want to be a big part of this."

Floyd, 35, has felt pain-free during pool workouts, running activities and at-bats. He even got caught in a rundown at an extended spring training game Thursday afternoon. Manager Joe Maddon said Floyd won't be in the lineup tonight against Angels lefty Joe Saunders but will be available to pinch hit.

THE STOPPERS: Shields' complete-game shutout followed a recent trend of Rays starters bouncing back from tough outings (see: Edwin Jackson and Andy Sonnanstine), which Maddon attributed to his staff "growing up." Shields said the mantra was sparked in a preseason pitchers-only meeting where he spoke up.

"I told the guys, 'Look, this is the year for us to stop the bleeding,' " Shields said. "Last year, we had a 12-game losing streak, an 11-game losing streak. And this year, if we lose two, we come back winning. We've got to have stoppers. That's what we're all about right now."

Will LHP Scott Kazmir follow suit today? Kazmir, who struggled in his first start at Boston (after coming off the DL) by giving up four runs in four innings, had coaches raving after a bullpen session this week. Maddon believes, "We're going to see a lot of what we saw at the end of last season," when Kazmir went 8-3 with a 2.39 ERA after the All-Star break.

REHAB REPORT: RHP Al Reyes, rehabbing a right shoulder impingement, said he's feeling between 80 to 90 percent, having thrown a successful bullpen session Thursday with another one slated for today. Reyes, who went on the 15-day DL in mid April, was expected back earlier before a setback with biceps tendonitis. Maddon said RHP Gary Glover (15-day DL, right shoulder tendonitis) will also throw on the side today. … INF Ben Zobrist played second base and went 1-for-4 for Class A Vero in the third of four planned appearances. … RHP Jeff Niemann, out with shoulder stiffness since getting sent down April 21, threw three scoreless innings for Triple-A Durham on Friday, giving up one hit and striking out four.

JUST LIKE BRO: Angels SS Erick Aybar, brother of ailing Rays 3B Willy Aybar (15-day DL, hamstring) left Friday's game in the fourth inning after getting hit on the left hand by a pitch from Shields. X-rays were negative, and he is listed as day to day with a bruised finger.

MISCELLANY: Top pick LHP David Price, rehabbing a muscle strain in his left elbow, is expected to make two more extended spring starts next week before joining Vero. … Former major-leaguer Dennis Martinez will sign autographs today as part of International Night at the Trop, from 5:10 to 6:10 p.m. in front of the MLB Players Alumni Association office. … OF Jonny Gomes will visit Maniscalco Elementary in Tampa on Monday after fifth-grader Nathan Ivey, 10, won the Take Jonny to School contest.

Times staff writer Marc Topkin contributed to this report. Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@sptimes.com.

Rays activate Floyd from DL 05/09/08 [Last modified: Sunday, May 11, 2008 10:11am]
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