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Tampa Bay Rays expect to use a series of relievers in doubleheader nightcap

Cesar Ramos, a starter in the minor leagues for the Padres, is scheduled to start the second game of today’s doubleheader.

EDMUND D. FOUNTAIN | Times

Cesar Ramos, a starter in the minor leagues for the Padres, is scheduled to start the second game of today’s doubleheader.

PHILADELPHIA — No matter how the Rays looked at it, today's split doubleheader was going to disrupt their already depleted pitching staff.

In an attempt to minimize the damage, they were planning Saturday to take advantage of a new Major League Baseball rule allowing an extra player to be called up for doubleheaders. They planned to add LHP Alex Torres to a group of relievers that will pitch the second game against the Phillies, with LHP Cesar Ramos expected to get the start.

A key to the plan is the hope that LHP David Price pitches deep enough in the opener so plenty of relief help is available.

Manager Joe Maddon said the Rays — down a man due to RHP Joel Peralta's pine-tar suspension — may wait to see how today's matinee goes before making a final decision.

"You're just trying to figure out how to maintain the integrity of your pitching staff and fill in all the different gaps," he said.

RHP Alex Cobb, who was to pitch Saturday before Friday's rainout pushed James Shields back a day, is also available. But because the extra player can be added for today only, the Rays thought they'd be better served to push Cobb back to Monday.

"That's the decision that probably requires the least amount of maneuvering," Maddon said.

That way they can keep their rotation in order the rest of the week, with RHP Jeremy Hellickson set to come off the disabled list to start June 30. If they pitched Cobb tonight, they would need to fill an open start by Wednesday or bring back Shields, then either Price or Cobb, on three days' rest.

Ramos was a starter in the Padres organization through 2010. Torres has been better after a rough start to his season at Triple-A Durham and is back in the rotation but is 2-3, 6.59 overall.

HELPING HAND: MLB's new collective bargaining agreement allows teams to add a player for doubleheaders scheduled more than 24 hours in advance. "I've always liked that idea," Maddon said. "I think it's a great idea."

MEDICAL MATTERS: DH Luke Scott's return from the disabled list will likely be delayed until the Rays return home Thursday. Scott said his back felt better but his swing was out of whack and not consistent enough, so he would need a two- or three-game rehabilitation assignment. "I've got to be honest with myself," Scott said. "I'm not repeating good swings."

RHP Kyle Farnsworth takes the first step in a big test of his elbow, pitching today, then again Monday for Class A Charlotte for his first back-to-back appearances. If all goes well, he could return by the end of the week.

BECKHAM'S BACK: INF Tim Beckham was reinstated at Durham after serving his 50-game suspension for a second drug-of-abuse violation. (The Tampa Bay Times reported it was marijuana.) Beckham and Reid Brignac are shortstops and are expected to share time there and at second.

"Tim has made a mistake. He admits he has made a mistake and he can make good on this mistake by how he conducts himself on and off the field," farm director Mitch Lukevics said. "Tim will learn from this, and he knows it is time to move forward and get on with paying baseball."

DRAFT BREEZE: Second-round pick SS Spencer Edwards, a speedy switch-hitter who had committed to attend Texas, signed Saturday. He had a pick value of $556,900. Edwards posted on his Twitter account: "Officially a Tampa Bay Ray. I'm ready to go. #job #believe." … No. 1 pick INF Richie Shaffer remains unsigned; the deadline is July 13. … Third-round pick OF Andrew Toles got $396,700 to sign, per Baseball America. … Ninth-round pick OF Joey Rickard is playing for Arizona in the College World Series final.

MISCELLANY: Sun Sports will televise both games today. … RHP Chris Archer was the fourth pitcher in team history to be used a pinch-runner, following Mickey Callaway (1999), Chad Gaudin (2004) and Andy Sonnanstine (2009). Archer scored his first pro run. … Shields got a hit and an RBI. … Maddon had OF Hideki Matsui, hitting .161 after three more strikeouts, in his office for a postgame pep talk.

Tampa Bay Rays expect to use a series of relievers in doubleheader nightcap 06/23/12 [Last modified: Saturday, June 23, 2012 11:01pm]

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