Tampa Bay Rays' Casey Kotchman confident Boston Red Sox's Kevin Youkilis didn't intend to hurt him in Tuesday collision

ST. PETERSBURG — Rays 1B Casey Kotchman had a bruise on his left ankle to show for it but no hard feelings about being kicked on a ninth-inning play Tuesday by Boston's Kevin Youkilis.

"I know he didn't mean to do it," Kotchman said. "I know he didn't do it on purpose."

The question was raised when video replays showed Youkilis running well inside the first-base line. Speculation was he did it out of frustration over a tough night or for revenge for an earlier slide by Kotchman. Youkilis also pleaded innocent, saying it was unintentional.

Youkilis said Kotchman's foot was on top of the base and he didn't make much contact: "It was just my toe kind of just glanced over the top of him."

It didn't look that way. Kotchman went down hard, causing concern in the Rays' dugout that he was spiked or hurt his Achilles', and needed treatment from the training staff and anti-inflammatory medicine.

That wasn't the only point the two players differed on. Kotchman said such occurrences are not common; Youkilis said they are. "It doesn't happen all the time, but sometimes you get nipped a little bit,'' Youkilis said. "From what it looked like, it looked like he blew out. I didn't think I got him that good, but maybe if you hit him on the right spot, guys can feel that. And I'm glad he's okay."

STREAK-BUSTERS: DH Johnny Damon's streak of getting on base ended at 39 games, the longest in his career, Rays history and the majors this season. … RHP Jeremy Hellickson's streak of scoreless innings at Tropicana Field ended at 24, the longest in team history.

NO O: The Rays were shut out for the fourth time this season. … It was the seventh time they've been held to one or no hits since the start of the 2008 season, most in the majors.

PITCHING IN: Part of the reason the Rays rearranged their rotation was for LHP David Price to pitch tonight's series finale, and Price welcomes the opportunity to face the league's best: "I want to throw against these guys, that's for sure." Manager Joe Maddon said the Rays aren't done tweaking the rotation in their efforts to maximize matchups, especially with four games before the All-Star break against the Yankees and the first seven after the break against the Red Sox and Yankees. RHP Jeff Niemann, having completed a three-start rehab for a lower-back strain, said he is "ready to go" and set to rejoin the rotation Monday in Milwaukee.

RAMOS DOWN: Bullpen coach Bobby Ramos missed his fourth game due to an undetermined illness that has left him lethargic. Ramos, 55, had a series of tests to determine the cause of his illness, which at first seemed to be the stomach flu that had been going through the clubhouse but didn't improve. Ramos, typically one of the loosest and loudest Rays, flew home Sunday. "He's not feeling well," Maddon said. "He's lethargic and tired." Maddon said the medical staff does not consider it to be serious. Stan Boroski, assistant to the pitching coach, has been filling in.

HIGH PRAISE: Maddon said he enjoyed former LF Carl Crawford describe playing for the Rays as "like party central all the time." "Absolutely, it's the highest compliment," Maddon said. "I really believe what he means is we have a good time here and we play it hard."

MISCELLANY: Crawford singled in his last at-bat and is 1-for-6 for the series. … Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor, was at the game, sitting on the Rays' side. … Second-round draft pick OF Granden Goetzman's bonus of $490,000 was $4,900 above MLB's recommendation, according to Baseball America, making him the first 2011 draftee to sign for over slot money.

Times staff writer Joe Smith contributed to this report.

Tampa Bay Rays' Casey Kotchman confident Boston Red Sox's Kevin Youkilis didn't intend to hurt him in Tuesday collision 06/16/11 [Last modified: Thursday, June 16, 2011 1:18am]

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