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Tampa Bay Rays acquire infielder Drew Sutton from Pirates

ST. PETERSBURG — As crazy as it was for new Rays INF Drew Sutton to be traded twice in one day, he ended up in the big leagues, which is all that mattered.

"It was a really good surprise," he said.

Tampa Bay acquired Sutton, 29, a versatile switch-hitter, from the Pirates, for a player to be named or cash considerations. He helps replace INF Jeff Keppinger, who Monday went on the 15-day disabled list with a broken right toe. Manager Joe Maddon said Keppinger is likely out 3-4 weeks.

Sutton was playing for the Braves' Triple-A Gwinnett club in Rochester, N.Y., on Sunday when he got pulled in the fourth inning. He was told after the game he had been traded to Pittsburgh and should rent a car Monday morning to join the Pirates' Triple-A team in Buffalo. But at the hotel, around 11 p.m., he was told he was going to take a direct flight Monday to Tampa to get back in the majors.

"It's a little better than Buffalo," Sutton said, smiling. "It's exciting. It's a very wide range of emotions for about four hours, a lot of different phone calls."

Sutton, who has played parts of three seasons with the Red Sox, Reds and Indians, wasn't a stranger to the Rays, getting a locker next to good friend Ben Zobrist, who also was drafted by the Astros in 2004. The two were roommates then and have worked out together in the offseasons in Nashville.

Like Zobrist, Sutton has a handful of gloves, having experience at all the infield positions, with his best spot second base. Manager Joe Maddon said Sutton will be moved around, with the potential to get some outfield work.

Maddon said Sutton's ability to hit from the right side was a key factor.

"I've liked him from a distance," Maddon said. "And our friends in the front office liked him for a while."

To make room on the 40-man roster for Sutton, minor-league LHP John Gaub was designated for assignment.

WEB WEARY: The Rays' three errors against the Blue Jays gave them 38 on the season, their most through 43 games since 2007 (39). They are on pace for a club-record 143 errors.

RIGHT TRACK: LHP Matt Moore enters tonight's start encouraged by the steps he made in his last outing against Boston. Moore picked up the loss but settled in, retiring the final 10 batters in a six-inning outing.

"From a confidence standpoint, it did make me feel like when the bleeding started, I was able to stop it," he said. "We had a shot for at least a while, and it didn't downward spiral out of control like it could have."

MISCELLANY: Maddon said C Jose Lobaton (right shoulder soreness) is still a week away from joining the team. Maddon said CF Desmond Jennings (left knee sprain) could be activated Sunday, the day he's eligible to come off. … C Jose Molina, pulled as a precaution in the seventh inning Sunday after getting hit in the mask with a foul tip, was back in the lineup.

MATSUI WATCH: Though there's no official date for DH/OF Hideki Matsui to be called up from Triple-A Durham, Maddon said he and executive VP Andrew Friedman are monitoring him more closely. Maddon said part of the timing is Matsui being ready and the other is need, with the Rays having a lot of left-handed bats. Matsui hit an RBI single in the 10th Monday to lift the Bulls to a 3-2 victory.

LEGAL MATTERS: RHP Matt Bush, facing seven charges stemming from his March 22 DUI hit-and-run arrest, officially entered his plea of not guilty in Charlotte County. A judge also approved defense motions to have an investigator and crash reconstruction specialist paid for by the state.

Tampa Bay Rays acquire infielder Drew Sutton from Pirates 05/21/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 22, 2012 1:18am]

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