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Tampa Bay Rays' B.J. Upton's call to steal proves costly

ST. PETERSBURG — CF B.J. Upton said he was trying to spark the Rays' offense when he tried to steal second base while down 5-0 to the Blue Jays in the eighth inning Friday.

Upton was thrown out — then tossed from the game — after vociferously arguing he was safe.

But manager Joe Maddon, who tells his team to err on the side of aggressiveness, thought Upton was out and said Upton didn't necessarily make the safe play.

"That's a situation where, if you're going to go, you have to be absolutely 100 percent sure you can do it," Maddon said. "I think if he really reflects on it, he'd probably want to take it back."

Upton, whose Rays were held to three hits, said that with 3B Evan Longoria up, he wanted to stay out of a double play.

"Maybe a base hit scores me and we kind of feed off that," Upton said. "Obviously, it didn't happen that way."

Upton paused about halfway to second, saying he was trying to pick up the ball. C J.P. Arencibia threw out Upton from his knees for the second out. Upton shared words, and glares, with second-base umpire Ed Hickox as he walked off the field before getting ejected. He then tossed his helmet onto the infield before leaving.

"Heat of the moment; we're in the middle of a pennant race," Upton said. "It just happened. It's not something I was really expecting to do. Just kind of the way it unfolded."

Ready to close: RHP Kyle Farnsworth, after missing about two weeks with a tender elbow, felt good and ready to go, and Maddon said the closer could have pitched Thursday. Farnsworth said he'll probably stop throwing his split because it's partly the reason the elbow started bothering him.

For firsts: Utility player Russ Canzler, whose first big-league hit came in Thursday's win over New York, said the moment was extra memorable because it came in Yankee Stadium.

"That's a special place to get your first hit, in that atmosphere, in that city," he said.

His teammates played a little joke on him. While the ball from the hit was retrieved and passed into the dugout, they pretended to throw it into the stands. (They tossed another ball.)

"That was funny," Canzler said.

With the hit, Canzler had a 1.000 batting average posted on the stadium scoreboard, an image he'll always have because DH Johnny Damon took a picture of it the next time the rookie came up. "I'll probably have to get that one framed," Canzler said.

Miscellany: RHP Jeff Niemann said the upper-back soreness that led his start to be pushed back two days is no longer an issue. … Maddon said rookie LHP Matt Moore will return to the bullpen but likely won't be available until Sunday or Monday after throwing 84 pitches in his first major-league win Thursday. Maddon said LHP David Price will start Wednesday's regular-season finale, following RHP James Shields (Monday) and RHP Jeremy Hellickson (Tuesday) in the Yankees series.

Tampa Bay Rays' B.J. Upton's call to steal proves costly 09/23/11 [Last modified: Saturday, September 24, 2011 12:18am]
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