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Rays still exploring all options in all areas

Soggy Saturday: A grounds crew worker tries to drain water from the field after a deluge halted play during the fifth inning.

Associated Press

Soggy Saturday: A grounds crew worker tries to drain water from the field after a deluge halted play during the fifth inning.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After not landing either of the top available right-handed-hitting outfielders, with the versatile Casey Blake traded to the Dodgers a day after Xavier Nady went to the Yankees, the Rays are considering other ways to improve their team before Thursday's deadline for nonwaiver trades.

And while they continue to discuss other players who could help boost the perceived weakness in their offense, another option is to build on a strength by bolstering their pitching and defense.

"We're still discussing a whole bunch of different things," manager Joe Maddon said.

The primary issue, however, remains acquisition cost, specifically that teams continue to insist on their elite prospects, a pretty much untouchable group that includes Ps David Price, Wade Davis and Jeremy Hellickson, and SS Reid Brignac.

Getting a right-handed-hitting outfielder appeared to be the Rays' top priority. But with Nady and Blake going elsewhere, and other options less appealing, they are seeking other solutions.

"We just have to keep moving it along. I can't say those were the first priorities either. They were just there,'' Maddon said.

"If you are in search of good right-handed bats those are two really good names this time of year. So it does somewhat diminish at this point. But we still have other ideas."

They have considered alternate ways to improve the offense, and among the more intriguing names they've kicked around is Braves 1B Mark Teixeira, though he or Carlos Pena would have to DH. Another who could come up is the Rangers' Milton Bradley.

They will also consider trying the outfielders they have, such as promoting Justin Ruggiano from Triple-A Durham and waiting for Rocco Baldelli, who continues to make progress in his rehab at Double-A Montgomery.

As far as pitching help, Colorado reliever Brian Fuentes remains a prime target (though the Rockies reportedly won't come off Davis), and they may also have interest in utility INF Clint Barmes.

YANKEE DOODLES: The Rays figured the Yankees would stay in the race all season and weren't surprised to see them be aggressive in adding Nady and LHP Damaso Marte, with reports they're also close to getting LHP Jarrod Washburn.

"That's the way they do things," Maddon said. "They're going to buy people at the appropriate time. That's always been a part of what they've done and what they're able to do."

BABY DUTY: DH Cliff Floyd returned to the Tampa Bay area Saturday, arriving just after the 12:47 p.m. birth of his third child, Layla, a 6-pound, 10-ounce girl. He could be back today, but more likely Monday.

DRUG SUSPENSION: For the second time in a week, a Rays minor-leaguer was suspended 50 games for violating baseball's drug policy. OF Jonathan Quinonez, a 17-year-old on their Venezuelan Summer League team, tested positive for metabolites of the steroid nandrolone, according to MLB. Quinonez was hitting .263 with a team-high nine homers and 49 RBIs in 59 games. Monday, Class A Vero Beach RHP Matt Walker was suspended 50 games for testing positive for an amphetamine.

REHAB REPORT: Baldelli had another good night Saturday, going 2-for-3 with a homer and playing five innings in rightfield. Trying to come back from a rare muscle fatigue disorder, Baldelli played five consecutive days, pinch hitting Wednesday, and went 7-for-15 with two homers and seven RBIs. The Biscuits are off today.

MISCELLANY: Ross Gload, the former USF star, became the second lefty to knock in a run off Scott Kazmir, joining Boston's J.D. Drew. … Carlos Pena is hitting .393 against the Royals with four homers.

Rays still exploring all options in all areas 07/26/08 [Last modified: Sunday, July 27, 2008 9:13pm]
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