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Tampa Bay Rays' Casey Kotchman says he feels fine a day after being hospitalized with chest tightness

ST. PETERSBURG — 1B Casey Kotchman was back with the Rays, feeling fine and in the lineup for Wednesday's game one day after being taken to the hospital and undergoing tests for tightness in his chest.

Kotchman, 28, said no diagnosis was given for the tightness, but he felt normal upon getting released from the hospital late Tuesday night and was not concerned it would happen again.

Kotchman said he was in the trainer's room Tuesday afternoon when he started to feel "really uncomfortable" and had to get wheeled out on a stretcher by medical personnel, which put an oxygen mask on his face.

Was he scared?

"I don't know," Kotchman said. "I don't think it's exactly how you draw up Game 161. But everything checked out good."

Kotchman said it was the first time he'd felt that tightness and didn't want to overanalyze or think the worst at the time. He didn't get to watch the Rays' 5-3 win over the Yankees on Tuesday, catching highlights afterward. It doesn't appear Kotchman will be limited going forward.

"So far, so good," Kotchman said.

Wednesday, Kotchman went 2-for-5, picking up the first two Rays hits of the game.

STEPPING UP: Manager Joe Maddon acknowledged that a month ago, he probably wouldn't have envisioned using rookie relievers LHP Jake McGee and RHP Brandon Gomes in such high-leverage, late-inning situations in must-win games.

But Maddon said both Gomes and McGee have stepped up and earned that confidence, overcoming some struggles and raising their level of pitching.

And both played a big role in Wednesday's 8-7, come-from-behind victory, with Gomes pitching a scoreless 11th and McGee a scoreless 12th to pick up the victory. The duo was the seventh- and eighth-inning bridge to closer Kyle Farnsworth in Tuesday's win.

"Everyone had to come and do their own part today," McGee said. "It wasn't just one person."

Seven relievers combined to give up just one run over eight innings.

"All these kids that came out of the bullpen were magnificent, and that's why we were able to win this game," Maddon said.

price check: The bullpen carried a heavy load due to a disappointing outing by LHP David Price, who gave up six runs in just four innings, including a grand slam by Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira.

Price, who tied a season high with five earned runs allowed, was winless in six September starts. "I pitched (poorly), but my TEAM picked me up!!" Price tweeted at DavidPrice14. "That's what a good TEAM does and WE did it!!!"

HIGH PRAISE: Whether RHP Jeremy Hellickson wins rookie of the year remains to be seen. But Yankees manager Joe Girardi was left impressed with the 13-game winner.

"He's polished," Girardi said. "I think he's got outstanding stuff, he's a three-pitch guy with command. The kid knows how to pitch, he holds runners, he does all the little things that he has to."

MISCELLANY: OF Sam Fuld, in his first at-bat since injuring his right wrist Sept. 14, pinch hit in the eighth and walked. … The teams combined to use 18 pitchers, the most in a game at Tropicana Field (three more than July 17 against the Red Sox.).

Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@sptimes.com.

Tampa Bay Rays' Casey Kotchman says he feels fine a day after being hospitalized with chest tightness 09/28/11 [Last modified: Thursday, September 29, 2011 2:48am]

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