Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)


Rays SS Bartlett close to being activated

ST. PETERSBURG — SS Jason Bartlett said after a workout Monday that he feels "close to 100 percent," and he could get activated from the disabled list as early as Thursday.

Bartlett, the cornerstone of the Rays' much-improved defense this season, has been on the DL since July 3 with a sprained right knee. But after Bartlett felt "a lot better than expected" Monday running the bases and sliding for the first time since the injury, manager Joe Maddon said the 28-year-old likely will return during the team's upcoming seven-game road trip, which begins Thursday in Kansas City.

"Watching him run, there was no hesitation," Maddon said. "I'd say he didn't run 100 percent; I'd say maybe 75-80 percent it looked like. And without any kind of difference in regard to what he looked like normally."

Bartlett got hurt sliding late into third base while trying to steal July 2 in a win over Boston. Bartlett, acquired in the offseason Delmon Young trade, said the toughest test in his rehab has been running the bases, while "everything else is great."

Bartlett said he's about "80 percent" now but thinks he could return to his everyday role when he's activated.

Maddon said the club hasn't decided whether "it's going to be wise to push him three or four days in a row." If that's the case, Evan Longoria could serve as a backup, or they could keep Ben Zobrist up, though that would force a tough decision on whom Bartlett will replace on the roster.

Bartlett, who started 77 of the first 84 games, has been tough to replace, as the Rays are 6-8 while he has been on the DL.

The hit show: Maddon was impressed Monday afternoon when "almost the entire team" participated in optional early batting practice. The Rays lineup, collectively, has struggled at times, including with runners in scoring position (entering Monday, they were .108 in the past 10 games).

"I know how much our guys care and how much they're into this whole entire moment," Maddon said. How did it work? The Rays racked up nine hits and were 3-for-10 with RISP.

Sonny time: RHP Andy Sonnanstine, who starts today for the first time since July 10, said the break benefited him, allowing him to feel like there's a "clean slate." Not that his first half was anything to forget, as the 25-year-old had a team-high 10 wins, and the Rays are 7-1 in his past eight starts. But after his last rough outing — giving up six runs (and three homers) — he welcomed the "breather."

"He felt kind of revived," Maddon said. "If he's feeling stronger and better and there's no hesitation, and overall a general feeling of good health, I think you're going to see better location. If you see better location with him, you're going to see a good performance."

Sonnanstine said he hopes to finish strong like he did last season, when he went 5-2 in his last nine starts after starting 1-9.

"It took me a little bit for that learning curve, what it takes to be successful at this level," he said. "Now that I know that, being educated and going into the second half I feel like I have a good game plan. As long as I don't stray from it, I can finish up this season strong and keep our eyes on that prize at the end."

Minor matters: Vero Beach RHP Matt Walker was suspended 50 games for violating baseball's drug policy after testing positive for amphetamines. Walker, 21, was a 10th-round pick in 2004. In 22 appearances this season, he's 4-7 with a 4.86 ERA.

Miscellany: The Rays' three stolen bases extended their major-league lead to 106. … CF B.J. Upton's two steals made him the fourth Ray with 30 in a season. … DH Cliff Floyd will read to kids at John F. Germany Public Library (900 N Ashley Drive, Tampa) at 11 a.m. today.

Rays SS Bartlett close to being activated 07/21/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 22, 2008 3:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Yellow cards stall Rowdies offense in tie with St. Louis


    ST. PETERSBURG — It's not the result they wanted, but it certainly could have been worse. Neill Collins' 87th-minute header off a corner kick was the reward the Rowdies settled for Saturday night during a 1-1 draw with St. Louis before an announced 6,068 at Al Lang Stadium.

  2. Calvary Christian routs Pensacola Catholic to win state baseball title


    FORT MYERS — Calvary Christian left no doubt as to which baseball team in Class 4A was the best in Florida this season. The Warriors defeated Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium to claim the school's first state championship in any team sport. It also solidified a 30-0 season. …

    Matheu Nelson celebrates after scoring on a wild pitch during the first inning, when Calvary Christian took a 6-0 lead.
  3. Numerous lapses add up to frustrating Rays loss to Twins

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — While the Rays made some good defensive plays, threw a couple of big pitches when they needed to and got a few, and just a few, key hits, there were some obvious things they did wrong that led to them losing Saturday's game to the Twins 5-3:

    Rays reliever Tommy Hunter says the Twins’ tiebreaking homer came on a pitch that was “close to where I wanted it.”
  4. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. laughing right along after comical dive

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Souza being Souza.

    That seemed to be the best way to describe the entertaining — and comically bad — dive Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. attempted in Friday's game, and the good humor he showed in handling the fallout, including a standing ovation his next at-bat from the …

  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Twins game

    The Heater

    RHP Jake Odorizzi had to battle without his best stuff again, which is becoming a more common occurrence, leading to long at-bats — including 13 pitches to Kennys Vargas in the fifth — and running up his pitch count to 118 without finishing the sixth.