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Rays debate whether to carry extra player, pitcher

ST. PETERSBURG — Rays officials will up the discussion over the shape of their 25-man AL Championship Series roster where they left off for the division series — whether they are better off to have an 11th pitcher or a 15th position player.

They went with 10 pitchers in the first round and used only nine in the four games (and with Trever Miller facing only one batter). The ALCS is longer, as a best-of-seven, but there are also three off days for relievers to recuperate.

If the Rays decide to go with the extra arm, either Troy Percival, who has been working his way back into the shape, or Edwin Jackson, the 14-game winner who was left off for the ALDS, could be added at the expense of an extra outfielder, such as rookie Fernando Perez.

Executive VP Andrew Friedman said the Rays would talk about numerous possibilities but the primary topic will be the 11/15 issue.

"I think we'll definitely debate it again, just like we did before the division series," Friedman said Tuesday. "I think there's pretty good arguments to be made both ways."

Manager Joe Maddon said "there could be a change but not anything dramatic."

Friedman said the Rays got "good reports" on Percival's two instructional league outings over the weekend and "I think he's healthy enough right now where it's going to be part of our conversations in setting the roster."

Backup C Shawn Riggans has made a quick recovery and "a lot of progress" since September right knee surgery and is a candidate to be added (in place of Michel Hernandez), but Friedman said "he's not quite where he needs to be yet," and it's not clear if Riggans could be by Friday.

MADDON HONORED: Maddon appears the clear favorite for the AL Manager of the Year award presented after the season by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Tuesday he was named the second winner of the Chuck Tanner award, which was created last year by the Pittsburgh Rotary Club in honor of the former Pirates manager. Joe Torre won the inaugural award.

The award, given to "the manager that best exemplified Chuck Tanner's managing and leadership qualities," will be presented at a Nov. 15 banquet in Pittsburgh.

NO TEARS: The Rays weren't exactly saddened to hear that 3B Mike Lowell won't be on Boston's roster due to a lingering hip injury. "He's a tremendous player whose certainly not afraid of the big moment and it certainly affects them some to not have him … but they've got a bunch of talented guys and they've got depth," Friedman said.

PITCHING IN: The Rays are lined up to have RHP James Shields and LHP Scott Kazmir again pitch the first two games, but Maddon said he wanted to talk to the pitchers today before announcing anything.

MISCELLANY: The Rays took Tuesday off, then will work out at Tropicana Field today and Thursday. … The Sox will arrive Wednesday after working out in Boston, then work out Thursday at the Trop. … Even with the familiarity between the teams, Friedman said the Rays will do "just as much" work with their three-pronged advance scouting reports (in-person, video, data) as they did for the White Sox. … There will be a Beach Bash 5-8 p.m. Thursday at the Tradewinds Island Resorts on St. Pete Beach with live music, fireworks and appearances by the Rays' street team and Raymond. … It was probably good there is no official MVP award for division series, because Maddon said no one player stood out: "Typical Rays."

Rays debate whether to carry extra player, pitcher 10/07/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 8, 2008 4:03pm]
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