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' Upton could return to corner spot

ST. PETERSBURG — When CF B.J. Upton makes his expected return to the lineup today or Sunday, there's a chance he could be playing rightfield.

Upton, who has missed 10 games with a strained left quadriceps, reported no pain after running the bases Friday afternoon. But manager Joe Maddon said depending on Upton's comfort level, a temporary move to a corner outfield spot could ease him back into the lineup.

Fernando Perez has made nine starts in center, hitting two homers and playing well defensively. Upton said he hasn't played a corner outfield spot since 2007 spring training. He has started just one game in leftfield, in 2004.

"It's a little different. I haven't played there all year," Upton said. "The reads are a little bit different off the bat. I think it'd be a little tough, but I don't know."

Maddon said it's up to Upton to gauge his range during pregame warmups before any position switch.

"I said, 'If you feel confident you can just go out and roam all centerfield, I'm good with that,' " Maddon said. " 'If you feel you'd like to cut down the distance a little bit, we'll put you on the corner to begin with until you're ready just to get you back in the lineup.' "

MINOR MATTERS: The Rays announced their minor-league awards Friday, and Perez was named the player of the year and LHP David Price the pitcher of the year. C Matt Spring won the Erik Walker Community Champion Award.

Perez said he was both honored and "surprised," considering it wasn't his "strongest season." He battled a spring hip injury then hit .288 and stole 43 bases with Triple-A Durham.

But Perez, a September callup, said the bigger reward has been playing a key role for the Rays.

"That's a bigger deal to me than getting the award," he said. "Awards are for my mom. She likes stuff like that."

The other winners: INF Dan Johnson and RHP Mitch Talbot (Durham); INF Chris Nowak and RHP Wade Davis (Double-A Montgomery); OF Ryan Royster and RHP Jeremy Hellickson (Class A Vero Beach); OF Kyeong Kang and RHP Nick Barnese (Class A Hudson Valley); OF Reid Fronk and RHP Jesse Darcy (Class A Columbus); INF Elias Otero and LHP Matt Moore (rookie Princeton); OF Cesar Guillen and RHP Juan Wilsino (Dominican summer league); and C Alejandro Torres and RHP Deivis Mavares (Venezuelan summer league).

BACK TO NORMAL: LHP Scott Kazmir, tonight's starter, said he discovered on video minor flaws in his delivery after allowing a career-worst nine runs on six hits — four of them home runs — in a 13-5 loss to Boston on Monday.

"It's easier if you can just identify … what happened," he said. "I looked at the tape and saw there were a couple of things I didn't realize I was doing. I was maybe doing just a little bit extra. I don't know … what made me do that. But after I threw my bullpen (session), everything felt like it was back to normal."

thank EVAN: Evan Lon­goria on Thursday became the first rookie third baseman since Eddie Mathews (Boston Braves, Sept, 27, 1952) to have a three-homer game.

MISCELLANY: Former Rays OF prospect Jason Pridie pinch hit for another ex-Ray, Delmon Young, in the seventh. Both were acquired in the offseason trade that included RHP Matt Garza and SS Jason Bartlett. … RHP Jeff Niemann made his first appearance since his callup, throwing a scoreless 11/3 innings. … Maddon said C Dioner Navarro likely would get a day off today or Sunday. … About 5,000 tickets remain for today's game, and Sunday's game is sold out.

Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith

Rays' Upton could return to corner spot 09/19/08 [Last modified: Saturday, September 20, 2008 10:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Florida State sees plenty of upside in Dade City native Jacob Pugh


    TALLAHASSEE — No, Florida State senior Jacob Pugh is not as versatile as teammate Derwin James.

     Florida State Seminoles linebacker Jacob Pugh (16) and Florida State Seminoles defensive end DeMarcus Walker (44) celebrate after sacking the Miami quarterback Saturday October 8, 2016 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.
  2. 247Sports: Berkeley Prep's Nicholas Petit-Frere top OT in nation


    Berkeley Prep offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere already is widely considered the best player in Tampa Bay.

    Berkeley Prep rising senior defensive end Nicholas Petit-Frere (78) performs a pad drill during spring football practice at Berkeley Prep in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday, May 12, 2017.
  3. Full disclosure: My AP Top 25 ballot


    Now that you've seen the preseason AP Top 25, here's what I submitted in my first year as a voter. The AP doesn't give us many guidelines in the preseason. I didn't try to predict how …

  4. AP Top 25: Alabama first, FSU, UF, Miami and USF all in top 20


    As expected, Alabama will start the season at No. 1 in the AP Top 25.

  5. HomeTeam 25: Football rankings for Tampa Bay


    Armwood High School quarterback Devin Black (7) hands the ball off to running back Larry Anderson (13) during the Spring Football Jamboree in Seffner, Fla. on Thursday, May 18, 2017.