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Tampa Bay Rays' Casey Kotchman hospitalized with tightness in chest

ST. PETERSBURG — Rays 1B Casey Kotchman, taken out of the clubhouse and to St. Anthony's Hospital before Tuesday's game due to tightness in his chest, was released after the precautionary tests were negative.

Kotchman will rejoin the team today, with his availability to be determined. "It's kind of an as-tolerated thing," manager Joe Maddon said. "I'll just have to wait until he shows up (today) to figure it out."

Kotchman, replaced at first base by Sean Rodriguez, was rolled out of the clubhouse by medical personnel about an hour and a half before the game.

Maddon said he was made aware of Kotchman's issue during batting practice but told about a half-hour later by head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield that the first baseman was fine.

Kotchman is hitting .305 with 10 homers and 48 RBIs and leads major-league first basemen with a .998 fielding percentage. DH Johnny Damon admitted it was "definitely scary" to see Kotchman get taken away, but teammates were grateful he was okay.

And Rodriguez, making his fifth big-league start at first, filled in nicely. "Sean just did a phenomenal job over there," 2B Ben Zobrist. "Just made it look easy."

WITH HONORS: RHP James Shields was named the Rays MVP in voting by members of the Tampa Bay chapter of the BBWAA.

Shields leads Tampa Bay with 16 victories and the majors with 11 complete games in a remarkable bounceback, All-Star season. He cut his ERA (2.82) nearly in half from last year (5.18).

"It's definitely an honor," Shields said. "From what happened last year, I definitely wanted to put a stamp on this organization for what I did last year as far as my numbers. I wanted to be more consistent this year, and that's what I did."

RHP Jeremy Hellickson was a unanimous selection for outstanding rookie, and Damon was named winner of the Paul C. Champion Award, given to the player who best exemplifies the spirit of true professionalism on and off the field. OF Desmond Jennings was second for the rookie award, with RHP Alex Cobb third. Shields was nearly a unanimous pick for MVP, with 3B Evan Longoria receiving the only other first-place vote. Hellickson was third.

"He's been one of the top pitchers in baseball this year," LHP David Price said. "You ask me, I say he's the ace."

SOX TALK: Rays bench coach Dave Martinez is being mentioned among the potential candidates for the White Sox managerial job, with the news that Ozzie Guillen has left to manage the Marlins.

Martinez, 47, who interviewed for the Blue Jays job last year, played for both the White Sox and Cubs. He said he'd love the opportunity to manage but also enjoys being with the Rays, and that's where his focus is.

"In the future, would I love to interview for a managerial spot? Absolutely," Martinez said. "I played there, played on both sides, Chicago is a great city. But my heart right now is with the Rays and we're trying to get to the playoffs."

MISCELLANY: RHP Joel Peralta wasn't available Tuesday after pitching Saturday and Sunday and warming up twice Monday. He expects to be able to pitch tonight. … Game 1 of the division series between the Rays/Red Sox and the Tigers/Rangers would be at 5:07 p.m. Friday. … Damon passed Yankees legend Lou Gehrig for 57th on the all-time hit list with No. 2,722. … Yankees manager Joe Girardi said his regular position players will be in the lineup tonight.

Tampa Bay Rays' Casey Kotchman hospitalized with tightness in chest 09/27/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 12:22am]
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