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Tampa Bay Rays claim outfielder/first baseman Brandon Allen from A's

TORONTO — The most interesting thing the Rays brought home from their 10-day, three-city road trip is a more potent offense.

In addition to activating CF B.J. Upton from the disabled list, the Rays are adding 1B/OF Brandon Allen, who was claimed off waivers from Oakland.

To make room on the 25-man roster, the Rays are expected to send SS Reid Brignac (hitting .118, 2-for-17) and OF/1B Stephen Vogt (0-for-13) to Triple-A Durham.

The Rays aren't sure yet how or where Allen, 26, will fit in on the field, but they are eager to see him at the plate.

"A big bat and a lot of pop," manager Joe Maddon said. "I know he's had a little bit of a swing-and-miss issue historically, but he's also had big power. We've done some work on it and have some ideas in regards to how to approach this whole thing."

Allen is a better first baseman than corner outfielder, Maddon said, and a great guy.

"I heard he's an '80' makeup guy, which is the highest makeup grade you can give to an athlete," Maddon said.

Allen, a 6-foot-2, 235-pound lefty swinger drafted by the White Sox, has played parts of four seasons in the majors with Arizona and Oakland, with a .205 average, 11 homers and 38 RBIs in 374 plate appearances over 109 games. He has had strong seasons at Triple A, hitting .299 with 21 homers, 72 RBIs and a .991 on-base plus slugging percentage in 93 games last year, and .261/25/86 with a .933 OPS in 107 games in 2010.

"The big thing I know is that his bat plays really big," Maddon said. "He's carried some pretty big Triple-A numbers."

Allen was designated for assignment April 9 by the A's. Because he is out of options, the Rays need to keep him in the majors or put him back on waivers. To create space on the 40-man roster, they moved C Robinson Chirinos, out since a spring training concussion, to the 60-day DL.

Vogt was likely to be sent down upon Upton's return. With Sean Rodriguez starting regularly at shortstop, Ben Zobrist back to splitting time between second base and rightfield, and Elliot Johnson (also out of options) available to back up all positions, Brignac is now likely to go, too.

Selig on STADIUM: Commissioner Bud Selig reiterated Thursday that there is "no question" the Rays need a new stadium. "I talked a lot to (principal owner) Stu Sternberg and he's talking to people," Selig told the Associated Press Sports Editors in New York. "He and I have had many conversations, and we'll just monitor the situation. He's doing what he should do. He's there, he's talking to all parties trying to see what he can do."

TIPPING POINT: Rookie LHP Matt Moore didn't say he definitively has not been tipping his pitches, an issue that surfaced in his last start in Boston, only that he isn't concerned if he is.

"If they're swinging at certain stuff they shouldn't be swinging at, or spitting on (taking) stuff they shouldn't be spitting on, if that's the case, then it's going to come out sooner or later," he said. "I personally don't think so, but we'll see."

Maddon said it's a common issue with young pitchers: "It's a rite of passage in some ways. You get to the big leagues and all of a sudden you get all these eyes trained on you. … You're always making adjustments, so it's not surprising. But I don't really anticipate any problems."

STARRY EYED: In their only potential decision, the Rays put Zobrist on the All-Star ballot at second base, allowing Desmond Jennings, 2011 All-Star Matt Joyce and Upton to be listed as outfielders. Also on the ballot, with online voting starting today at 1B Carlos Peña, SS Rodriguez, 3B Evan Longoria, C Jose Molina, DH Luke Scott.

HARDWARE DELIVERY: Maddon will be presented his 2011 AL manager of the year award and RHP Jeremy Hellickson his AL rookie of the year award before tonight's game.

MISCELLANY: Starting tonight, the Rays play 13 of their next 16 at home. .. Maddon said C Jose Lobaton, on the DL with shoulder soreness, is "doing all right" but not close to returning.

Tampa Bay Rays claim outfielder/first baseman Brandon Allen from A's 04/19/12 [Last modified: Friday, April 20, 2012 12:29am]
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