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Some Rays frustrated by fans rooting for Red Sox

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays have won more games than ever at this point of a season. But they're still having trouble winning over fans, as Saturday's sellout crowd, much like Friday's, had a large tint of red.

"I don't think it's a good thing," starter James Shields said. "When you see all red out there, it's pretty disappointing. I wish some of the Tampa Bay fans, the Rays fans, would come out and kind of counteract what the Red Sox fans, and Yankees fans, do out here. We're not happy playing with that because we get pumped up when our crowd gets us in the ball game.

"They were cheering for the Red Sox all game (Friday) night, and all of a sudden we won, and the next thing you know they're cheering for us."

The Rays have often seemed like the visitors when the Red Sox and Yankees are in town, but they hoped it would change with an improved team.

"I wish the fans would come out and start rooting for us a little bit more," Shields said. "When you're hearing, 'Let's go, Red Sox,' in your own home field, that's not good. … I guess we've got to win some games, and win some more games, for them to come out."

Shields isn't the only one disappointed.

"The atmosphere was cool but it's kind of getting old that every time we play the Red Sox or the Yankees we're pretty much overmatched," B.J. Upton said. "We're off to probably the best start we've ever had, so you figure it would change, but it doesn't look like it is right now."

JOHNSON DOWN, CANNIZARO COMING: With SS Jason Bartlett's right arm still feeling a bit achy, the Rays called up INF Andy Cannizaro from Triple A and optioned INF Elliot Johnson to Durham. Cannizaro, who had to be added to the 40-man roster, is a better option at shortstop than Johnson, who was a second baseman until the Rays started using him in a utility role.

Bartlett said he continues to have "a little bit" of a problem with an achy feeling in his right arm. "I'm hanging in there. I'm just trying to move my feet more because I can't rely on just my arm."

Johnson hit .158 in seven games and had a limited role. "E.J. needs to play,'' manager Joe Maddon said. Cannizaro hit .289 in 15 games at Durham.

Pitching in: RHP Al Reyes, scheduled to return Thursday after being on the DL with a shoulder impingement, threw one inning, striking out two, for Class A Vero and will throw another Monday. … RHP Matt Garza said his arm felt fine the day after his erratic but effective return from the DL. … LHP Scott Kazmir's debut is "probably" pushed back to May 4, Maddon said.

MISCELLANY: Red Sox DH David Ortiz was out after bruising his right knee during a headfirst slide Friday that manager Terry Francona described as a "car accident." … Carl Crawford's hitting streak ended at 12 games. … Saturday was the Rays' second sellout of the season and 10th in franchise history (sixth since the start of the '07 season). … Enrique Oliu, the Rays' blind Spanish radio broadcaster, was fine and stayed on the air after being hit on the side of the face by a foul ball Friday.

Some Rays frustrated by fans rooting for Red Sox 04/26/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 29, 2008 3:53pm]
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