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Rays Report

Tampa Bay Rays: Hairy J.P. Howell; bullpen's tender moment

Rays at Marlins

When/where: 4:10 today; Sun Life Stadium, Miami

TV/radio: Sun Sports, Bay News 9 Espanol; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

Probable starters

RAYS

LH David Price (5-3, 3.59)

MARLINS RH Javier Vazquez (2-4, 7-55)

Watch for …

Price check: Price is coming off a rough outing against the Yankees (five runs in five innings). He is 1-1, 2.92 in two starts against the Marlins, losing last year in an aces-high matchup with Josh Johnson.

Big deal: Vazquez was the Marlins' big free agent acquisition ($7 million), but it hasn't worked out too well. Even worse, he has put the Fish in a hole, allowing first-inning runs in each of his eight starts. The well-traveled veteran is 5-5, 4.97 in 16 appearances vs. the Rays.

Key matchups

Rays vs. Vazquez

Johnny Damon 8-for-25,

2 HRs

Casey Kotchman 5-for-10

B.J. Upton 9-for-19

Marlins vs. Price

John Buck 4-for-8, HR

Chris Coghlan 0-for-5

Gaby Sanchez 2-for-3

On deck

Sunday: at Marlins, 1:10, Sun Sports. Rays — James Shields (4-2, 2.26); Marlins — Josh Johnson (3-1, 1.64)

Monday: at Tigers, 7:05, Sun Sports. Rays — Jeremy Hellickson (5-2, 3.18); Tigers — Phil Coke (1-5, 3.88)

Tuesday: at Tigers, 7:05, Sun Sports. Rays — Wade Davis (4-4, 3.47); Tigers — Justin Verlander (4-3, 2.96)

Hairy tale of the day

LHP J.P. Howell, out since September 2009, showed up with a beard and long-haired look he admittedly described as "sloppy and controlled," and with plans to let it keep growing. Manager Joe Maddon, naturally, was a big fan given his efforts to grow out his own and suggestions for the other Rays to do the same. "My goal is to someday look like J.P. Howell," Maddon said. "That would be awesome. I could only hope."

Quote of the day

"If we were actually getting (frequent-flier) mileage, it would be awesome."

Rays manager Joe Maddon, after the second of the teams' four flights in nine days

Tender moment of the day

When the Sun Life Stadium kiss-cam focused on the Rays bullpen, coach Bobby Ramos leaned over and gave catcher Scott Cursi a peck.

Tampa Bay Rays: Hairy J.P. Howell; bullpen's tender moment 05/20/11 [Last modified: Friday, May 20, 2011 10:52pm]
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