ST. PETERSBURG — Closer Kyle Farnsworth will be out at least a few days — and potentially longer — due to a recurrence of tenderness in his right elbow.
After struggling in the ninth inning, allowing back-to-back homers, Farnsworth and the Rays acknowledged the potentially troubling problem, which prevents him from finishing his pitches.
"We're going to try to give it a couple days and hopefully it gets better,'' Farnsworth said.
Farnsworth was sidelined for several days the last weekend of August with a similar issue and has pitched five times since, allowing nine hits, including three home runs. He had allowed only two home runs in his first 57 appearances.
"It definitely got better, and then it got a little worse, now it's definitely become an issue,'' Farnsworth said. "Not too bad of an issue, but something that I can't finish my pitches on.''
Manager Joe Maddon said he could tell from watching Farnsworth that something wasn't right: "You could just see there wasn't the same jump on his pitches.'' He said they will give Farnsworth — who had converted 23 of 29 save opportunities — a few days to rest and then re-evaluate. In the interim, they will use relievers based on matchups.
ON THE WAY UP: INF/OF Russ Canzler and RHP Dane De La Rosa will join the Rays today, rewarded for their strong Triple-A seasons with promotions.
At least one other pitcher is expected to be added — either LHP Alex Torres or touted prospect LHP Matt Moore — as the Rays will need a starter sometime after the Sept. 21 doubleheader in New York. Maddon acknowledged that Moore was "a possibility" but said the decision had not been made, which sounds like it could depend where the Rays are in the race then.
Canzler, 25, will be making his major-league debut after hitting .314 with 18 homers, 83 RBIs and 62 extra-base hits for Durham to win International League MVP honors. He seems likely to be used as a pinch-hitter or potential DH. Because Canzler has to be added to the full 40-man roster, the team will drop someone today.
De La Rosa, 28, appeared in one game during a July stint with the Rays. He went 6-5 with six saves, a 3.20 ERA and 83 strikeouts in 70⅓ innings over 52 games at Durham.
BY ANY NAME: RHP James Shields has taken on a new nickname, Complete Game James, with his record-setting performance this season, finishing what he has started 11 times.
But his previous moniker — Big Game James — is more applicable today as he squares off with Red Sox ace LHP Jon Lester with a chance for a sweep.
"I think it's a big moment ... we definitely have to win (today)," Shields said. "I'm going to try to step my game up. I've got to face Lester, so it's going to be a tough little battle for us.
"If I go out there and pitch my game the way I've been pitching all season long, I think I'll be all right."
Shields has some swelling from a sty in his left eye but said it will not impact his performance today.
IN REMEMBRANCE: The Rays have a series of events planned today to mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
The schedule, with gates opening at 11:40 a.m., includes a series of displays, including a steel beam from the World Trade Center; a messages wall; a video tribute; onfield ceremonies honoring Tampa Bay area first responders; and a ceremonial first pitch by Tampa Fire Rescue Capt. Mark Bogush, who, with his K9 partner Marley, was dispatched to the WTC site after the attacks.
MISCELLANY: INF Sean Rodriguez was hit by a pitch for a team-record 15th time. … The Rays won their 20th straight when scoring at least five runs. … Maddon acknowledged that C John Jaso played his way into Saturday's lineup after his strong Friday game. … TV pre-, post- and in-game host Todd Kalas will rejoin the team Monday; he has been at a family function.